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Did You Know?

Karen Kingsbury started her career in journalism writing for the Los Angeles Times and LA Daily News, primarily on the sports beat.

Kingsbury's passion for writing began at age five. One night that year she sat down and penned a book titled, The Horse which is still on her bookshelf today.

Kingsbury's novel Deadly Pretender, was developed into a CBS "Movie of the Week."

Kingsbury's novel Gideon's Gift is scheduled to become a major motion movie in fall 2006.

Kingsbury lives in Washington with her husband, Donald, and six children -- three adopted simultaneously from Haiti.

Firstborn Series

Fame (June 2005)

Forgiven (October 2005)

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Karen Kingsbury: The Queen of Christian Fiction Talks of 'Fame' and Writing

By Belinda Elliott Daily Life Producer

CBN.comRecently dubbed "the queen of Christian fiction" by Time magazine, Karen Kingsbury has sold more than 2.5 million copies of her brand, Life-Changing Fiction™. In recent months Kingsbury's novels have been dominating the best-seller lists.

Her emotionally-charged stories deal with the real dilemmas of life and love, causing readers to examine their own hearts and actions.

Her five-book Redemption series, first introduced readers to the Baxter family. Now she has brought back the beloved family characters in her new Firstborn series.

The first novel of the new series, Fame, was released in June, and the second novel, Forgiven, hit the stores this month.

In this exclusive interview Kingsbury talks about her latest novels as well as balancing her duties as a mother of six with a demanding writing schedule.

Why did you decide to bring back the Baxter family from your Redemption series in this new Firstborn series?

My readers have grown to love the Baxter family as much as I do. Also, the Baxters have another son, a sixth child, who their other children know nothing about. That child is Dayne Matthews, rising Hollywood star. Only Elizabeth Baxter had the chance to meet Dayne at the end of the Redemption series. That sets up the overriding storyline for the Firstborn series – the search for family and meaning in life.

What is the take-away message from Fame, the first book in the new series?

That being in the limelight, having public status and popularity is often not a good thing. The book also holds a mirror to society’s fascination and obsession with fame.

The central character in Fame is a celebrity. What research did you do to write the book and what did you learn in the process?

I researched through reading and watching celebrity biographies, and by reading the gossip magazines at the supermarket checkout stands. I developed a deep sadness for celebrities, a pity that they often are caught in a plastic world that runs too hard and too fast, and that many times that world means destroyed relationships with everyone they know and love.

You have branded your writing as Life Changing Fiction, what do you mean by that?

My Life-Changing Fiction™ came as a result of the hundreds of letters I receive every week from readers. The common theme – again and again – is that the lives of readers are being changed as they read these novels. God is doing the work. I have the privilege of writing stories that He can use as a tool to bring about change.

Can you share a story or two of how your novels have touched the lives of readers?

Many times readers report that they experienced a restored marriage or other relationship. One time a teenage girl asked me to ask her parents to read A Time to Dance. I did, and they read it. They wound up getting remarried after a very bitter divorce.

What responses have you gotten from your fans?

Fans say that they are closer to God and each other after reading the stories the Lord has given me to write.

Why do you think your books and the characters you develop resonate so strongly with many readers?

I write about true-life type things. Divorce, infidelity, addiction, loss, doubt, redemption, etc. I write about the trials and triumphs of contemporary life – and often the readers see themselves between the lines of the story.

Why do you think interest in Christian fiction has grown so much over the last few years?

Secular writers can tell a story about the physical, the emotional, and the intellectual parts of a character. But no matter how well they tell the story, they miss a facet that is innately part of all of us – the spiritual. As a Christian fiction writer, I can tell a story about the complete person, the whole character. I think this resonates with readers, and touches them in the deepest parts of their hearts and souls.

Has your background in journalism helped you as a fiction writer? If so, how?

Absolutely. I learned as a journalist how to write tight, or without the unnecessary words that can slow down a writer and a reader. I also learned the importance of deadlines, and I gained the ability to write quickly. I was on a book tour recently – all of us bestselling authors – and every one of us had a journalism degree.

You have written so many great books, and you’ve been releasing new ones every few months, is the writing process for each one a fast process for you? Do you work on more than one novel at a time?

I write one novel at a time, but I can research multiple titles at once. I take about six to eight weeks to write a novel, once the research is finished. I will continue to keep this pace as long as God allows, and at least through the next few years. I might slow down then from five books a year to three.

Of the many books you have written, which one is your favorite and why?

I always tell people that my book are like kids – there’s no way to pick a favorite. But I do know this – the book I’m currently working on is always my favorite because it’s new, and my goal is to make it better than anything I’ve ever written. In addition, I will always have a special place in my heart for my books that deal with the events of September 11 -- One Tuesday Morning and Beyond Tuesday Morning.

How do you balance your writing career with caring for your family?

I try to keep my priorities based on the ideal – God first, family second, then work. Because I work at home, it’s difficult to always make this happen. But for the most part I feel more like a wife and mother than I feel like an author. One time my son Tyler told me he wants to sing and dance on Broadway when he’s older. “But, Mom,” he told me, “I think I’ll write books in my spare time the way you do.” That made me feel wonderful. If he thinks I write books in my spare time, then he doesn’t think my job is full-time or more important than him.

I recently read that last summer you signed with Center Street, an imprint of Time Warner Book Group, and they released your book A Thousand Tomorrows. What made you decide to write what some have called a “crossover” book? How is this novel different from your others?

A Thousand Tomorrows is a parable of 1 Cor. 13 love. As such, it is not full of Scripture references or people holding intimate conversations with God – the way my Christian novels are. Instead, it is a place of entry for readers who might not otherwise have picked up a book by a Christian author. Many hundreds of readers have read A Thousand Tomorrows, loved it, and contacted me looking to find out what else I’ve written. Now they will have an open heart toward the message of the bulk of my novels. My goal in writing this book was to hit an audience I hadn’t already hit.

Have your novels been well received in the secular market?

Yes. Most of my sales are in the secular market – though most of my titles are Christian titles. It’s a sign of the hunger for books that talk about the spiritual side of life, a side we all have – regardless of our understanding of Christ’s truth.

The next book in the Firstborn series was released this month. What can you tell us about it?

Forgiven has just hit the shelves, and is doing very well. It is a story that takes the cast of characters from Fame and throws them into a story with trials, and hurt, and the choice to forgive.

What other projects are you working on for the future?

I will be finishing the Firstborn series, and that will spin off into another new series – The Sunrise series. Also, I will have a novel out in the spring called Divine. It is a modern-day parable of Mary Magdalene. In addition, my novel Gideon’s Gift, is being made into a major motion picture to be released the day after Thanksgiving, 2006.

Is there anything I haven’t asked that you would like our readers to know?

This has been a tough season for me, a season of loss. Several weeks ago my only brother, David, 39, died in his sleep. He was doing well, healthier than ever, and looking forward to abundant life. He has that today. Just not the way any of us expected. We are feeling God’s compassion and grace, and knowing in many ways that this was His perfect timing. But still it is a time of heartache and loss. Your prayers and the prayers of the readers are much appreciated.

On the net:
Purchase Fame, the first book in Kingsbury's new Firstborn series.

Email your comments about this interview.



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