Welcome to Women of Faith and Fiction. Author Karen Jurgens is with us today, and she is giving away a copy of A Perfect Fit to one lucky winner. Be sure to leave a comment and your name will be placed in the drawing. Let’s get started, shall we? Karen, tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in Cincinnati, where my growing up years are my sweetest memories. As a young child, I became a devourer of books, and I promptly got hooked on The Bobbsey Twins series. Since the stories were about solving mysteries, I expanded my appetite to Nancy Drew, and later, to Agatha Christie.
Since I had no siblings my age, I occupied myself with paper and pencil, writing all kinds of stories. After reading Gone with the Wind at age ten, my love affair for writing romance began. At age eleven, my first “novel,” Love is Forever, flowed from my imagination and is still tucked among my stacks of early handwritten stories.
In high school and college, I pursued creative writing courses. But when a non-fiction piece of mine was published in a national magazine, the desire to write professionally grabbed me and has never let go. After retirement as a secondary English and French teacher, the time was right to pursue my dream.
Today I live in Texas along with my two adult daughters and my mother, who will soon celebrate her 96th birthday.
I love a good mystery too. On to the next question. Where did you get the idea for your latest WIP or your current book?
My idea for my books comes from my ministry, Touched by Him. I write Christian stories that reflect God’s Scriptures about His recipe for love and marriage. A Perfect Fit is about finding a Christian mate based on 2 Corinthians 6:14: Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? My current WIP is titled Stained Glass, which deals with infidelity in marriage. God makes a way back to original commitment through repentance, forgiveness, and rebuilding trust. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you ~ Ephesians 4:32 NKJV.
Can’t wait to read it! This next question from a reader. Where did you get the inspiration for your setting?
My setting comes from my hometown, Cincinnati. It’s modeled after real places and a mindset typical of the Midwest. The characters attend an actual college—Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Since I had visited Miami only once or twice, I delved into research about it. Although a public institution, it’s highly respected as a substitute ivy-league school for students who can’t gain acceptance into places like Harvard or Yale.
My research also led me to some surprising discoveries, such as an interesting tidbit about a ghost who supposedly haunts Peabody Hall at night. But romantically speaking, a campus landmark, Upham Arch, lent itself well to the book’s ending because of its tradition: if a couple kisses there at midnight, it means they will marry. I found that to be the perfect time and place for God to heal my protagonists’ broken relationship, and it lent a satisfying ending to their romance.
Ooh, I like the arch story. Time to have some fun. Favorite thing to do when not writing.
My other love besides writing is gourmet French cuisine, born from my undying love of France, its culture, and beautiful French language. As a teenager, I experimented from some state-of-the-art cookbooks, watched chefs on TV including Julia Child, and enrolled in French cooking classes.
I experienced only one disaster during those learning years—the time I set the oven on fire. The made-from-scratch Danish hadn’t been sitting at 375 degrees for more than five minutes before the butter melted and ran off the cookie sheet, igniting into flames. Of course, my perfectionistic mother almost never allowed me into her kitchen again. But, after the scorched oven regained its original color, she relented but forbade me from making puff pastry in the future.
Today, I only put on my chef’s apron for birthdays and holidays when I enjoy creating beautiful table settings and flower arrangements to compliment a culinary experience. One major wish twinkles yet on my bucket list—to dine at the Tour d’Argent atop the Eiffel Tower.
I’m with your mother on this one. LOL! Please share a writing quirk—a ‘must have’ or a ‘must do’ to get words down on paper.
In college, I couldn’t sit down to study at my desk until my room was tidy. Today, I’m the same with my computer. Before I can write, I must go through email, check social media, and play catch-up. Absolute silence with no interruptions is a must. The best time for me to be creative is at night when I’m the only person awake. My sleep schedule is really terrible, but that’s when inspiration drives me to work well into the wee hours.
This year’s theme is “First Things First.” Setting our priorities is a must if we are to be about our Father’s business. What advice would you offer someone struggling to spend time with Him? And, how has spending time with Him changed your life?
I have a long-established habit of tithing the beginning of my day to the Lord. I read His Word at breakfast before I look at anything else. Afterward, I always pray. When I used to drive to work, I prayed in the car—just because that was the only place I could be alone. The habit is so natural to me that I still always talk to Jesus while I’m driving.
Spending time with the Lord is my lifeline, my way of survival as I sojourn through this world. My relationship with Him brings me grace and peace in my daily life. The My ultimate desire is to write and speak His words of encouragement and comfort to those who are hurting, and to be used to bring God’s truth and hope to a lost world.
Karen, thank you for joining us today on WFF. Readers, don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win Karen’s book.
Click to Tweet: The made-from-scratch Danish hadn’t been sitting at 375 degrees for more than five minutes before the butter melted and ran off the cookie sheet, igniting into flames. #Interview with Karen Jurgens @GailJohnson87 #WomenofFaithandFiction
Formally titled Desire’s Promise – Newly revised and expanded. Carlie Livingston is steering into her last year of college in Oxford, Ohio, confident that she and Lance Holloway are headed to the altar after graduation. Those plans are wrecked, however, by her dad’s infidelity, causing her parents to walk through a messy divorce. Will she have the same fate if she marries her college sweetheart who comes from a secular family? Her mother insists she will.
She tests God’s Word by letting Him take the wheel of her life. But if God is in control, why are all her close relationships crumbling? Nothing makes sense.
Just when it appears hopeless, Clay McKinney two-steps into Carlie’s life, promising to provide everything she’s looking for in a Christian mate. But if he’s God’s answer, why can’t her heart release Lance? Where will her final destination be on this journey of trust?
Living in Texas for more than 30 years has been an adventure, but Karen still proudly claims her Cincinnati roots. She spent her career as a high school English and French teacher and will always be a lifelong learner. She loves everything French, especially creating gourmet cuisine for birthdays and holidays, and you will likely find French culture and language in whatever she writes.
She began a new ministry, Touched by Him, where she blogs monthly. Her passion is to share answers from God’s Word about life’s trials and to incorporate those answers into her fiction stories, especially written for women seeking God’s best in marriage.
Her greatest accomplishment has been raising two lovely daughters who are now grown and living out their own adventures. Along with her mother who is now 95, the four of them enjoy fun times together shopping, dining out, and traveling.
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