I adore today’s guest – from her Pinterest Wars with Becky Wade to her heart for the marginalized to her incredibly compelling books, Katie Ganshert has quickly become one of my favorite authors and one of my favorite people.
KATIE GANSHERT is the award-winning author of Life After, several additional acclaimed novels, and multiple short stories. She lives in Iowa with her family.
Challenging perceptions of discrimination and prejudice, this emotionally resonant drama for readers of Lisa Wingate and Jodi Picoult explores three different women navigating challenges in a changing school district–and in their lives.
When an impoverished school district loses its accreditation and the affluent community of Crystal Ridge has no choice but to open their school doors, the lives of three very different women converge: Camille Gray–the wife of an executive, mother of three, long-standing PTA chairwoman and champion fundraiser–faced with a shocking discovery that threatens to tear her picture-perfect world apart at the seams. Jen Covington, the career nurse whose long, painful journey to motherhood finally resulted in adoption but she is struggling with a happily-ever-after so much harder than she anticipated. Twenty-two-year-old Anaya Jones–the first woman in her family to graduate college and a brand new teacher at Crystal Ridge’s top elementary school, unprepared for the powder-keg situation she’s stepped into.
Tensions rise within and without, culminating in an unforeseen event that impacts them all. This story explores the implicit biases impacting American society, and asks the ultimate question: What does it mean to be human? Why are we so quick to put labels on each other and categorize people as “this” or “that”, when such complexity exists in each person?
Hi Katie! Welcome to the blog! Pardon me while I fangirl squeal with excitement!
Katie: Apples. I love them with peanut butter or cheddar cheese. Oranges are too much work.
Carrie: That is so true.
Katie: Summer! I need Vitamin D. And I like bare feet.
Carrie: Is there a snow vitamin? Because I need that one …
Katie: Dogs. I’ve never had cats. My husband is allergic. And dogs are just so affectionate and straightforward.
Carrie: Dogs are just the best!
Katie: Coffee. Mostly because I love all the yummy creamers out there, and it would seem weird to put them in tea.
Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Katie: Teleportation, or as Harry Potter lovers call it … apparating. At least that’s always been my go-to response. But now that I sit here and really think on it, I wish I had the superpower to free my daughter from speech apraxia.
Carrie: Apparating would be awesome … but freeing your sweet girl from speech apraxia would be even awesomer ♥
Q: Which books are currently ‘on your nightstand’?
Katie: Courtney Walsh’s Just Look Up, and Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America by Jennifer Harvey.
Carrie: Just Look Up is SO GOOD and Jennifer Harvey’s book is on my TBR pile too!
Q: If I asked your characters to describe YOU as an author, what would they say?
Katie: They would probably say I’m moody, but I blame that entirely on them!
Q: What inspired you to share your story?
Katie: A couple years ago, I was listening to an episode on a popular podcast called This American Life. The episode was titled, ‘The Problem We All Live With’, featuring investigative reporter, Nikole Hannah-Jones, who covers race in the United States. She was sharing about a modern-day integration story, wherein a Missouri school district comprised almost entirely of low-income, black and brown students lost their accreditation, triggering a law that allowed these students to transfer to a mostly white, affluent school district nearby. The podcast included several sound bites from a town meeting held in one of the affluent district’s high schools, and the pushback from the parents was shocking. I couldn’t believe it was from 2013. It was a story that captivated me about a topic that impassions me. So when it came time to write my next novel, this was where my heart kept returning.
Carrie: I’m so glad God led you to that podcast and kept your heart there to write No One Ever Asked ♥
Q: What did you learn about yourself or others while writing this book?
Katie: This story really brought home to me the fact that no one person, myself included, is all one thing or the other. All of us are complex people with complex histories and experiences, which indelibly shape the way we look at ourselves, others, and the world around us. I also learned that racism runs deep in the fabric of our society, and if we’re ever going to honestly address that, we have to be willing to listen to perspectives and experiences that are unfamiliar and different from our own.
Q: How can readers engage in racial reconciliation in their own homes and communities? What are some good resources that can point readers in the right direction?
Katie: If you’re white, I think the most important starting place is listening to people of color. Tune into black voices. Follow people on Twitter. Watch documentaries. Listen to sermons. Read books and poetry (check out The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, or Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, or Citizen by Claudia Rankine). There is so much information out there. Join Latasha Morrison’s Be The Bridge Group on Facebook. Subscribe and listen to Pass the Mic, the official podcast for The Witness, a black Christian collective. Check out Scene on Radio’s ‘Seeing White’, a fourteen part podcast series. If you’re a parent, start talking about these issues with your children around the dinner table. Talk to your friends at church. Learn about your community’s racial history. Educate yourself about the current issues in your city and how these issues impact communities of color. Use your vote in such a way that reflects your desire for racial reconciliation. Find and support organizations in your area that are already doing the work. The Bible has so much to say about this topic. Let what it says guide you on your journey. Resist the urge to defend yourself or center yourself. Resist the urge to minimize pain or explain away another’s experience. Sit in the tension. Press through the confusion. Don’t retreat if you make a mistake. We all make mistakes. Keep on listening. Don’t succumb to white guilt. Rather, use your privilege to remove yokes of oppression, wherever and whenever you find them in your midst.
Carrie: I heard Dr. Theon Hill speak at the Art of Writing Conference last year and what he said – “We engage diversity because God has already embraced it in eternity” – has lingered with me so deeply. Such great resources and insight to help us engage diversity – thank you so much, Katie!
Q: What do you most want readers to take away from No One Ever Asked?
Katie: I don’t think there’s any one message I want readers to take away with them as much as I just want hearts to be impacted. I hope the last page of No One Ever Asked will find hearts softer than the first. I hope eyes will be opened, defensiveness will crumble, and ears more willing to listen.
Carrie: Amen ♥
Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Katie: No One Ever Asked releases April 3rd! As far as what’s after that … man. I don’t know. I have a lot of ideas. I have two different genres that call to me. I’m definitely leaning toward one at the moment, but I’m not sure I want to commit to saying which one out loud just quite yet!
Carrie: Eeeep! Now I’m intrigued!
Katie Ganshert & WaterBrook are giving away a print copy of No One Ever Asked to one of my readers! (US only) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What speaks to you the most about Katie and/or her new book?