Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Karen Jurgens

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.

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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.

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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.

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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?


picmonkey-photoLiving 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.

Connect with Karen:

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Amazon author page
A Perfect Fit Link

Anna Lucia, Book 2 Casa Bella Chronicles

Life hasn’t been kind to Lucinda Stewart. Unforgettable heartache, loss, and unspeakable violence mark her heart and her face. Twenty years have passed and she’s yet to put the fractured pieces together. Now a spinster without hope, Lucinda resigns herself to live a quiet life with her brother. For who would dare love a physically and emotionally scarred woman?

But when she and her brother travel to Italy, Lucinda’s life is hurled back in time. When they arrive at Casa Bella, she’s introduced to Vincenzo Castello. Something about the dark Sicilian haunts her. Memories dance inside the shadows of her mind, but never close enough to the light for her to remember. Is he a friend or a long lost enemy returned to finish her nightmare? Why should she trust him, a complete stranger?

Liz Galvano Book Meme

Vincenzo Castello is a God-fearing man haunted by the past. If he could go back… When Lucinda Stewart waltzes back into his life without a memory of that night, Vincenzo’s doesn’t know what to do.  Does he tell her the truth inside his heart and fill in the gaps of her memory? Will that truth set her free or tighten the chains that now hold her? Can he convince her to trust him and his God? Can he and the Castello family protect her from the one man threatening to take her life?

Liz Galvano transports her readers to faraway places through the lives of unforgettable characters. In her latest novel, Anna Lucia, Book 2 in the Casa Bella Chronicles, she shares her love of family, food, horses, and fencing. Yes, fencing! And she wraps it all up with God’s amazing gift of love and compassion for the hurting.

I give Anna Lucia five hearts because it is the story of two people overcoming the obstacles in this journey we call life. They have seen heartache, and still, they choose to trust a faithful God whose love never fails. The characters love hard and fight harder. Galvano doesn’t sugarcoat the war we must wage to become overcomers. It isn’t a short or easy read. But it is worth the time, belly laughs, and tears.

Happy reading!

What makes a good book for you?

I was given a copy of this book by the author and was under no obligation to publish a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Vikki Kestell

Good morning, friends! Glad you’ve joined us for another edition of Women of Faith and Fiction. This morning we welcome Vikki Kestell.

Vikki’s latest series is a sci-fi/fantasy thriller! So without further ado, please give her a warm welcome.

Thank you for joining us here at CHW, Vikki!  Please tell us a little about yourself.

Thank you for having me today! Well, I wrote my first book in 1988 during a very difficult period in my life. Nothing came of that book, but I have a stack of lovely rejection letters in my files. Then, in 1991, I left my husband of twenty years and moved from Montana to New Mexico to be close to family.

I had to figure out how to support my three children, so I went to work, but I also went back to school. Over the next twelve years, I worked and earned a B.A. in English, professional writing, an M.A. in communication, then a Ph.D. In 2012, almost 25 years later, I published that first book, “A Rose Blooms Twice,” on Kindle. Since then, I’ve added seven books to the series and have written two other series. Isn’t God’s timing amazing? After all that education, I’m now back to doing what I started in 1988: writing full time.

I agree, Vikki. God’s timing is amazing! This month’s theme is Kindness. Please share your thoughts with our readers.

Hmm. I’ve come to think that kindness is more an approach to life than merely an attribute. How we make decisions on a daily (even momentary basis) can include or exclude the needs and feelings of others. Kindness is an ongoing awareness of others and their needs. Kindness is related to humility: I am not better (or less) than anyone else, and my needs are not more important than the needs of others. Following the leading of the Holy Spirit is essential to living a kind life.

Can you imagine what the world would be like if we all followed that line of thought? Now, Vikki, life is a continual journey of learning, applying, and transforming. Have you ever experienced a season when you found it difficult to have kindness toward another? How did you overcome?

Since I am naturally more task-oriented than people-oriented, I can tell you that kindness is hard for me. Being aware of and sensitive to the feelings of others is a battle I’ve fought for decades. But God is good! Spending more time with Jesus—finding and abiding in his heart and his word—is what has changed me.

My life verse is found in 1 Peter 5:6: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” It has taught me that humility is the hallmark of a follower of Jesus, that only when my desires are submitted to him will I be lifted up.

For the record, I think you’re a nice person! 🙂 In what genre do you write and how does your faith influence your writing?

I love a good story, regardless of genre. In the same way that I’m not a one-genre reader, I’m not a one-genre writer. In fact, you could say I’m all over the map!

I have an eight-book historical series (A Prairie Heritage), a follow-on historical series (Girls from the Mountain), a three-book sci-fi/fantasy thriller (Nanostealth), a short story called “The Christian and the Vampire,” and six Bible studies on Christian maturity. See? LOL. I told you I was all over the map!

What will you find in my series, A Prairie Heritage? You will find dauntless, faith-filled immigrants forging new lives on America’s unforgiving plains—and their children challenging the savagery of human trafficking in Denver, circa 1910. Once you arrive at Joy on This Mountain, Book 3 in the series, I promise you will be hooked. I seek to write good, meaty, reads of about 110k words or more. For your readers who are interested in exploring this series, Book 1, A Rose Blooms Twice is free on four major eBook retailers, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Kobo.

My publishing house is “Faith-Filled Fiction.” What all my novels have in common is that they are redemptive in nature—not merely “clean” fiction or “romance” with a little church or Jesus thrown in. My books focus on the realities of life and how Jesus comes into those realities and transforms my characters. Everything about Jesus brings the dead to life—and that’s what I seek to portray in my writing.

“Everything about Jesus brings the dead to life.” I like that statement! Vikki, thank you for sharing your heart and your writing with us.

Click to Tweet: “Everything about Jesus brings the dead to life.” ~ Vikki Kestell

Want to know more about Vikki? Visit:

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