Friday, 13 April 2012

Getting to know Debutante Katie Ganshert

It is my delight and privilege to introduce you to Katie Ganshert, one of four 
delightful debutantes whose books are officially releasing this May.  

Look for a series of upcoming interviews, character spotlights, giveaways and 
reviews on my blog highlighting Katie, Dani Pettrey, Olivia Newport and Beth Vogt 
along with some spectacular news regarding the....

Debutantes' Story Soiree - coming May 15th. 

Four books. Four authors. One EPIC event! Stay tuned for more info!!

Please share a little about yourself

I’ve been a Christian for eleven years, a wife for almost eight, and a mommy for three and a half. I fell in love with writing in third grade when my teacher read my story about Mr. and Mrs. Leaf out loud to the class. But I didn’t write my first novel until I travelled to Nairobi, Kenya seven year ago. I was born and raised in the Midwest, met my hubby in Madison, Wisconsin, taught 5th grade for four years, and am very passionate about chocolate and adoption. In fact, at this very moment, my husband and I are in the process of adopting a son or daughter from the Congo.

What appeals to you most about writing fiction?

There is something so powerful about story. Jesus got that. He used parables all the time. Stories are able transport readers to different worlds and as we watch the characters transform into better versions of themselves, as we see redemption at work in their lives, it gives us hope. That maybe redemption can do a work in ours too. This is what appeals to me most about writing fiction—the absolute power of story.

How did you celebrate when news of your contract broke?

I found out in the middle of the work day, while I was surrounded by a room full of 5th graders. I can’t tell you how badly I wanted to pull a Tom Cruise and jump around like a maniac on the bean bags. Somehow I held it together. At the time, I worked with two of my best friends. So as soon as the kids left, I hurried over to tell them the news. We jumped and screamed and hugged and cried together. It was a moment I will never forget. That night, my husband took me out to eat and treated me to my favourite – fried pickles! Isn’t he sweet?

Rel: I admit the fried pickles scare me!  Aussies aren't big pickle eaters as a rule but deep fried?!  Shudder! We do have the Chiko roll, though ;-D

Name five things you can’t live without

Fried pickles. Ha! Okay, seriously. God, my family, my laptop, dark chocolate, and Tweetdeck. Okay, maybe not Tweetdeck. But I’m completely serious about the dark chocolate.

Favourite book ~ Favourite movie ~ Favourite TV show

Is it cheating if I pick a book trilogy? Because my favourite is Mark of the Lion by Francine Rivers, which is actually a trilogy. The way Marcus loved Hadassah made me swoon. My favorite movie would probably be Pride and Prejudice. I can’t decide between the Colin Firth or the Keira Knightly version. Favorite TV show is hands down, Vampire Diaries. I know. That makes me sound all weird. But the writing is phenomenal! Talk about hook after hook after hook.

Rel:  One word for you, Katie...COLIN!

Where is the most interesting place you have been?

Nairobi, Kenya. I went for two and a half weeks to do HIV/AIDS outreach, then stayed a few extra days for an actual African safari. Seeing God so active in the lives of my Kenyan brothers and sisters, and then seeing God’s creation in such an amazing way made for an unforgettable experience. Plus, it’s what led me to write. Hopefully within the next year, we’ll be travelling to Africa yet again. This time to the Congo. And this time, to pick up our son or daughter.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Lots of things. A zoologist. A cartoonist. A marine biologist (thanks to Shark Week on the Discovery Channel). A lawyer. A psychologist. A photographer. An architect. But by far, the most consistent was a writer. Oddly enough, I never wanted to be a teacher, which is what I went to college for.

What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?

I don’t think of myself as a creative person. Isn’t that weird? You’d think as a writer, I’d see myself as creative. But once, I was hanging out with a friend and her husband and when he found out I was left-handed, he said, “Seems like all the creative people I know are left handed.” And I remember thinking, “I’m not creative.” I think it’s because in my head, I think of creative people as those quirky, tortured souls and I’m just your average Joe who likes to tell stories.

Another thing that might surprise people? I looked like a total boy until I grew my hair out in fifth grade. It was so bad that I’d go into the girl’s restroom and people would say, “Little boy, you’re not supposed to be in here.” For reasons I still don’t quite understand, my mother gave me a bowl cut.

Rel: Yep, I had the bowl cut too.  The difference?  In those days, I WANTED people to think I was a boy - LOL!!!

Wildflowers from Winter

What/whom inspired you to write Wildflowers from Winter

I don’t know what inspired me, exactly. But I do know the voice of this 12-year old girl came into my head while nursing my son in the wee hours of the night and I could not get her out. So I wrote the prologue and had no idea what to do with it. I just knew I had to do something. It took awhile before the prologue turned into a full-out novel.

Share a little about your main characters

Bethany is an intelligent, ambitious architect who’s worked hard to make a life much different than the one she knew as a kid. She’s also a prodigal character. She left her hometown when she was eighteen with no intention of looking back. But ten years later, tragedy brings her home and she has to face a pretty nasty demon that’s been chasing her since she was twelve.

Evan is ruggedly handsome (of course, right?), strong-willed, and a man of strong faith. For the past five years, he’s been managing the farm Bethany lived on for the first nine years of her life. He also has his own prodigal story, which helps him understand Bethany’s attitude toward God.

Describe Wildflowers from Winter in five adjectives.

Oh, that’s hard! Is it cheating if I steal words from my endorsers? So far, endorsers have called my novel: powerful, poignant, refreshingly authentic, and thought-provoking. I’m very humbled by these words. I would absolutely love it if readers felt the same way!

Rel: This reader does!

Your favourite sentence from Wildflowers from Winter

The summer I turned twelve, I tried to kill myself.

That’s the first sentence of the book. It literally wrote itself. While I was up in the wee hours of the morning nursing my son three years ago. I wrote that sentence having absolutely no clue what the rest of the novel would be.

What kind of readers do you think will enjoy your story?

People who’ve read it so far (including my editor and agent) seem to think there’s a lot of depth to my stories. So I think women who enjoy the depth that comes with most women’s fiction and the giddiness that comes with most romance would like this novel.

Rel: I have to agree with that thought, Katie :)  

My full review will be posted closer to release day but for now here's a sneak peek into my thoughts on Katie's story:

"Katie has penned a beautiful romance, one to rival Denise Hunter at her best, with an authentic spiritual journey that will bring tears of both compassion and joy to readers."

Connect with Katie

Author Website:

Relz Reviewz Extras
Visit Katie's website and blog

Buy Katie's book at Amazon or Koorong


Katie Ganshert said...

Oh, so fun to be here, Rel! You are a most gracious host! I'm so excited for everything in store!!

Brenda Stimely said...

Enjoyed the interview. It's refreshing when they are playful and real and don't sound like canned answers! The first sentence of the novel is intriguing. I love a novel that can grab your attention right out of the gate.

Melissa Tagg said...

Oh, this was such a fun interview. I'm in the same quandary, Katie, about both versions of P&P. :) And a bowl cut...seriously...that's both awesome and hilarious! And it made me think of this video with Chris Tomlin and funnymen Tripp & Tyler:

Loved Wildflowers from Winter!!

Lori Benton said...

What a great interview! I'm looking forward to Katie's debut novel. Not much longer now.

Katie! I was sometimes mistaken for a boy when I was in grade school too... after I got my hair cut in a bob around the fifth grade. Sigh.

Richard Mabry said...

Rel, thanks for letting us get to know Katie better. Since she and I have the same agent, I've been "sort of" friends with her for a while, but I never heard about her almost being tossed out of the girls' rest room.

I've had the pleasure of reading an advance copy of Wildflowers In Winter, and although I normally don't read novels of this sort, it held my attention throughout with its great story arc and wonderful, engaging prose.
Katie, nice work.

Keli Gwyn said...

What an enjoyable interview, ladies. Fresh and full of fun. Who knew so many of us had bowl cuts? Yeah, I'm part of the crowd. =)

I didn't enter the drawing because I won an ARC of Wildflowers from Winter on Katie's blog months ago and dove right in. I posted my rave review on Goodreads, and I recall using the words "engaging voice," "deliciously satisfying." and "highly recommend."

Jenny said...

A Debutantes' Story Soiree...definitely sounds intriguing...

I had a pixie cut...and didn't grow my hair past my shoulders until I was in college.

I like fried pickles...dip them in a bit of ketchup and they're as good as fries. =)

Can't wait to read Wildflowers, Katie...gotta find the Andy Griffith reference you mentioned to me on twitter. ;)

Love it when you introduce us to new authors, Rel. Thanks for sharing. =)

Dani Pettrey said...

What a great interview, Rel and Katie. It was so much fun getting to learn even more about you. The favorite line you picked is my favorite line too. Amazing how quick you pulled me in to Bethany's story. I'm thoroughly enjoying it!!!

Katie Ganshert said...

Thanks so much for all these encouraging words everyone!!

Doc Mabry was my very first endorser and his words were so incredibly affirming!

You're a wonderful host, Rel!

Rel said...

Thank YOU, Katie - love your enthusiasm and sense of fun! Obviously, bowl cuts were a favourite style for our mothers ;-)

Erynn said...

Such a fun interview. I continue to be convinced that Katie and I are destined to be BFFs.
We can hang out and watch TVD and P&P (every version!) and reminisce about school days and our plans to be marine biologists (only, for me it was owed to The Voyage of the Mimi, and I was going to use my mad gymnastics skillz to become a trainer/performer at Sea World).
Can't wait to read this.

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