Thursday, May 16, 2013

Featured Debut Novelist: Katie Ganshert

Katie Ganshert was born and raised in the Midwest, where she currently writes inspirational romance novels set in present-day America. 

When she’s not busy plotting ways to get her hero and heroine to fall in love, she enjoys watching movies with her husband, playing make-believe with her wild-child of a son, and chatting with her girlfriends over bagels. She and her husband are in the process of adopting from the Congo. She could talk books all day and is often spotted around town pushing a stroller, walking her dog, and reading—all at the same time.

The following is a May 2013 interview with Katie.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I'm a work-at-home mom who's been married for almost nine years now. We live in Iowa with our young son and our silly black lab, Bubba, and are in the process of adopting our second child from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa. I write contemporary romance/women’s fiction. I love Jesus passionately. And books make me happy.

How did you become a novelist, and did you always want to write?

I’ve always loved writing. I was that little girl in her bedroom, filling up notebooks with penciled stories until my hand ached. I didn’t write my first novel, though, until I was in my early twenties. I’d just returned from a three week HIV/AIDS outreach trip to Nairobi, Kenya and I came home from that experience with a story needing to be told. So I sat down and wrote my first novel. When I finished, I decided I wanted to keep going, so I wrote two more. Third time must have been a charm, because that’s the one that caught the eye of my agent and my editor.

What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?

I think Christian fiction is not only able to entertain readers, I think it’s able to encourage them in their faith. There is something incredibly powerful about stories. They are able to touch our hearts and minds in a different way than a sermon or a lecture. Which is why I think Jesus used so many parables.  

How do you hope your readers react to the stories you write?

My prayer is that readers would be entertained, blessed, and encouraged by the stories I write, and that ultimately, my books would draw hearts closer to Jesus. 

What responses to your novels have affected you the most and why?

Oh man, there have been many. I’ve had some powerful ones, and they always seem to come at just the right time, in the midst of discouragement or doubt. There is nothing I like better about being an author than hearing from a reader that one of my novels helped bring healing and encouragement just when they needed it. Only God can do something that awesome.

How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

Hugely. Being in the publishing industry is not for the faint of heart. It is a long, twisty road with ups, yes, but lots of downs and lots of waits and lots of lonely spots. Much of writing is done in obscurity, with no guarantee that anybody will read or care for the words. It’s during these moments of discouragement and obscurity that Jesus draws me closer and closer to Him, assuring me that as much as I dream, He is my ultimate reward. Not great sales or accolades, but His presence. And so long as writing keeps me on my knees before Him, then this is exactly where I’m supposed to be. 

Other than writing great novels, what other goals do you have for your life?
We’re in the process of adopting right now and boy has it opened our eyes to a world of injustice. Adoption is a beautiful thing and I’m blessed that God has led us down this path. However, I believe He’s done it not just so we can build our family, but because He wants me to take action. Yes, the orphan crisis is staggering. But so many of these orphans already have families. They don’t need adoption. They need somebody to come alongside them and help their family stay together. God’s given me a passion for family preservation. I don’t want mothers to have to give up their children because of poverty. This isn’t right. One of my goals is to figure out a way to help vulnerable families stay together. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to play with my son, hang out with my husband, read books, talk about books, and spend time with my girlfriends. 

What can you tell us about your latest novels?

My newest release is Wishing on Willows, which is a follow up of sorts of my debut novel, Wildflowers from Winter. You don’t have to read the first to understand the 2nd, but I do think it’s more meaningful if you do. Both stories are set in small-town Iowa and both explore the idea that God can bring beauty out of the broken seasons in our lives. 

Wildflowers from Winter

A young architect at a prestigious Chicago firm, Bethany Quinn has built a life far removed from her trailer park teen years. Until an interruption from her estranged mother reveals that tragedy has struck in her hometown and a reluctant Bethany is called back to rural Iowa. Determined to pay her respects while avoiding any emotional entanglements, she vows not to stay long. But the unexpected inheritance of farmland and a startling turn of events in Chicago forces Bethany to come up with a new plan.

Handsome farmhand Evan Price has taken care of the Quinn farm for years. So when Bethany is left the land, he must fight her decisions to realize his dreams. But even as he disagrees with Bethany's vision, Evan feels drawn to her and the pain she keeps so carefully locked away.

For Bethany, making peace with her past and the God of her childhood doesn't seem like the path to freedom. Is letting go the only way to new life, love and a peace she's not even sure exists?

Wishing on Willows

Does a second chance at life and love always involve surrender?

A three-year old son, a struggling café, and fading memories are all Robin Price has left of her late husband. As the proud owner of Willow Tree Café in small town Peaks, Iowa,  she pours her heart into every muffin she bakes and espresso she pulls, thankful for the sense of purpose and community the work provides.
So when developer Ian McKay shows up in Peaks with plans to build condos where her café and a vital town ministry are located, she isn’t about to let go without a fight.

As stubborn as he is handsome, Ian won’t give up easily. His family’s business depends on his success in Peaks. But as Ian pushes to seal the deal, he wonders if he has met his match. Robin’s gracious spirit threatens to undo his resolve, especially when he discovers the beautiful widow harbors a grief that resonates with his own.

With polarized opinions forming all over town, business becomes unavoidably personal and Robin and Ian must decide whether to cling to the familiar or surrender their plans to the God of Second Chances. 

Wildflowers from Winter
[Purchase: | Amazon Kindle]

Wishing on Willows
[Purchase: | Amazon Kindle]

What stories can your fans expect from you in the days ahead?

Stories with romance and stories where my protagonist experiences a deep emotional journey. Stories about faith and God’s ability to restore and heal. I’m excited for what’s next. 

What would you like to say to your fans in New Zealand, and others worldwide?
I love you! Seriously. Readers are the best and one of the coolest things about being a published author is being able to connect with you. So please connect! Say Hi on my Facebook page or join the conversation on my blog. I’d love to get to know you!

Do you have any parting words?

Thanks for having me and God bless! God is good and faithful, no matter our circumstances. Praying You feel that truth deep down in your hearts today.

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