I am so delighted to welcome Karen Barnett to the blog today to chat about her new book Ever Faithful! I absolutely love this Vintage National Park series she’s been doing – the stories AND those gorgeous covers.
KAREN BARNETT, author of the Vintage National Parks Series, The Road to Paradise and Where the Fire Falls, as well as four other novels, is a former park ranger. She has worked as a ranger naturalist and outdoor educator at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, Silver Falls State Park, and Mount Rainier National Park. When not writing, Barnett enjoys photography, hiking, and public speaking. She lives in Oregon with her family. For more information, visit www.karenbarnettbooks.com.
SERIES: Vintage National Parks #3
GENRE: Inspirational Historical Fiction/Romance
RELEASE DATE: June 18, 2019
Vibrant historic Yellowstone National Park comes to life in this romantic mystery about a man hiding the truth, braving the west to become something more–and the woman who must confront his deception.
A man who can’t read will never amount to anything–or so Nate Webber believes. But he takes a chance to help his family by signing up for the new Civilian Conservation Corps, skirting the truth about certain “requirements.” Nate exchanges the harsh Brooklyn streets for the wilds of Yellowstone National Park, curious if the Eden-like wonderland can transform him as well.
Elsie Brookes was proud to grow up as a ranger’s daughter, but she longs for a future of her own. After four years serving as a maid in the park’s hotels, she still hasn’t saved enough money for her college tuition. A second job, teaching a crowd of rowdy men in the CCC camp, might be the answer, but when Elsie discovers Nate’s secret, it puts his job as camp foreman in jeopardy. Tutoring leads to friendship and romance, until a string of suspicious fires casts a dark shadow over their relationship. Can they find answers before all of their dreams go up in smoke?
Hi Karen! Welcome to the blog!
Karen: I love a nice, crunchy apple. I like the flavor of oranges, but not the texture.
Karen: Netflix. “Just one more episode!”
Carrie: haha! Binge-watch much? 😛
Karen: I’ve become addicted to audiobooks in this past year. Now that I know how to stream them on my phone, I like to have one playing when I’m working in the kitchen, getting ready in the morning, or driving alone in the car. I even listened to two of my own books on audio recently. That was a weird (but fun) experience! The narrator is excellent.
Carrie: I bet that would be a little surreal!
Karen: One of the reasons I love living in Oregon—we have both. But I’d probably choose mountains. There’s a chance that if you ask me tomorrow, I might say oceans. I’m notoriously indecisive.
Carrie: LOL! Duly noted. If I could have both, I would. But the mountains are always my happy place.
Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Karen: I want to be a time-stretcher. Is that a thing? That should totally be a thing.
Carrie: If it’s not it should be. Totally.
Q: Which books are “on your nightstand” ?
Karen: Amanda Dykes’ Whose Waves These Are and Susie Finkbeiner’s All Manner of Things. I’m very excited about both books.
Carrie: YES! I have read Amanda’s book – it is amazing. Looking forward to reading Susie’s soon too.
Q: Writing spaces are as diverse as authors and books. Where is your favorite space to write?
Karen: When the weather cooperates, I love to write at the old picnic table in our backyard. The table is falling apart and my husband has offered to replace it several times, but I love every single weather-beaten board.
Carrie: i love that! lots of stories there at that table, i bet 🙂
Q: Which character in Ever Faithful was the most difficult to write?
Karen: Ranger Teddy Vaughn, a side character, proved to be the most challenging. In the first two books in this collection, the park rangers had been heroic characters. Since the romantic lead in Ever Faithful (Nate Webber) doesn’t work for the park service, I realized this was my opportunity to create a ranger who was a little less of a knight-in-a-shining-Stetson. Unfortunately, Teddy refused to cooperate with my plan. As a rival for my hero, he needed to walk the line between appealing and undesirable. Thanks to my team of editors (particularly Shannon and Lissa) we managed to get him figured out.
Carrie: Uncooperative Teddy needed to get with the program, haha!
Q: Were there any songs that inspired you as you wrote Ever Faithful?
Karen: There’s a song by Rich Mullins I’ve always loved called “Sometimes By Step.” At one point he sings about the night sky and describes how sometimes it seems far away, but at other times it “stoops so close” you can almost touch it. That precious picture of stars drawing close to us has stuck with me for years. This imagery inspired a scene in which Nate—a young man from Brooklyn, New York—experiences his first nighttime sky in Yellowstone.
Carrie: That’s one of my favorite Mullins’ songs – such a beautiful word picture there.
Q: What is something God taught you while you wrote this book?
Karen: One idea that kept bubbling up as I wrote Elsie and Nate’s romance in Ever Faithful is how one key to healthy and lasting relationships is putting each other’s needs before our own. I have to admit, my husband is far better at this than I am. Now that our youngest is turning seventeen, I’m dropping as much motherly wisdom on her as I can before she leaves the nest. I’m pretty sure I had her in mind as I counseled my heroine to seek this trait in her hero. Make sure that the person you give your heart to is not just the man of your dreams, but is someone who believes and encourages you in your dreams.
Carrie: Amen. So true.
Q: What is one of your favorite quotes from Ever Faithful & why do you love it?
Karen: I have many, so it’s hard to choose one! My mom had commented on how often mothers are portrayed as absent or cruel in novels, so I made a conscious choice to have Elsie’s mother be a positive character (like my own mom). There’s a touching mother/daughter conversation early in the story that I love. (Just so you know, “Wonderland” is a common nickname for Yellowstone.)
“‘You’re just like Wonderland, Elsie. Beautiful on the outside, a mystery within.’
A laugh bubbled up from Elsie’s chest. ‘Are you saying I’m a volcano waiting to erupt?’
‘I’m saying’—she leaned forward and touched Elsie’s cheek—‘you are filled with wonders yet to be discovered.’”
Carrie: That’s beautiful – I love it
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.
Karen: I took some time off this winter and spring and am now jumping back into writing full time. I have several projects underway, but none of them are quite ready to be unveiled yet. I’ll let you know as soon as I can!
Carrie: YAY! Can’t wait!
WaterBrook is offering a print copy of Ever Faithful 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 interests you most about this book? Have you ever been to Yellowstone?