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On Writing

“Are you writing what you like to read or what you think you should write?”

–From Writing From Personal Experience

I think the honest answer to that is that I write what I like to read. My favorite author is Karen Kingsbury. Most of what I write is similar to her work in that I write love stories with a Christian theme—and all about “real” characters, people I can easily relate to. The stories are much more than just romances, though. They show real people, in real situations that test their faith.

I am not even sure what I “should” be writing. Often I think I should focus on articles rather than stories. Would I sell my work on a more regular basis if I wrote non-fiction rather than fiction? Every time I try that, though, I get so very bored. If my work is boring to me, how can I expect it to interest editors or readers?

My Take on Above the Line

I discovered soap operas in the 1990’s.  Perhaps I should clarify that….  I began watching soaps with my parents’ approval in the early 90’s.  My favorite was Another World.  I watched Days of Our Lives, too, but could have lived without it.  It just didn’t hold the same intrigue for me that Another World did.  Perhaps that’s because my mother told me that Bay City, the setting for AW, was in Michigan.  That was always so cool to me, that a show would be set in my home state.

Above the Line, Take One

As I grew older and closer to God, I began to wonder what a Christian soap opera would be like.  For years I wondered about that.  Could there still be good looking men, pretty women, bad choices, and romance if God was in the center of it all?

I found my answer in an unexpected place—the pages of Karen Kingsbury’s Above the Line series.

It started earlier than that, actually.  There is a lot of soapishness (I sure hope that’s a word; if not it should be!) in all of her Baxter Family stories.

Above the Line, Take Two

  That’s what kept the fans coming back, begging for “just one more” story about the Baxters.  Still, it wasn’t until reading her most recent series (which does still feature some of the Baxter family characters) that I began to really feel that soap opera feeling.

The Baxters always seemed so insulated in their own little world.  In the books of Above the Line, new characters are introduced who love God every bit as much as the members of the Baxter clan do.  But they have a different back ground.  Chase Ryan and Keith Ellison are former missionaries to Indonesia.  Both feel God is leading them to make Christian movies.  This puts them in direct contact every day with people who know nothing about Christ’s love.  It also puts them in opposition to the “conventional” world of Hollywood.  Keith’s daughter, Andi, is a student at Indiana University and questioning her parents’ beliefs.  Her roommate is Bailey Flannigan, a character well-known to readers of Karen

Above the Line, Take Three

Kingsbury.  She tries to be a good influence on Andi, while trying to make sense of her feelings for two young men.  Cody Coleman is busy caring for his drug-addicted mother, working toward a college degree, and building a life after an injury during the Iraq war.  The blending of all of these characters leads to situations every bit as entertaining as any seen on daytime television, but more heartwarming because God’s presence is always felt in the middle of everything.

I must say, I much prefer to read a good Karen Kingsbury book over watching the selections on daytime TV these days.  Each relationship proves there is a lot more to romance than just sex.

Above the Line, Take Four

A message many young people in this world desperately need.

Happy Birthday, Karen!

Happy birthday to Karen Kingsbury!!

As you may know, Karen is one of my favorite authors. When a new book by Karen comes out, I am usually at the front of the line to get it. I’ve read every one of her books that the local library has in circulation, and I am actively working to purchase the titles I don’t have. Her stories are that inspirational to me.

From Karen, I have learned to not listen to others and just write from the heart, just write the story that God has given me. Once upon a time, I was told that if I didn’t include sex scenes in my books, no one would read my work and I’d be wasting my time. The fear that the one who said that to me was right—not to mention the fear of just what God might be asking me to do!—kept my pen quite for a long time. And then I started to read Karen’s Redemption series. The members of the Baxter Family, all raised in a loving, God-fearing home, are human. They may love God, but that doesn’t keep them from making mistakes. One of them is even an unwed mother. Karen shows the effects of sex, without a graphic love scene. I love that! Reading about the Baxter Family gave me the courage to follow my dream and God’s leading. I will forever be grateful to Karen Kingsbury for that.

My favorite of her books is Shades of Blue. It’s a story of love, healing, and forgiveness for a man and a woman who believe they have done the unforgiveable. If you haven’t read that one, I highly recommend that you do so. But you will need to have tissues handy! My least favorite of her books is her latest one, Take Four, the final book in her Above the Line series. Oh, the characters are very well developed and they all feel like close friends. And the storyline is engaging, following nicely from the first three books in the series. What I don’t like about it is what she did to Bailey Flannigan! Sure, she says she is working on a series that revolves around Bailey. Problem is, I don’t like how she left things and I don’t want to wait to find out what happens next!


Oh well. Patience is a virtue, right? Maybe god is using Karen and her books to help me learn more about being patient!

To celebrate Karen’s birthday, I am giving away a birthday gift to one lucky blog reader! The gift is a birthday box of goodies from Kat’s Coffees and More. The box contains a Crème Brulee one pot (enough flavored coffee to make one 12 cup pot), a Cookies n Cream sugar cookie mix, an assortment of flavored lemonades and limeades, and one chicken coating mix (available in your choice of garlic herb, garlic pepper, Italian herb, lime pepper, smoky mesquite, southwest chipotle or pecan). To win, simply leave a comment on this blog post. Tell me what your favorite Karen Kingsbury book is, or just tell Karen happy birthday! One winner will be chosen from all responses received by midnight eastern time on Sunday, July 18, 2010. Please be sure to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win.

Good luck to all.

And to Karen, I pray for God’s continued blessings on you and your family.

Find out more about Karen Kingsbury and her books at

You can see the entire line of goodies from Kat’s Coffees and More here