Monday, August 19, 2013

A Warm Welcome to Karla Akins

 Is there a story behind your book The Pastor's Wife Wears Biker Books?
Yes, I’m a pastor’s wife who wears biker boots and rides her own motorcycle. I thought that was unique and hilarious enough to build a story around.

If you were a style of music, what style would you be?
Classical. I’m a classically trained musician so when I think of “who I am,” classical music is so ingrained in me that I simply can’t separate myself from it. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate all sorts of music. My husband is a guitarist and not classically trained, so I’ve been exposed to all kinds of music and I love all of it.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Learning to ride a motorcycle! I didn’t learn to ride until I was 47 years old. And I did it to prove something to myself, my four sons, my husband and my students. I wanted to show them that you’re never too old to learn something new, and that women are strong and capable.

What is your strangest habit?
Talking to myself. I talk to myself everywhere I go and one of these days it’s going to get me in trouble. I compare prices at the grocery store out loud, and once when I did that an elderly gentleman who was hard of hearing thought I was flirting with him.

What makes you smile and/or laugh out loud?
My grandchildren and my dogs. They are the most entertaining creatures, aren’t they?

What is your favorite season of the year? 
Fall. I absolutely love autumn weather and colors. One of my favorite colors is brown and I love copper with purple, my second favorite color. The crunchy leaves, pumpkins, and Thanksgiving. They’re all my favorites.

Where is your favorite place to travel/vacation in?
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Lake Michigan. I also love Mackinac Island. For some reason that part of the world draws me in. Not that I’m a seasoned world-traveler. I’m sure I’d feel differently if I were to visit Italy or Greece, two places I long to see.

What's your favorite meal with family and friends? (and feel free to share a recipe with us!)
I love picnics and grilling out. I’m not known for my good cooking (I actually don’t enjoy cooking very much). But I do know how to make almost everything from scratch because that’s how I was raised. I’m very good at bread baking. I was taught by a Norwegian granny how to make the best rolls. You can’t really learn that without being shown and there’s an intuition to it. You sort of just know when the dough feels right and looks right. Unfortunately, I’m trying to avoid wheat now, so I am a little out of practice. My sons love my rolls, so I usually make them at Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Karla’s Dinner Rolls

2 packages active dry yeast
2 cups milk                                               
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup lard
5 cups all-purpose flour (or more depending on humidity)
Real butter to coat rolls


Karla’s tips:
1.      Use eggs that are room temperature. Cold eggs often deactivate the yeast.
2.      Use lard, not butter or shortening. Lard makes the best rolls, and it’s only ¼ cup, so there’s very little in each roll. If you’re going to eat a roll, eat a good one, right?
3.      Some people like their rolls a little sweeter. This recipe makes great cinnamon rolls, too, so you can add up to another ¼ cup of sugar. More than that may deactivate the yeast.
4.      You’ll need super strong arms if you’re going to mix by hand. I use my Kitchenaid mixer. It’s almost like cheating!

Heat milk just up to 180 degrees. Set aside and cool to between 110 and 115 degrees. (I cool mine to 110.)

·         After the milk is cool, dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup milk.
·         Stir in remaining milk, the sugar, salt, eggs, shortening and 5 cups flour.
·         Beat until smooth, adding more flour as needed to make the dough easy to handle. (This is where practice comes in. You’ll know after you’ve done it a few times whether you need more flour or not.)
·         Without a Kitchenaid mixer: turn dough onto lightly floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. (With Kitchenaid mixer: you can use the dough hook.)
·         Place in buttered bowl and turn greased side up. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled.
·         Shape into rolls.
·         Brush each roll with softened butter. Place 3 inches apart on greased baking sheets. Let rise again, then bake at 325 degrees F for 20-30 minutes.
·         Brush again with butter.

These rolls take about 2-4 hours to make, raise twice and bake (depending on how many batches you are making at one time). They are beautiful reheated and freeze well.

©Karla Akins, 2013

Thanks so much for the recipe. They sound delicious!!!

Where do you escape for some quiet time to reflect, pray, read, etc?
If I manage to wake up before anyone else, I like to sit in my chair in the living room. Otherwise I go to my office. I also like going outdoors but at this house I don’t have a special spot as I did at other houses. In Iowa I had a gazebo covered in morning glories that I would escape to. That’s a precious memory to me. But God is everywhere, isn’t that wonderful? No matter where we are, we can meet with Him and He’s never late. He always shows up.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
I don’t have a book sold yet, but my work in progress is entitled River Moon Don’t Cry. It’s a full-length historical and very different from Biker Boots. It’s about a Melungeon girl whose father loses her in a card game to the owner of a sex trafficking, gaming steamboat in 1838. While the subject is more serious, I can’t help but inject humor in my writing. It’s just a part of my voice. I hope to get it in the hands of readers soon!

Back Cover Blurb

Pastor's wife, Kirstie Donovan, lives life in a fishbowl, so when she hops on the back of a bright pink motorcycle, tongues start to wag at the conservative, century-old First Independent Christian Community Church of Eels Falls. Kirstie loves roaring down a road less traveled by most women over forty, but she's not just riding her bike for the fun of it. Kirstie has a ministry. However, certain church members have secrets to hide, and when God uses Kirstie's ministry to fill the pews with leather-clad, tattooed bikers, those secrets could be exposed...and some will stop at nothing to hide the truth. Join Kirstie and her motorcycle "gang" - two church matrons and a mouthy, gum-smacking non-church member - as they discover that road-toughened bikers are quite capable of ministering to others, and faith is fortified in the most unexpected ways.

To buy her book, go here:

About Karla:
Karla Akins is a pastor's wife, mother of five, and grandma to five precious girls. She lives in Northeast Indiana with her husband, Eddie, the pastor of Christian Fellowship Church, her twin teenage boys with autism, mother-in-law with Alzheimer's and three rambunctious dogs. When she's not writing she's dreaming of riding her motorcycle through the mountains and countryside with her camera.

To connect with Karla, go here:
Twitter: @KarlaAkins
Pinterest: KarlaAkins

Karla Akins is giving away a copy of The Pastor's Wife Wears Biker Boots. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.
To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You may enter the book giveaway twice -- once on each spotlight post. (It's not too late to go back and leave a comment on yesterday's post.)

Off to read another great book!
Sandra M. Hart


Anonymous said...

Hello Karla. I too talk to myself in places like the grocery store. I have done it too much at home I guess. Could cause embarrassment some time. But no funnier than that walk around in there with this thing in there ear, and just talking out loud. I once tho't someone had spoke to me, so need to break myself. LOL I only rode a motorcycle once with a boyfriend, and burned my leg bad. Besides I could never even ride a bicycle and make it go straight so quit trying. Would love to win your book. Thanks to you and BDBL for the give-away.

Anonymous said...

Oh my, let my comment go without my email. The above comment is Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com
And, I am a follower of this blog.

Anonymous said...

Hi Karla -- I am so interested in your book "The Pastor Wears Biker Boots". It is a very "catchy" title. You sound like your have a very good sense of humor and a feel for adventure. I appreciate the fact that at 47 you learned how to ride a motorcycle. I wished I had had the drive to do something like that. Now at 72, have the dreams but not the drive to do them. Please enter me in the drawing for this book. God Bless in your ministry and in your life.
Pat Hines ---

Linda Kish said...

This sounds like it will be fun... maybe a bit from experience?

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

bonton said...

Love your attitude (especially re: the motorcycle), & loved your interview, Karla! Your book sounds like so much fun.

I love Michigan - lived on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan for a year! Mackinac Island is beautiful - would love to visit more of the upper peninsula!


rubynreba said...

Your recipe looks delicious! I love the title of your book! Be a great one to read.

Jo said...

This looks like a interesting book to read and have added it to my list.


apple blossom said...

thanks for chance to win

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Veronica Sternberg said...

I love the plot! This looks wonderful. shopgirl152nykiki(at)yahoo(dot)com

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