Monday, May 21, 2012

Interview with Karen Arnpriester









Tell us why you wrote a novel at this point in your life.

Why now? … Because God inspired me.

We had finished a devotional/testimony book for our women’s group through our church.  I had several submissions. Many ladies approached me and said that they really enjoyed my contributions and had I ever considered writing. I did have an idea for a book, just the beginning and end. It started as a whim, something to entertain myself. I never expected it to be anywhere but on my computer. A few close friends read the chapters as I wrote. Their encouragement was pivotal in my decision to finish the book and attempt to have it published.

While writing the book, I truly felt the presence of God. I would write myself into a corner, and He would download pictures of where the book should go. I had no outline, no characters in mind and no chapter to chapter plot. It played out as I wrote. I would find myself crying or laughing while I typed. It became an opportunity to share God’s love and how Heaven reaches down and touches our lives.  I knew God was smiling down on me as I followed His lead and wrote from the heart.

Share your experiences as a foster parent.

I had always wanted to be a foster parent but my son was a challenge. We didn’t feel that kids with their own issues would be comfortable in our upheaval. Once my son moved out on his own, my husband was diagnosed with cancer. This delayed our plans to do foster care again. We finally felt our home was stable enough to focus on kids that needed a family. We went through the training and waited for months. Where were all the kids that needed a family? We almost left the private Christian agency for the county, but just as I started the transfer, we got our two daughters. I know now that God left our home open, waiting for these specific girls.

The day after we got the girls, I noticed the little one, five years old, was breathing oddly. We took her to ER and they informed us that she had asthma. This was news to us and the foster care agency. The hospital treated her and released her after several hours. A short time later, she was much worse and we headed back to ER. X-rays revealed solid pneumonia in both lungs. We were taken by helicopter to Children’s Hospital. Our sweetheart was in ICU for 7 days, and released in 10 days. We were told that if we hadn’t gotten her to ER that night, she would not have survived till morning. Her oxygen levels were dangerously low. This experience was a quick bond. Sadly, the hospital staff commented frequently that I was the first foster parent that stayed with the patient twenty four-seven. How do you leave a five year old alone in a hospital when everything they knew had just been ripped away?

I cannot say it has all been easy. These kids come with pain, confusion, lack of social graces and anger. But within two years, we fell in love and when we were told the girls were eligible for adoption, we knew what we must do. The adoption of both our girls should be final this June. It is scary for sure, we are not spring chickens. We did consider our ages, the girls deserve younger parents. But when we heard the sad statistics regarding their chance of being adopted, we knew we were ones to give them a family.

Have angels played a role in your life?

Oh yes. I felt physical touch and whispered warnings. I truly believe the Bible, these wonderful creatures are Heaven’s gift to us. Our protectors. I was driving without a seatbelt, first rain of the season and roads were slippery. I stopped at a light and a brain flash said PUT ON YOUR SEATBELT.” I truly heard a female voice, not mine, in my head. I put on my seatbelt and within two blocks I was in a very serious accident. Another time, my back was killing me from several nights on a hotel bed. I was at a women’s retreat. I was lying on the bed, on my side, enjoying my pity party, when I felt a fingertip press into my neck, The pain was gone in that area of my back. Every few inches this fingertip would press in and relieve the pain. I was in shock and couldn’t believe that Heaven cared enough to bring me relief from something as basic as back pain. And, if you’re asking, no one was behind me!

Can you tell us some reactions that you have gotten from some of your readers?

One mother called me and thanked me over and over again. Her daughter was disrespectful and showed a strong sense of entitlement. This mom had pulled all of her daughter’s privileges, stripped her room of all conveniences. While sitting in her room,  her daughter asked what she was supposed to do? Her mom threw in my book and told her to read. Whenever she would check in on her, she was still reading, tears flowing. After finishing the book, she took her mother aside and sobbed. She apologized for not understanding what a good life she had and how much she was loved. The mom said that my book touched her daughter in a profound way, which improved their relationship dramatically.  Many others have shared that through the story, they saw how they created ripples in the lives around them. They wanted to make a difference in the world that were positive and loving. They understood the importance of their existence.

Do you have any advice for novice writers?

Just do it. Don’t worry about who’s going to read it, or if it’s good enough. Get it down. Revisions and editing is a big part of the process, but if you don’t write your story, there is nothing to polish and refine. Let your imagination go wild. There are no limits. The world can be as you describe it. The freedom is exhilarating.  I sometimes get all caught up in getting published and wanting the confirmation that I did something good. And that would be great, but I ask myself, “What if you never get published, will you stop writing?” I realized that the writing is the motivation. I won’t stop writing. I might be the only person who can appreciate my efforts, but that’s okay. I soar when I write. I leave this life of responsibility and routine. I become limitless.

Which authors do you enjoy reading?

I used to focus on Koontz and King. But my tastes have expanded over the last few years. I love books that inspire while entertain. Stories that take me somewhere far and magical. I love twists and turns that are unexpected. Human resilience and the struggle to do what’s right, not what is self-serving.

I just finished the Hunger Games series written by Suzanne Collins. I really enjoyed her talent for story telling. I searched and found another series written by Suzanne, probably for teens, but I loved them. They are Gregor the Overlander series.  William P. Young had a very strong influence on my spiritual walk with God and my interest in writing. I hadn’t read anything similar and I found his boldness fascinating. I was the person sitting at the desk in the cave, judging. I know there is a lot of controversy about The Shack, but God touched me deeply regarding struggles I had with my Christianity while reading this book.

 Can you tell us about your next book?

I love this story, Raider’s Vendetta. It is the conflict between an older Christian woman trying to be all that God asks of her and an enraged man who hates God. She is taken as a bank robbery hostage and once Raider realizes she is a Christian, he unleashes his fury on her. His torment and disregard for her is so difficult for Charley to understand, let alone endure. The conflict the young man harbors is based on twenty years of my own doubt about God’s love for mankind. The questions thrown at Charley are my questions. Questions that kept me a terrible distance from my Heavenly Father. I have found comfort in the discovery of some answers, but there are still questions that challenge my faith today.

It was fun to be the bad guy and think of ways to be nasty. I generally am a very kind, loving person and this outlet was rather revealing. I have the ability to think vindictive and cruel.  That is good for the story, but maybe not my husband. You hate Raider, but you can understand his journey. What drove him to the point of such fury. The book has twists and turns and a very unexpected ending.

I am excited to see where God takes both of these books.  I know that He knows who needs to read them and when. I trust that my writing is my ripple, my chance to make a difference in lives. I thank God for this gift, a gift I never expected to receive. He knew what would make my heart soar while I spread the story of His love for mankind.





9 comments:

  1. Great interview Mary...keep it up

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  2. What a beautiful woman, with a heart of gold. Her selfless acts in this world will certainly bring rewards in the next. Great interview. Thanks for offering the giveaway of her book!
    Nancee
    quiltcat26@sbcglobal.net

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Nancee!

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    2. Nancee, you are the winner of a copy of Karen's book. E-mail me your mailing address at themaryreader@yahoo.com

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  3. I am so thankful to be featured on your new blog! The great interview questions are a wonderful way to introduce myself as an author and mother. Love you Mary!
    Karen Arnpriester

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    1. Thank you Karen for loving your readers!

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  4. I always love to hear about new to me authors.

    Blessings,
    Jo
    ladijo40(at)aol(dot)com

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