Thursday, July 7, 2016

Fabulous Feature-Michelle Karl-In Spite of Myself

Today we welcome author:
Michelle Karl

A commenter will win a copy of
Michelle's book:

Unknown Enemy

Scroll down to see how.

Mary here. I'm so happy to welcome Michelle to Let's Talk. The truth we all are probably thinking of ourselves comes in today's words from Michelle. God continues to direct us toward the life we really would enjoy if we'd only listen. Sheesh. Good thing God loves us so much. Michelle's story will touch your heart...and maybe you, too, will say, yep. God has worked in me--in spite of myself. 
I asked Michelle: how has God led you on your writing journey? Here is what she said: 

In Spite of Myself

I didn’t set out to write Christian fiction. In fact, I had no intention of ever writing Christian fiction and actively rebelled against writing it for many years—but isn’t it so true that God knows what’s best for us? He has our best interests at heart, but it’s up to us to listen and allow ourselves to be led.

I’ve always wanted to be an author. I grew up reading a wide variety of genres and authors, including the occasional novel from the church library—mostly authors who are well known today like Frank Peretti, Janette Oke, Beverly Lewis, and Lois Gladys Leppard. During the later years of public school, my mom ran our church library and I helped out, actively absorbing author names, book descriptions, and getting to know the market—a skill that got me a job at a Christian bookstore a few years later, after our family moved across the country.

I loved that job. What’s better than working at a bookstore, and in a Christian environment, no less? I worked my way up to receiver and prided myself on being able to recommend the Right Book to anyone, fiction or non-fiction. I knew the market inside and out, and for a few years I read as much as I could to stay current. I held onto my dream of being an author, but would I ever write Christian fiction? No way!

Shortly after leaving the bookstore job so I could focus on school, I found myself taking over our church library when the seniors running it stepped down…the church was desperate for someone to take over, and I had the skillset after years at the previous church library and the bookstore. For ten years, I ran this library, using my knowledge to buy and recommend new books, reading what I could, while also pursuing…well, anything but Christian fiction.

The first writing conference I was able to attend was Write!Canada, a writing conference for…you guessed it, Christians who write fiction. “Oh, no,” I’d say as fellow writers asked what I wrote, “I don’t write for the Christian market specifically.”

What was this resistance? Where had it come from? Looking back, I honestly can’t say—but I know that the pushback started early on, perhaps even as early as my dream to write stories…and somehow, during all those years, I was completely blind to God’s leading. You who are reading this post can see it as clearly as I can now, I’m sure! Every step, year after year, put me in a position where Christian fiction was front and center of my life, teaching me about the stories readers love and what speaks to them.

It was only a few years ago when Harlequin ran their “Search for a Killer Voice” pitch contest that I entered on a whim. Back at that first writing conference, I’d met author Maggie K. Black and had a conversation where she’d encouraged me to write what my heart wanted to write and not worry about what others thought—but I’m not sure I even truly knew my own heart at the time. We stayed in touch over the years, so when the pitch contest came up, she urged me to enter. I don’t want to write Christian fiction, I said, But the opportunity is there and what do I have to lose?

I am of the firm belief that God has a sense of humor, and I’m sure that as I wrote that first page and hit submit for the pitch contest, he looked down and laughed knowingly. All those years of writing stories “for me” and learning my craft, plus all those years of being deeply involved with Christian storytelling…Christian fiction turned out—as you know—to be the perfect fit. I sold my first book! And then another! And then another!

It’s clear to me now that I was being led—sometimes subtly, sometimes not so subtly at all—by the Lord to where I am on my writing journey today. It’s only in looking back that I can see His hand at work at every stage, which is both marvelous and staggering!

Today, I am an author of Christian fiction, and I know that’s where God wants me to be right now. He knew what was best for me in spite of myself—and I can never thank Him enough for His patience and grace throughout the process. In fact, I understand now why Romans 8:28 has always, always resonated with me: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

I get it, Lord—the joke’s on me, but as long as it’s part of your will, I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Michelle Karl is an unabashed bibliophile and romantic suspense author. She lives in Canada with her husband and several critters, including a co-dependent cat and an opinionated parrot. When she’s not reading and consuming copious amounts of coffee, she writes the stories she’d like to find in her ‘to be read’ pile. She also loves animals, world music and eating the last piece of cheesecake. 

Michelle Loves to hear from you!!
Contact her at:    


UNKNOWN ENEMY (May 2016, Love Inspired Suspense)

THE BODYGUARD -- For professor Ginny Anderson, translating a set of ancient tablets could be the coup of her career—or more danger than she can handle. Someone doesn't want the secrets of the artifacts to be revealed…and they'll kill to bury her discoveries. But former Secret Service agent Colin Tapping refuses to let anybody hurt Ginny and appoints himself as her protector—whether she wants one or not. Colin has made mistakes in the past, and keeping Ginny safe could be just what he needs to prove he's still a capable agent and win back his job. But is he willing to risk paying the ultimate price to reclaim his former life?

Enter the contest to win a copy of Michelle Karl's book:
Unknown Enemy
US/Canadian readers invited to enter!!

Here is how:

1. Leave a comment (and email address)

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Thank you, Michelle, for joining us this weekend!

We enjoy chatting with you, Reader, and look forward to reading your comments and questions. Or at least your hi, hello, or hey.

Thanks for stopping by!

Don't forget to comment!


Dana R. Lynn said...

Michelle! So happy to see my killer voices sister and buddy here! Resistance to writing Christian fiction... I laughed. I didn't even know Christian fiction existed as a viable option until I was adult. So glad you listened to God. You have a real gift.

Mary Vee Writer said...

I'm so glad you came back to chat here! I love the LI gang. So much fun.
Yeah, Christian fiction is still a in it's youthful stage. An opportunity for many stories!

Connie Porter Saunders said...

Yes, Michelle, as I read each paragraph it was so very obvious where God was leading you and it made me wonder if His plan for me had always been so obvious?
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I wish you continued success!

Mary Vee Writer said...

Sometimes, Connie, I think God's plan for us is crystal clear to those around us. He points out a gift, talent, or ability to someone else. That person is stirred in their heart to approach us and say what they saw. Has it happened to you? It has to me.

In fact, the person, much older than I was at the time, said I had a certain gift. I didn't believe them. I couldn't see it. It had been woven into things I loved doing. A sort of by product that resulted in way more than I knew.
Until one day, a boy gave his testimony before his baptism. He said he'd heard, understood, and accepted Christ in his heart because of his church group teacher. I had forgotten. I didn't know it had impacted him. While he didn't say my name, many from the church came up to me and said, "See? You know he was talking about you right?" And so, when I am tempted to not tell someone about Jesus...I remember this boy.

Michelle Karl said...

Yay, Dana! So glad you popped in! Thank you so much. Sometimes it gets to the point where you can't help but listen, He's been beating you over the head so hard with what should be obvious...haha!!!

Michelle Karl said...

That's exactly it -- we can't see the forest for the trees, meanwhile everyone else is waving their arms and telling us to look around and hello, just SEE what's so clear to everyone else! And you know what, it's also encouraging and really amazing to look back after the fact and see His hand so clearly guiding us...even when we had no idea. I'm so glad He doesn't give up on us!!!

Cate Nolan said...

Hi Michelle, Sorry I'm so late.

Here we went through the whole KV contest together and I didn't know any of this.

I, too, never thought I would write Christian fiction, but my reasons were pretty clear. I just didn't feel qualified. I was having a hard enough time believing I could write fiction at all, let alone try to write about something as important as faith.

Mary Vee Writer said...

While I realize your comment is directed to Michelle, I can't help but respond.

You are a child of God, sweet Cate. He loves, loves, loves when we kids do things for Him. When your kids made priceless treasures for you...remember how you felt...remember what you thought of their work. Remember that you probably still have those treasures in your home. Some of those things would not quite qualify for an art gallery, but they do in your hall of fame gallery. And sometimes, the child work is ribbon.Yeah...That is how God feels and sees our work. He gives the talent then says Go. Do.

I am so glad you have.

Cate Nolan said...

Thank you, Mary. That's such a comforting image while I struggle to get the words on the page. Thank you for caring enough to respond.