Sunday, September 8, 2013

A Warm Welcome to Karen Gass!

What a delight to have talented Karen Gass visit with us. Here's more information

about her writing journey:

Is there a story behind your book Morningshine? The story kind of wrote itself. I’m not the kind of writer who makes outlines, and creates character sketches and then sits down to write the story. I just start writing and things happen. I plan very few of them. I’ve heard my method described as a ‘seat of the pants’ writer and that describes me to a ‘T’! While I had a basic idea of what I wanted to write about, the story just flowed out my fingers and took care of itself. Some things happened in the book I did not expect, and I cried or laughed as if I were reading it for the first time. It really is an exhilarating experience to watch this story take on a life of its own, and see all the details come together at the end.

What distracts you from writing the easiest? I’m the kind of person who needs a routine. I usually call it a ‘rut’. I like my days to flow evenly, each one on the same schedule, so I know what to do – and when to do it. Yes, I do live in my own fantasy world J We all know life doesn’t work like that. Life happens, regardless of my rut in the road. My own personal assignment has been to learn to be more flexible. To write when I have the time, not when the clock says it is Writing Time. Some days are easier than others, I admit!

Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote? Why? I could identify with many of the characters, having been a mom, wife and grandma, but the character that interested me the most is Gert. She defies gravity. She is a fun one to write about because you never know what she’s going to do. She’s got a bevy of her own ideas – not all of them Biblical or correct – but she sticks by them as if they were. When she realizes she is wrong, she swallows hard and will eventually accept the truth. She is set in her ways and doesn’t care what people think of her.

If you were a style of music, what style would you be? It would totally depend on the day. Some days I’d be dancing through my day as some ragtime or 40s music. Other days, I’m more subdued and would be a beautiful instrumental. If it was a cleaning day I’d be some good old fashioned rock ‘n roll, moving at a fast pace. Many days I’d be praise and worship music, praising Him with my whole being.

I enjoy those music types too. What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I went on a trip out of town with my mother and sisters. We were in a small town with a picturesque downtown. We had headed downtown to visit the little shops and cafes. It was in the summer, and there were large planters on the edge of the sidewalk, filled with blooming flowers. But as we passed each one, I noticed there were weeds in them. The more planters we passed, the more this began to bother me. Finally I stopped, and started pulling the weeds. I just couldn’t stand it anymore, but I think I embarrassed my family. They didn’t help me, but I heard several ‘Karen!!!’ and even though I was in my 30’s, my mom was using her Mother voice with me! I had to obey then, and stop pulling the weeds.

Lol. I can see it now! Are you my sister? :) What makes you smile and/or laugh out loud? Usually myself. I am not a graceful person, I run into the wall, I trip over spots on the floor, and generally have at least one bruise somewhere. I find humor in almost everything. Going out to lunch or hanging out with my mom and sisters will normally find us laughing at ourselves so hard tears come out of our eyes! And our stomachs hurt from laughing, and we can’t even talk! Those are healthy laughs, and so fun! One time I was cooking breakfast, and picked up an egg, but on its way to the frying pan, I dropped it and it landed smack dab in my cup of coffee. I got a good laugh out of that. I couldn’t have done that on purpose, no matter how much I practiced!

What is your favorite season of the year? Winter! J The snow, the cold, watching it snow – all favorite things of mine. I love winter clothes – warm sweaters and slippers, warm drinks, snuggled into a warm blanket watching movies, it’s all good! Of course, I do work from home, so I don’t have to battle the elements, scrap the ice off the car or any of those awful things. This leaves me free to enjoy winter!

Karen, few people choose winter as there favorite, but it's a delight to do all those things you mentioned, and I love those too. Are there things you put off doing because you dread them? Cooking and cleaning! Ugh! I’d much prefer spending my time in creative pursuits – of any kind, rather than clean my house. Thankfully my husband loved to cook, and I gladly handed that over to him. And now that I am a widow, I live with my sister and she is a fabulous cook! I do help out somewhat with the cleaning, because it’s only right. But I have to be quick about it and do it before she does, which is not always easy!

I love it when a man cooks! (My husband does too sometimes.) Are there spiritual themes you like to write about? I like to write about the whole picture. In our lives, we see little fragments of things, we experience our own lives but we don’t see things as God sees them. He sees the entire tapestry, while we see only threads here and there. Many times we can look back on a particular event and see God’s Hand in it, but never can we see His Hand working in our current situations. I like to start on the outside, telling bits and pieces of seemingly unrelated parts of the story and then bring them together in the middle. It’s at this point when my characters realize what’s going on and are able to see His work and the weaving of this tapestry begins to take shape.

Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you. (and why it's special)  
My favorite verse has always been Psalm 37:4 “
Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.” I went to a Christian high school, and that was the verse listed under my senior picture. I loved the poetry of the verse, the promise from God to give me the desires of my heart. As I grew up I often wondered why the Lord was not giving me the ‘desires of my heart’. Some years later, I realized the verse had two parts – Delight yourself also in the Lord. Was I doing that? Not really. And there was that pesky word ‘also’. I had to read the verse in context, not just take out the one I liked and go with it. I needed to learn what was before it, here it is (and it makes all the difference in the world!

“Do not fret because of evildoers, Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, And wither as the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.” (vss. 1-3)

Now that’s a little different story! Don’t be envious, Trust in the Lord and do good… You mean “I” had to do something? I was always under the assumption that the desires of my heart would simply be handed to me on a silver platter. I’d even be happy with a paper plate!

The verses after vs. 4 were also quite eye-opening. I challenge you to read them, and implement all of it into your life. If you are longing for the desires of your heart, like I am, then we must be sure our desires stem from Him, and not our own selfishness. This chapter will tell you how to do just that.

Great verses. I love the Psalm verse too. What other question would you like us to ask you?

How do you manage with your current health situation? I do have fibromyalgia, I’ve had it over 20 years. It’s a difficult disease to work around, because you never know how you’ll feel from one day to the next. It comes with a nasty thing we call ‘Brain Fog’ – and when that happens, words will not come to me. I forget things easily. One time I forgot the name of one of my grandchildren, and the birthday of my first son. Scary stuff. I was determined to remember on my own, and eventually I did.

Because I also sew, knit and do other crafty kinds of things, I keep several projects going. One set that I can do without having to think or focus on and one that is more difficult and will challenge me. Some days I cannot write – or maybe it’s “I should not write”!

I do have to be careful not to overdo it physically because I will pay for it with increased pain and fatigue the next day or two. Sometimes it can’t be avoided, so I just accept the inevitable and let myself rest with an easy project or a nap or three.

God has blessed me with work I can do at home, so I don’t have to punch a time clock and work a minimum wage job – which is really all I’m qualified to work! I didn’t go to college (wish I had) and I have no formal training for anything I do. I’ve learned everything from books or online classes. Completely self-taught.

There are many, many women with fibro, and I know how hard your days are. Many of you must work at a job, no matter how you feel and then come home to care for your family. You have a hard road to walk. Fibro is not a ‘popular’ disease, so it gets little media attention. But look for it in my upcoming books, as I try to draw some attention to it.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it? It is due out this Fall, and is the second in a series of three books about Morningshine. It doesn’t have a name at this point in time. It will carry on the story of the women of Morningshine, show the spiritual growth of the newly saved family, and introduce a new character or two.


To buy her book, go here:
Amazon Kindle
Amazon Print

About Karen:
Karen Gass starting writing stories at a young age. When she grew up and had a family, her writing took a back seat to life. After a major foot surgery, she was facing one week flat on her back in bed, with foot elevated. A laptop provided inspiration to start a newsletter for her website, where she sold quilt patterns. A quilting story seemed appropriate for the newsletter, but instead of the short story she planned, it took on a life of its own and turned into a novel. It was ten years in the writing (not full time) and 2013 was the year she finally wrote the end of the story, and published it on Amazon for Kindle. Except it wasn’t the end of the story! Book 2 is nearly finished and Book 3 is planned.

Karen married Mike Gass in 2005 and between them they had 7 children, and 19 grandchildren. This year, on May 30, he went home to be with Jesus after a short battle with liver cancer.

She had a short career as a quilt designer, and published one quilt book, “Log Cabin Quilts: A Brand New Story” by Karen Murphy. It is a unique book, because it has a novel running through the book, with each quilt design. As soon as it was published, Karen remarried and lost all that name recognition! Now a widow, Karen has ramped up her writing and also does editing as a side business. She is also the Editor of the online quilt magazine The Quilt Pattern Magazine. It’s no wonder Morningshine is about a group of quilters!

In her spare time, Karen loves to sew, knit and crochet; and loves to shop at thrift stores, garage sales and auctions, always looking for treasures on one kind or another.

Connect with her here:

Facebook Author Page:

Karen is giving away a copy of Morningshine. 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)

Happy Reading!
Caroline Brown


ann said...

This sounds like a wonderful book that I would enjoy reading . Love quilts and quilting too.
amhengst AT verizon DOT net

cjajsmommy said...

This was a terrific interview and has made me want to read the book, not because of the book but because of the author. Please consider my name in the giveaway. djragno [at] hotmail [dot] com

Linda Kish said...

I understand that fibro stuff. And, it doesn't matter if you have a college degree and a career. I am a nurse who hasn't been able to work in years due to fibro and other injuries and thanks to being over-qualified, I can't do anything else either. But with upper extremity problems I couldn't anyway. At least I can do this. And read...I look forward to reading your book.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

bonton said...

Really loved your interview, & learning more about you! The storyline of your book is wonderful & I would love to read it! I love your theory of starting on the outside & bringing everything together in the middle.

I can identify with you on numerous issues - while you are striving for more flexibility in your routine, I am striving for more discipline (an issue that developed after retirement). I, probably, have had enough "klutzy" moments in my life to fill a book.

I would be so interested in reading anything you will be writing re: fibro, several people in my family have it & I have thought for years that I do, also -but haven't pursued it, as have read that there is no cure, & that meds & improving one's lifestyle are the recommendations. Meds are a problem for me, because of other health issues.


Anonymous said...

Good Sunday morning to you Caroline and Karen. Nice you are here for an interview. I should learned the art of quilting but never did. I was a seamstress of clothes for many years at home, but had a hard time quilting when I couldn't take the whole thing in my hands, like hemming, etc. Would have been too much blood on the quilt from sticking my fingers. Please put me in for a chance to win karen's book. Thanks!
MAXIE mac262(at)me(dot)com

Library Lady said...

I would read this book based on the cover alone.
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to win it.
Janet E.

sam said...

I enjoy looking at quilts and have made a couple myself, so a book about quilting will be delightful. Love to win your book. sharon, CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Patricia Bradley said...

Love the cover and title of your book! And Psalm 37 is one of my favorites. I always try to remember verse 7--Wait patiently for the Lord...

pat at ptbradley dot com

squiresj said...

Really really really would love to win and read this.
jrs362 at Hotmail dot com

Karen Gass said...

Hello! I just wanted to pop in and say Thank you to Caroline for doing the interview - that was a fun time! And Thank YOU commenters - what lovely things you have said. It does make me feel good to hear them, but all glory has to go to God! We serve an awesome God, that's for sure. I've got the book all ready for the winner - I'm just waiting to find out who it is :) Nice to meet ya'll! Karen

Sharon A. Lavy said...

I also have Fibro. At least it is beginning to be a known and respectable disease in some places. Not just that we are lazy and don't want to work. Sigh.

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