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Author, latest, Someday (Tyndale House Publishers, Feb. 2008);
USA Today and New York Times bestselling novelist;
Ten million copies of her award-winning books in print;
Written more than 30 novels, nine of which have hit #1 on national lists;
Publishes three inspirational novels per year;
Awarded the Romantic Times 2006 Career Achievement Award for the Inspirational category;
Awarded the 2007 Gold Medallion for Best Book of the Year with her novel, Ever After;
Received the 2007 Retailer's Choice Award for Found;
Named the 2007 Author of the Year Award by Logos Bookstores;
Writes songs with several chart-topping Nashville stars such as Gary Baker and Richie McDonald (lead singer of the top country group Lonestar);
Graduated from Cal State University Northridge with a degree in Journalism.
CBN.com Karen was raised in a denominational faith, which gave her a strong belief in God and an ear to His calling. But she did not have a relationship with Christ until she met Don, the man she would eventually marry.
She met Don at a local health club in Southern California. Right away she recognized that Don was a clean-cut guy that wasn’t into drugs or drinking and was in the process of trying to learn as much as he could about God.
Don suggested a date with a kicker, "Can I bring my Bible? Maybe we could read it before the movie?”
Karen found that request rather strange. She had never even opened a Bible before, but agreed to his unusual request. That night, Don wanted to read Philippians. She could tell his Bible was very important to him. For the next three months, Don was constantly bringing up the Bible as a source of discussion and debate.
"There were times when I was so sick of talking about the Bible,” Karen says. "I understand now that God was convicting me, trying to open my ears to the importance of His truth. But at the time it felt only like conflict. We were in our mid-20s. It was summer in Southern California. I wanted to go to the beach, and Don wanted to go to the Bible," remembers Karen.
Their opposing interests eventually led to a crisis. After Don showed Karen a Bible verse that made her feel uncomfortable, she took his Bible and threw it on the ground. It hit the road hard and the binding broke down the middle. He picked the pieces up without saying a word, and quietly, sadly, he climbed in his car and left. That weekend was a life-changing one for Karen.
The next morning Karen headed to the bookstore and bought her first Bible. In the quiet of her room, Karen looked up key words that represented her traditions. It took about five minutes for her to figure out that those words weren't even in the Bible. It was then than Karen felt God telling her to let go of her man-made beliefs and grab hold of His Scripture. She called Don to apologize. The next week Karen and Don began looking for a Bible believing church. Karen began falling in love with God’s word which eventually led her to write Christian fiction.
THE CALL TO ADOPT
Their lives were very busy. Don was teaching and coaching. Karen was busy writing best-selling Christian fiction novels. Although they had discussed the idea of adoption from time to time it was not something that kept them up at night. One night while surfing the Internet, Karen remembers stumbling upon a site which listed children available for adoption in Haiti. She saw the picture of one five-year-old boy named E.J. He had big, brown eyes and a dimpled smile. She instantly felt a connection to this child. She and Don discussed the idea of adopting E.J. and both agreed he would be a wonderful addition to their family. They presented the idea to their three children Kelsey, Tyler, and Austin. They were excited about the idea of adopting a brother. Karen and Don began the paperwork over the next several months.
As they were completing the paperwork, they came across another boy’s photo named Joshua. Again, their children were excited about the idea of having two additional brothers. Due to reasons they cannot explain, they were told by the orphanage that Joshua would not be a good fit with their family. So, reluctantly they selected another six-year-old boy named Sean. Six months later, they got the call from the orphanage director saying their children were ready to come home. Karen traveled to Haiti to take her sons E.J. and Sean home. While she was there she found out that Joshua was still up for adoption. So, after talking with her husband, they decided to adopt all three boys. However, due to paperwork it would be another six months before Joshua could join his new family. The adoption took place over the course of two years and the boys were brought home in 2001.
Their children were 10, 7, and 3 when their new brothers came home. The boys did not speak a word of English. In the first few months, they dealt with cultural adjustments such as sleeping on beds instead of on floors, using bathrooms, and table manners. Karen admits that adopting three children from another race and another country was “the scariest thing we ever did.” When people comment on how we have been a blessing to these little boys, “We correct them every time. The blessings have been all ours.” Karen says adopting has made her more compassionate in her novel writing. In one of her recent novels, Halfway to Forever, she introduces adoption topics.
“I always knew I wanted to be a writer,” says Karen. “It is just something I was born with. I consider it a true gift from God.”
After graduating from college in 1986, Karen became a full-time reporter for the Los Angeles Times. Her first book, Missy’s Murder, was based on a murder story she covered in Los Angeles as a reporter. She sold a version of the story to People magazine in 1989. A New York agent read her People story and asked her for a book proposal. The book hit stores in 1992. She then wrote three more true crime novels under the name Kelsey Tyler. Next she wrote four collections of answered prayers and miracle stories before transitioning to inspirational fiction in 1998.
Her first novel, Where Yesterday Lives, was a real challenge for Karen toget published. Although publishing companies said they liked the story, they were not sure what to do with it since it didn’t contain foul language and had no sex scenes. Finally, the Christian publishing house Multnomah published her novel and gave her a multi-book contract. Her books made a real connection with contemporary romance fans. Since her first novel, Karen has written more than 30 faith based novels, nine of which have hit #1 on national lists. There are 10 million copies of her award-winning books in print.
Dubbed by Time magazine as the “queen” of Christian fiction, Karen receives tens of thousands of letters from readers who say that Karen’s fiction has dramatically changed their lives. These letters and e-testimonials of improved marriages, spiritual awakenings and new found hope have enabled her to formally trademark her work Life-Changing Fiction.
Karen’s novels have been a magnet for film and television producers. One of her earlier books, Deadly Pretender, was made into a CBS Movie-of-the-Week called, Every Woman’s Dream, which starred Kim Cattrall. Gideon's Gift was a major theatrical release for December 2007. In addition, she has four other novels currently under full-length movie option agreements with major production companies.
After Karen’s father died of complication from diabetes, Karen was determined not to allow the same to happen to her. She cut sugar out of her diet and chose to eat healthy versus dieting. Between January and November of 2007 Karen lost 70 pounds. She says that her weight-loss success would not have been possible without the prayer and the support of her family.
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