Katie Ganshert writes inspirational contemporary romance and women’s fiction, which she hopes will “touch hearts, soothe souls and renew faith.” She’s completed three stories and is working on a fourth. Two of her short stories have appeared in recent issues of the Christian Fiction Online Magazine.
A Midwest gal, Katie was born and raised in Iowa where she lives with her fantasy-football crazed husband, her one-year-old redheaded son and their purebred black lab, Bubba. In addition to being a busy wife, mother and writer, Katie is a fifth grade teacher instilling the joy of words into her students.
When Katie isn’t involved with her family, students or characters, she likes to curl up on the sofa with a hot tea and a great book, watch really good romantic movies and go to Panera for girl talk and bagels. One of her favorite indulgences is ice cream, her favorite flavor being chocolate fudge brownie, which she tops with Hershey’s syrup and sometimes caramel too.
11/11/09 Update: Katie accepted representation from Rachelle Gardner. Read her blog post to experience the excitement and hear the story behind that important phone call.
Join me as we learn more about Katie and her writing journey.
Katie Embarks on Her Journey
You wrote your first story before your son was born. As High as the Heavens came about because of a special trip you took. Please tell us about that experience and how it led you to begin writing.
I’ve always had a heart for Africa and the AIDS crisis going on over there, especially for the growing population of orphans, many of which have HIV themselves. When I heard my church (I lived in Madison, WI at the time) was going to embark on their second trip to Kenya, I knew I had to get involved.
So, I traveled halfway around the globe and did HIV/AIDS outreach in one of the poorest places in the world – Kibera, the largest slum in sub Sahara Africa. Most of the people I met there had no reason to smile or laugh and definitely no reason to praise God. Yet they had a light shining in their eyes that shook me to my core. While I’d gone to offer hope to my African brothers and sisters, I was the one who left encouraged. Riddled with sickness and hunger, those people have nothing, yet so many live and worship as if they have everything.
When I came home, I just knew I had to write that story. So, Ellie Pearson and Ian Porter were born, my hero and heroine who meet in the slums of Kibera.
After your son was born, you began your next book. The timing amazes me. I can’t imagine writing while mothering a wee one and teaching fulltime. Why did you decide to take such a plunge now? And how did you manage to write two books in one year along with everything else you’re doing? Do you have super powers we don’t know about or the ability to survive on two hours’ sleep? 🙂
I actually finished my second book while pregnant with Brogan (although it went through several more revisions after he entered the world). I often ask myself what took me so long to get serious about writing. I had so much free time before my son came along. He’s the coolest little guy, but as every mother can testify, he’s a lot of work!
I think I took the plunge because having Brogan inspired me to re-evaluate my life and how I want to live it. I know God’s given me a passion and a gift in storytelling. I want to set an example for my children by being a faithful steward with the talent God’s given me. Ever since taking the plunge, my love for writing and crafting stories has grown.
While I’d love to boast a super power (especially the power to not need sleep…how cool would that be?), the two things that got me to where I am today on my writing journey are prayer and an alarm clock that goes off at 4 a.m. That way I get my quiet time with God and a solid hour of writing in before I have to get ready for work.
You’ve completed three manuscripts. Two of your stories are romances, whereas the third is women’s fiction with romantic elements. What is it about each genre you like? Do you prefer one to the other?
I prefer romance and would brand myself a romance writer, although I have an idea for another women’s fiction floating around in my head. There’s something about a man and a woman falling in love that just gives me that giddy feeling inside. I love reading good romances, and I love writing them.
You describe yourself as a person of passion. It’s clear you’re passionate about your writing. What people, places or things feed that passion?
Hands down, God. He feeds my passion on a daily basis. I have only to listen to a worship song on the radio or hear a sermon in church or read a verse from the Bible for my passion to ignite.
Small, simple things feed my passion as well. People watching. Song lyrics. Conversations with my husband. Honing in on my emotions as I watch my son grow older. Reading. Too many things to count!
What types of stories are you passionate about writing?
Emotional stories. Stories about flawed, troubled characters who fall in love and discover God’s grace in the process. Stories that speak to the human condition and touch my readers’ hearts in a way that only fiction can.
What kinds of characters are you passionate about creating?
Flawed, wounded characters. They crop up in my stories all the time!
Katie’s Bright Spots
You’ve had two short stories published in the Christian Fiction Online Magazine, “Waiting for Sunset” in the August 2009 issue and “Goodbye Gavin” last month. How did this come about, and what was your reaction to the news that your pieces were to be published?
I hardly ever write short stories. I honestly find it more challenging to sit down and write a short story than it is to write a full-length novel. However, I saw an email from Michelle Sutton, editor of CFOM, one day on the American Christian Fiction Writers loop calling for short story submissions. That night I wrote “Waiting for Sunset.” I started typing and that’s the story that came out. I submitted it to Michelle and she got back to me that same night informing me that she really liked the story and was going to publish it.
I was super excited. Even though it’s only a short story, “Waiting for Sunset” was my very first piece of published writing. Shortly after, I wrote “Goodbye Gavin.” I plan to turn this story into the third book in the current series I’m writing. I sent it to Michelle and she was so encouraging in her email. At that point, I was more excited and uplifted by her encouraging words than knowing I was going to be published for a second time. God provided such affirmation through her email during a time when I really needed it.
What have been the greatest successes so far regarding your stories?
Placing in the very first contest I entered. My short stories getting published. Meeting my critique partner. Getting an email from a writer (who is now a very close friend) who offered to mentor me because she saw potential in my writing. Going to the ACFW conference and meeting so many wonderful writers face-to-face. The feedback I received from the Genesis judges. One judge said I had the potential to be a power-house author. That made me blush all the way down to my toes. A little encouragement can go such a long way!
Katie’s Journey Continues
You’ve completed three stories. What are you working on now?
I’m currently writing the rough draft of Wishing on Willows, which is a romance about a devoted widow who is determined to keep her struggling café afloat. Only this ridiculously handsome, charming entrepreneur comes to town with his sights set on her café. He wants to buy her out so he can build condominiums along the town’s riverfront. The story is about my heroine letting go of the familiar and embracing the new. It’s about her finding love again, and it’s about my hero realizing that he can’t earn grace, no matter how successful he is.
Five Sources of Inspiration for Katie’s Stories
~ Reading really great books (both craft books and fictional)
~ The Bible
~ Powerful song lyrics
~ Sitting in the corner of a crowded room and people-watching/eavesdropping
~ Experiencing life and the full spectrum of emotion that comes with it
Five Interesting Character Traits Katie Possesses
~ I’m the opposite of a procrastinator. I’m sort of anal about getting things done right away so I don’t have to worry about them later. I was that annoying student in college who got my papers done way before they were due.
~ People-pleaser. I don’t like when people dislike me. I care way too much about what other people think, and I loathe making people feel uncomfortable.
~ I’m a softy for any sort of animal, so long as it doesn’t have eight legs. Although once I killed a spider in my bathroom and spent the next ten minutes wondering if the spider had a family waiting at home. My husband gets angry when I swerve into oncoming traffic or slam on my breaks for a squirrel crossing the road.
~ I’m a sugar-addict. The amount of sugar I consume on a daily basis is really quite ridiculous.
~ I’m not very sentimental. I’m not big on keepsakes. I didn’t keep any sort of baby book for Brogan. Don’t most mothers do that, at least for their first child?
Katie’s Question for You
I’ve enjoyed having you as my guest, Katie. Thanks for your great answers to my questions. It’s your turn to ask a question of your visitors, so have at it.
What’s one thing you’ve learned about yourself recently?
Learn More About Katie
Visit her Web site ~ www.katieganshert.com
Visit her personal blog ~ www.katieganshert.blogspot.com
Friend her on Facebook ~ Katie Ganshert
Follow her on Twitter ~ KatieGanshert
Leave a Comment for Two Chances to Win
To leave a comment, click on “Comments” below the date in the title at the top of the post.
My Regular Drawing
My next drawing will take place November 10th. I’m giving away a copy of Amazing Grace, the DVD starring Ioan Gruffudd as William Wilberforce.
To enter the drawing, just leave a comment on any blog post by November 10th and enter your email address when prompted. (I don’t share your information or add it to any mailing lists.) On November 11th, I’ll post the winner’s name in the Welcome post at the top of the blog.
You could also win a First Sale Scrapbook
If you’d like to have a chance at winning a First Sale Scrapbook created by me, your blog hostess Keli Gwyn, leave a comment on any post between now and November 30th. Be sure to include your name and email address when prompted if you want to be entered in the drawing. (Your information will not be shared.) Click red link above to see samples of covers and pages.
On December 1st, I will choose one person who will have her/his choice of covers on an 8×8 inch, twenty-page scrapbook in which s/he can document that long-awaited first sale. The pages will cover various milestones including The Call, signing the contract, receiving the first advance payment and holding your debut novel in your hands.
(No scrapbooking skills required. You just add your photos and journaling.)