Friday, November 22, 2013

Fabulous Friday Feature- Karen Barnett

Today I welcome 
Karen Barnett,
a tall, sweet-spirited gal who loves to write good stories. 

Enter to win Karen's 2013 release,
Mistaken or her soon to be released Out of the Ruins

Scroll to the end of the post to see how to enter.

 I'm so happy to share with you a piece of my conversation with Karen at the ACFW conference  She is such a sweet and Christ-like spirit. I asked Karen to tell us how God led her on her writing journey. Here is what she said:


My husband and I were enjoying a quiet dinner out on the town without the kids—a rare occurrence. He eyed me across the table. “So, what’s going on with that book you wanted to write? The one about the San Francisco earthquake?”

I swallowed, the food sticking in my throat. My life-long dream of writing a novel had fizzled after a few weeks of trying. “I don’t know. I started, but…” How could I tell him the very idea terrified me? If I tried and failed, the dream would be forever lost.

I’ve never liked sounding fearful, so I went for selfless, instead. “It would take too much time away from the family. The kids are so young. Also, I’d need to fly to California and do some research. Then there are those writing conferences everyone suggests. It seems selfish to spend all that time and money on me.”

He reached for the water glass. “Have you prayed about it?”

Had I? I pushed my plate back. “No. I can’t imagine God cares much about my silly dream.” I regretted the words the moment they left my mouth. Was my faith so weak?

He stared me in the eye. “Ask Him. I’ll pray, too, and we’ll see what He says.”

I nodded, embarrassed.  Sure, I’d pray. Later.

The opening chapters of my story waited at home—a young woman blames God for her sister’s death and vows to never again trust Him with her prayers. Was I so different? Did I trust Him with this prayer?

I’d already decided “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” worked well in the story, and I had considered using it as a framework for the novel. As we drove home from the restaurant, I flipped on the contemporary Christian radio station. Instead of Toby Mac or the Newsboys, the age-old hymn rang out. In church the next morning, the band struck up, “Come Thou Fount”—something we’d never sung in our contemporary worship style.

I hadn’t even prayed, yet. Is this God, or is my mind playing tricks? Father, I’ve got this dream…

Over the next week, the hymn followed me like a stray puppy. The music appeared in unlikely places: the background of television commercials, in stores, and every time I turned on the radio. I probably heard it a couple dozen times. It was as if He were looking down and winking. You listening yet? Are you ready to trust me?

I hear you, Lord.

I wish I could say I got right to work, and I finished the book in a flash. It actually took five years of writing and rewriting.

I wish I could say now I always trust God with my dreams and prayers. I’m still what writers call a WIP—a work-in-progress.

What I can say is God remained faithful, walking beside me every day. My first novel, Mistaken (a 1920s-era romantic suspense), hit the shelves in July. And the earthquake book? Out of the Ruins, Book 1 of the Golden Gate Chronicles series, releases May 2014.

Does God care about our silly dreams? You bet. Are you ready to trust Him with yours?

Karen Barnett is the author of Mistaken and several articles printed by Guideposts and other national magazines. She and her husband Steve live in Oregon with their two kids, three cats, and small attention-hound (a.k.a. Mystery the dachshund). Karen loves trying her hand at anything creative, including writing, cake decorating, photography, and playing various instruments.


Since booze and prohibition have made criminals out of every man in her world, Laurie Burke resolves to find at least one honorable man to fill her life. Convinced that handsome newcomer Daniel Shepherd is connected with her brother’s rum-running gang, Laurie quickly scratches his name off her list. Federal Agent Samuel Brown might be the answer to her prayers—or he could be her worst nightmare.

Out of the Ruins (May 2014)

While her sister lies on her deathbed, Abby Fischer prays for a miracle. What Abby doesn’t expect, however, is for God’s answer to come in the form of the handsome Dr. Robert King, whose experimental treatment is risky at best.

As they work together toward a cure, Abby’s feelings for Robert become hopelessly entangled. Separated by the tragedy of the mighty San Francisco earthquake, their relationship suddenly takes a back seat to survival. With fires raging throughout the city, Abby fears for her life as she flees alone through burning streets. Where is God now? Will Robert find Abby, even as the world burns around them? Or has their love fallen with the ruins of the city?

To learn more about Karen go to:
To enter the contest for an autographed copy of 
Karen's book: "Mistaken" or Out of Ruins:
leave a comment (and email address)
and become a follower of this site if you aren't already.

Sorry  US  only

Winner announced on my facebook page.

Thank you, Karen, for Joining us This Weekend!

From Karen:  I’d love to give away a copy of Mistaken or Out of the Ruins (your choice—but you’ll have to wait until May for the second one) to one blog reader. To enter, leave a comment below and become a follower of this site if you aren't already. Tell me, what’s a dream of yours? It can be big or small, serious or silly. I’d love to hear it!


karenk said...

i would love to visit Charleston, SC one day....thanks for the chance to read Karen's novel..i'm a follower, too.

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Mary Vee Writer said...

Charleston does sound like a great place to visit. I've never been there either.
It was nice to chat with you today, Karen :)

Heather Marsten said...

Karen, what a wonderful, supportive husband. I'm glad he prayed with you and that you succeeded, with God's help, to get this book written. That message is so important in these times. I spent years giving up on God, blaming Him for things in my past. A few Christian authors, when I was an unbeliever, touched on these areas and their message (lightly applied in the story line) stuck with me until such time as I could come to Him. It took years, but a message of hope is welcome in the midst of pain. Keep writing.

Mary Vee Writer said...

What an encouraging comment for Karen. Thank you so much for sharing with us today. As always, I love when you are able to stop by for our chats.
Blessings on you.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed this. Would love to win and read and review.
jrs362 at Hotmail dot com

Karen Barnett said...

Hi Karen! I have many travel dreams--it's one of my all-time favorite things to dream about. My #1 is Alaska, though Charleston sounds much warmer. :)

Karen Barnett said...

Thanks, Heather! Yes, I'm very fortunate to have such a wise, supportive guy. I would still be in the "dreaming" stage of writing, if it weren't for him. I'm blessed.

Xochi E. Dixon said...

Thanks for sharing your heart with such transparency, Karen. Your personal story inspires, as does your writing. I'm looking forward to reading "Out of the Ruins." I enjoyed "Mistaken!" Great character development and twists! :)

Karen Barnett said...

Thanks for entering!

Karen Barnett said...

Aww, thanks, Xochi! I'm blessed to have you as a friend. Transparency is tough for me, sometimes, but it's always my goal.

Janice said...

Currently I have a dream of having a children's book published. The title is Make a Great Mistake, and I wrote it to help children to learn to think creatively when they make a mistake.

Thank you for sharing your road to publication. God has an abundance of avenues He travels with His children who write. I would love to win either of these books. Please include me in the contest.

Janice jsmithg(at)hotmail(dot)com

Karen Barnett said...

That sounds like a neat premise for a children's book, Janice! I actually started writing Out of the Ruins as a children's book. That's one of the reasons it was such a long path for me--God had to patiently show me that was not what He had in mind for me. It's still a dream of mine to write for kids, though. I hope He gives me the opportunity one day.

Patty said...

Charleston is a great place to visit!

Patty said...

Thanks for sharing your journey Karen! Mistaken sounds like a good book, I will have to keep my eye out for it.
I dream one day of traveling to Europe! My brother was stationed in Germany in the AF, but I didn't have the time or money to visit at that point...

pattymh2000 at yahoo dot com

Mary Vee Writer said...

Alaska is an awesome place to go. My bid dream came true for my 20th anniversary. Hubby took me on a cruise to Alaska. Wow. Can't add enough Wow to this statement. Better than the best. AND a trip worth repeating.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Karen shows her writing craft well, even in sharing this event. I'm so glad you could join our chat today!
Blessings on you.

Mary Vee Writer said...

I enjoyed meeting you today, Xochi. Part of the fun of having guests is I get to meet their friends as well. I feel so blessed.
Looking forward to meeting you again.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Hi Janice!
So happy you joined us today. Your children's book sounds like it will help many children. blessings on pursuing publication.
We sure enjoyed chatting with you today and look forward to seeing you again.

Mary Vee Writer said...

Traveling to Europe has been a long time dream for me as well. Maybe some day we could go together!. In the meantime, I suppose YouTube travel videos will suffice for me.

Cheryl Secomb said...

What a wonderful reminder to take everything, including our dreams, to the Lord. That is so neat to hear about the hymn. It's exciting and humbling when God shows He cares about what concerns us. Thank you for sharing this encouraging post, Karen and Mary!

Cheryl Secomb said...

Mary, I tried to join the site as a follower, but I'm not sure it went through. Thanks!

Karen Barnett said...

I'd love to see Europe, too! Especially England, Scotland, Germany, and Ireland. :)

Karen Barnett said...

Thanks, Cheryl! I don't know why it always surprises me when God speaks into my life. I'm so glad He does--I always seem to need the reminder. :)

Mary Vee Writer said...

So nice to see you today. Come Thou Fount is a special hymn for our family as well. My oldest daughter chose it as a special song to sing at a missionary church. Rich with meaning, full of truth. Looking forward to your next visit, Cheryl.

Mary Vee Writer said...

I see. I sent you a message off this site. Thank you so much!

Candi said...

Reading this was a perfect start to my Saturday morning! Thank you for your inspiring words, Karen. It's such a good reminder to take our dreams to "Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we can think or imagine," and some of us have very active imaginations!

My dream would be to get to share my story of how God has rescued me from a life of legalism to his beautiful grace! I long to see others set free from the chains of law and guilt. Starting a blog was my first step toward telling this story. Thanks again for the encouragement!

Mary Vee Writer said...

Sounds like your testimony will impact many. I'm so glad you are reaching out to others.
Blessings on you and the dream God has placed in your heart.