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My Story

By Karen Kingsbury

Karen Kingsbury, #1 New York Times bestselling novelist, is America's favorite inspirational storyteller, with more than twenty-five million copies of her award-winning books in print. Her last dozen titles have topped bestseller lists and many of her novels are under development with Hallmark Films and as major motion pictures. Her Baxter Family books are being developed into a TV series slated for major network viewing sometime in the next year. Karen is also an adjunct professor of writing at Liberty University. In 2001 she and her husband, Don, adopted three boys from Haiti, doubling their family in a matter of months.
Today the couple has joined the ranks of empty-nesters, living in Tennessee near five of their adult children.

  I was born in Fairfax, VA, the oldest of Anne and Ted Kingsbury's five children. I was hooked on Dr. Seuss from the first time my dad read me The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. I had the story memorized by the time I was five.

  We moved often because of my dad's computer programming job with IBM. Maybe it was the moving that truly underlined my love for reading. In books I found friends I never had to leave.

  When I was 10 years old we left Michigan for California, where we stayed for the next two decades. I loved Southern California back then and I grew up in the San Fernando Valley - a true Valley girl. The beach was just thirty minutes away over Malibu Canyon, and there on the shore of the Pacific Ocean I dreamed about being a novelist.

   My heart overflowed with stories.

  But the practical side of writing looked like journalism, which I studied through high school and college. There was a point in my freshman year at Pierce College when I actually decided I was sick of writing. I would be a lawyer, a prosecutor.

  That year I took an English class and three weeks into the semester, Professor Bob Scheibel ordered me to the front of the room. Bob was a surly old journalist with a lifetime of experience. He ran the school newspaper. He pointed at me, real sharp-like, and said, "Are you Karen Kingsbury?"

  I felt my knees tremble. "Yes, sir."

  "Two things." He looked over the glasses at the end of his nose. "First, you will never ever stop writing. And second, you're on staff."

  There was no arguing with Mr. Scheibel. And, like that, my future was set. I graduated from Cal State University Northridge with a degree in journalism in 1986 and immediately started work as a sports writer for the Los Angeles Times. I didn't know anything about sports, but my dad was a good teacher and I was a quick study.

  I covered high school sports initially, but quickly I began seeing bigger stories, deeper stories and I earned a reputation. If a story needed tears, my editors would give it to me.

  About that time I met the love of my life, a blond, blue-eyed California boy named Don, a guy with one driving passion - to live his life for Jesus Christ. He brought a Bible to our first date and asked me if we could read Philippians together. I didn't know a Philippian from any other "ippian" and, seriously, I thought he was crazy. But he was cute and clean-cut, so I put up with the Bible reading.

  Three months passed and the tension in our "Bible" conversations grew. I couldn't defend my viewpoints, my worldly values I'd accumulated over the years. Finally, I'd had it. One afternoon standing outside his car I took his precious, underlined, highlighted Bible and I threw it on the ground.

  Split the binding right down the middle.

  Don picked up the pieces, gave me a sad look, and drove off.

  I figured the ground would open up and I'd be headed straight for ... well, you know. Instead, God allowed me to get in my car and drive to a Christian Bookstore, a store 'd driven past all my life and never, not once stepped inside.

  There I bought a Bible and a concordance. I went home to my apartment and set about making a case for my manmade beliefs. Instead, I could hear God saying, You can either fall away with your unfounded views on life, or you can grab onto my Word and never let go.

  I grabbed. I'm still holding on, still standing on that rock today. I'll be devoted to God's word the rest of my days.

  Don forgave me and we joined a non-denominational Bible-believing church. We attended a weekly Bible study and a few months later we were baptized. It was the same week Don proposed to me.

 The two of us were married on July 23, 1989, on what was a record-breaking day of heat. We didn't care. With God on our side, we were ready to tackle the world, ready to share His love however the Lord would see fit to use us.

  We lived in a rented $100-a-month garage apartment with no air conditioning or heat. Don was finishing up his teaching credential and I worked at the newspaper. About that time I was moved to the front page to write the Sunday feature story - usually something involving a sad and twisted murder.

See Karen Kingsbury's Interview about her book, "Love Story" with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb on The Today show - Click Here

  On our sixth-month anniversary we found out I was pregnant - though that was certainly not our plan. I figured I'd never know this child - too busy working long days at the newspaper. Don simply rejoiced and said, "We need to pray. God will show you a way to write at home. He can do that!" 

  Over the next nine months I prayed doubtfully, Don prayed faithfully. We prayed the Lord would allow me to make my salary from home. An unlikely request at best. During that time I sold a story to People Magazine - a sad true murder story I'd covered for the newspaper. When it ran in People, a literary agent in New York contacted me. He thought the story would make an interesting book. I agreed to write a proposal.

  At the time, I didn't see my conversation with him as part of God's plan. But three days before my return to work the agent called again. He told me to sit down. He had gotten my proposal into a bidding war and the resulting deal was beyond anything he had hoped for. The first check? Just $12.49 more than I made a year.

  I quit my job the next day. I've been home writing books ever since.

  Over the next few years I wrote four true crime books - not my favorite topic. After that I couldn't write about another murder. I begged God to show me what was next, how I might find my way back to that long ago Plan A - being a novelist.

  In 1995 I read Francine Rivers' book, Redeeming Love, and I knew I wanted to write books that glorified God for the rest of my life. That spring I wrote my first novel - Where Yesterday Lives. I had no agent wiling to represent it, and no publisher. Thirty rejection letters followed. The publisher I'd worked with for the crime books said they loved it - but without sex scenes and strong language, they didn;t know what to do with it.

  I pressed on, praying and believing.

  A year later in 1996, I received word from Multnomah Publishers - they wanted my book. And two more. At least. At the same time we welcomed our third child - Austin - to our family. He joined Kelsey and Tyler and we figured our life was set. Where Yesterday Lives was published in 1997 - the same week Austin was born.

  Only days later, doctors discovered that Austin had a severe heart defect. At three weeks old, he had emergency heart surgery - a surgery that saved his life. The operation left him healed and with a life-long battle against congenital heart disease.

  Over the next few years we decided to add to our family in a way we had never planned. We adopted three little best friends from Haiti - Sean, Josh, and EJ. (See here for more of our adoption story).

  Ever since that first novel, I;ve been writing Life-Changing Fiction
tm, certain that when God puts a story on my heart, He has your heart in mind.

​  And I'm still sure that my professor from that distant freshman English class was right.

  I'll never, ever stop writing.

~ from karenkingsbury.com ~


Read another feature from our E-Blast Newsletter on Karen Kingsbury and
"Love Story" -
Click Here


Karen Kingsbury's Inspiring Encounter
On The High Line
A chance meeting even this beloved
 novelist could never have imagined

By Karen Kingsbury

    I've been writing novels for more than 15 years, and I'll admit it: My imagination can run pretty wild sometimes! I see the stories come to life in my mind way before I ever get them on paper-envisioning the characters and the twists and turns they'll take on their personal and spiritual journeys.
  Then last year something unexpected happened in my own life, something so incredible that even I couldn't have imagined it.
  I'd gone to New York City to meet with my publisher. My daughter, Kelsey, and her husband, Kyle, came with me because they wanted to see the city.
  It was a glorious autumn afternoon. Kelsey, Kyle and I were walking on the High Line-a park built on a historic elevated railroad line above the streets on Manhattan's West Side.
  That morning I'd had a dream-come-true meeting with my publisher. My novel The Bridge had become an overnight best seller and they'd signed me to a 10-book deal! I felt so blessed, especially to be able to celebrate with Kelsey and Kyle.
    Yet, standing there on the High Line, looking up at the bright blue sky, all I could think was, I wish I could tell Dad about all this.
    My father had passed away six years earlier. He was my rock. My very first and biggest fan.
    "Have I told you lately that I love you, Dad?" I whispered. That was Dad's favorite song- the Rod Stewart version of "Have I Told You Lately."  He'd called me the first time he'd ever heard it.
    "This song is how I feel about you, Mom, our whole family," he said. "Whenever you hear it I want you to know that I love you." I was surprised. Dad wasn't usually into pop music. But the more I listened to Rod's distinctive raspy voice belting it out, the more I understood what Dad meant
"Have I told you there's no one else above you? You fill my heart with gladness, take away all my sadness, ease my troubles, that's what you do." When one of us heard the song, we'd call the other. Sometimes we'd hear it when we were together and Dad would give me a wink.
    "I can't say it any better than Rod," he'd say. The song was that powerful for us. It connected us. So much so that my family had the title engraved on Dad's headstone.
    Not long after Dad died, I began to hear our song at odd but significant moments. Like when my husband, Don, and I were driving home from watching Kelsey and our oldest son, Tyler, in the opening-night performance of the school play-the kind of occasion Dad wouldn't have missed for the world-and the second we turned on the car radio, there it was.
    Or when we took our first family vacation to the Bahamas without Dad. I stepped out onto the balcony overlooking the sparkling sea. "Oh, Dad, you would've loved this!" I said. Then I heard a familiar melody.
    I looked down onto the deck below and the Bahamian band had switched from playing island music to-yes, you guessed it - "Have I Told You Lately."
    Now here I was, at one of those moments when I knew Dad would have been so proud of me, and I couldn't share it with him. I missed him more than ever. Lord, I prayed, please tell Dad that I love him.
    "How 'bout we take some pictures?" I said to Kelsey and Kyle, hoping to distract myself from missing Dad. "We've got this amazing view of the Hudson from up here."
    I pulled out my camera and took some shots of Kelsey, then of her and Kyle together. I wanted to get one of the three of us. I was stretching my arm out, trying to hold the camera far enough away so we were all in the frame, when a man and a woman walked up.
    "I can help take your picture," the man said to us. He was older than me, dressed stylishly in a sweater and jeans. He had a slight accent. Australian? English? He was a tourist like me, probably. "Would that be okay?"
    "Yes!" I said. "Thank you so much."
    "Just show me how to use the camera," he said.
    Kelsey walked over and showed him which button to press, then we got into place again.
    He snapped the photo. "That's lovely!" he said, brushing a wayward strand of blond hair from his eye. He handed me the camera. "God bless you," he said, then he and the woman went on their way.
    When they were almost out of sight, Kelsey turned to me. "Mom, did you hear what that man said when I was showing him how to use the camera?"
    "No, honey, I didn't."
    "He said, 'I'm usually on the other side of this thing. But this is fun too.'"
    "Why would he say that?" I wondered aloud.
    Then it dawned on me: the spiky blond hair, the fashionable clothes, the lilt in his voice... Could it be?
    I followed the couple, walking as fast as I could.
    "Sir, sir! Excuse me, sir!" I called. The man stopped and turned around. We were face-to-face.
    "You just took our picture back there," I said.
    "Yes," he said. By now Kelsey and Kyle had caught up to me.
    "Can I ask you something?"
    "Sure," he said.
    "Are you Rod Stewart?"
    "Sometimes," he said.
    "No, really, I have to know," I insisted. "Are you Rod Stewart?"
    He must have seen something in my eyes because he said quietly, "Yes, I am." My knees went weak. If only my dad could have seen this!
    "Can I tell you a story?" I asked.
    Rod nodded.

    I told him that "Have I Told You Lately" was my father's favorite song and that just an hour earlier I'd been wondering if Dad knew how much I missed him.
    Rod gently put his hand on my arm. I rested my hand on top of his. "And now I'm meeting you," I said. "It's crazy. Your song's title is even on my dad's gravestone."
    Tears came to Rod's eyes. "Can I give you a hug?" he asked. He pulled me in tightly. "Thank you for sharing that. You made my day."'
    When we let go, Rod clasped his hands together and pointed them heavenward. Then he and his companion walked away.
    Kelsey, Kyle and I looked at each other and sat down on a bench. We all felt stunned. Just at the moment when I was missing my dad so badly, the rock star who sang our song crosses my path? Really? You could never plan or even imagine something like that!
    But Someone had. Someone who orchestrates unforgettable encounters and writes amazing moments into the stories of our lives. I looked up into the bright blue sky. There really is no one else above him.

(from Guideposts.com)

Karen Kingsbury
Family (Baxter Family Drama―Firstborn Series"

Karen Kingsbury
A Thousand Tomorrows (Cody Gunner Series #1)"

Karen Kingsbury
"Like Dandelion Dust"

Karen Kingsbury
Take Two;
Above The Line Series #2"

Karen Kingsbury
"Fifteen Minutes:
A Novel"

Karen Kingsbury
"Loving: Bailey Flanigan Series #4"

Karen Kingsbury
"Shades of Blue"

Karen Kingsbury
This Side of Heaven:
A Novel"

Karen Kingsbury
"Found (Baxter Family Drama―Firstborn Series"

Karen Kingsbury
"Learning, Bailey Flanigan Series #2"

Karen Kingsbury
(Sunrise Series-Baxter 3,
Book 4)"

Karen Kingsbury
"Time To Dance:
(Timeless Love Series"

Karen Kingsbury
Just Beyond
The Clouds"
(Cody Gunner Series #2)

Karen Kingsbury
"Leaving: Bailey Flanigan Series #1"

Karen Kingsbury
 (Sunrise Series-Baxter 3, Book 3)

Karen Kingsbury
"A Treasure of Christmas Miracles:
True Stories of God's Presence Today (Miracle Books Collection)

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Karen Kingsbury
"To the Moon and Back, The Baxter Family Series

In this continuation of the Baxter Family saga, Ashley Baxter Blake makes it her mission to reunite two people who, as children, shared a tragic moment - the loss of parents in the Oklahoma City bombing. Each year since they met, Brady Bradshaw has left a note at the memorial for Jenna Phillips, but she has never responded. It is Ashley-s hope that by bringing them together again, they may be able to help one another heal.
Karen Kingsbury
"In This Moment:
A Novel"

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury comes a brand-new Baxter Family novel about a beloved high school principal who starts a Bible Study to improve the lives of his struggling students, only to become the national focus of a controversial lawsuit.
Hamilton High Principal Wendell Quinn is tired of the violence, drug abuse, teen pregnancies, and low expectations at his Indianapolis school. A single father of four, Quinn is a Christian and a family man. He wants to see change in his community, so he starts a voluntary after-school Bible Study and prayer program. He knows he is risking his job by leading the program, but the high turnout at every meeting encourages him.
Karen Kingsbury
"Love Story:
A Novel (The Baxter Family)"

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury comes a new book featuring everyone's favorite family-the Baxters, which tells the story of how John and Elizabeth first fell in love. From the day they met, John and Elizabeth were destined to fall in love. Their whirlwind romance started when they were young college students and lasted nearly thirty years - until Elizabeth died of cancer.
So when John Baxter is asked to relive his long-ago love story with Elizabeth for his grandson Cole's heritage project, he's not sure he can do it. The sadness might simply be too great. But he agrees and allows his heart and soul to go places they haven't gone in decades. Back to the breathless first moments, but also to the secret heartbreak that brought John and Elizabeth together.

Karen Kingsbury
"Brush of Wings: A Novel (Angels Walking)"

Karen Kingsbury
"Chasing Sunsets:
Angels Walking Series #2"

Karen Kingsbury
"The Family of Jesus(Life-Changing Bible Story Series)"

Karen Kingsbury
"Angels Walking:
A Novel"

Karen Kingsbury
"Between Sundays

Karen Kingsbury
"The Bridge:
Updated Special Edition"

Karen Kingsbury
"The Chance:
A Novel

Karen Kingsbury
"Coming Home:
A Story of Undying Hope
(The Baxter Family)"

Karen Kingsbury

Karen Kingsbury
"Even Now
(Lost Love Series)"

Karen Kingsbury
Ever After
(Lost Love Series)"

Karen Kingsbury

(Sunrise Series-Baxter 3,
Book 2"

Karen Kingsbury
(Sunrise Series-Baxter 3,
Book 1)"

Karen Kingsbury
Take One;
Above The Line Series #1"

Karen Kingsbury
A Love Story"

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