2019 Carol Award Finalists Q&A (and a Giveaway!): Karen Barnett & Where the Fire Falls

Posted September 24, 2019 by meezcarrie in 2019 Carol Awards, Author Interview, awards, Christian, giveaway, historical, Karen Barnett, romance / 50 Comments

Happy Tuesday! Continuing through Saturday (culminating with a list of winners), I have the privilege of sharing mini interviews with nearly all of the 2019 ACFW Carol Award Finalists! Today I’m covering the historical & historical romance categories, including Karen Barnett and her Carol Award nominated book Where the Fire Falls! You can check out a list of all the finalists HERE.

FYI – There will be several posts per day, and a week-long giveaway, so make sure you catch them all!

KAREN BARNETT is the author of the Vintage National Parks Series: Ever Faithful, The Road to Paradise and Where the Fire Falls, as well as four other novels. She often draws on her past working as a park ranger at Mount Rainier National Park and Oregon State Parks. When not writing, Barnett enjoys photography, hiking, and public speaking. She lives in Oregon with her family. For more information, visit www.karenbarnettbooks.com.

Vintage National Parks #2
GENRE: Inspirational Historical Romance
PUBLISHER: Waterbrook
RELEASE DATE: June 5, 2018
PAGES: 352

Stunning Yosemite National Park sets the stage for this late 1920s historical romance with mystery, adventure, heart, and a sense of the place John Muir described as “pervaded with divine light.”

Watercolorist Olivia Rutherford fashioned her image as an avant-garde artist to appeal to the region’s wealthy art-collectors. When she lands a lucrative contract painting illustrations of Yosemite National Park for a travel magazine including its nightly one-of-a-kind Firefall event, she hopes the money will lift Olivia and her sisters out of poverty.

After false accusations cost him everything, former minister Clark Johnson has found purpose as a backcountry guide in this natural cathedral of granite and trees. Now he’s faced with the choice of becoming a National Parks Ranger, but is it his true calling?

As Clark helps open Olivia’s eyes to the wonders of Yosemite, she discovers the people are as vital to the park’s story as its vistas– a revelation that may bring her charade to an end.


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Hi, my friend! Welcome back to the blog!

Q: Why do you write fiction? And, why specifically Christian fiction?

Karen: I practically grew up in my public library, and I still remember walking through all of those shelves loaded with books with a deep sense of awe in my heart. It felt like such an incredible honor to take home any book I wanted to read, and I couldn’t help thinking that someday I wanted to give back and add to those shelves.

I write Christian fiction because my faith is so deeply intertwined with how I view the world, I can’t imagine leaving that aspect of life out of my stories. It would be like trying to write with one arm tied behind my back.

Carrie: “someday I wanted to give back and add to those shelves” – oh how I love that … and I thank you ♥

Q: Other than the Bible, what are a couple of your most cherished books and why?

Karen: There are so many, but one that jumps to mind is Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard. I’ve read it several times over the years, and I adore the imagery as Much-Afraid is on her journey through the mountains with the Shepherd and the transformation she receives with every painful step of the trip.

Carrie: I’ve been told more than once that I need to read that book – I must must must prioritize it.

Q: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever Googled while researching a book?

Karen: I always tell my family not to check my search history because it can look crazy to someone who’s not inside my characters’ heads all day. Probably with this novel, it was something along the lines of “Has anyone been pushed over one of Yosemite’s waterfalls?” In my last series, I wrote about doctors in the early 1900s, so I spent a lot of time looking up diseases and treatments in that era, including horrific details about radiation burns and skin cancers. Can you imagine all the awful online ads I was shown after that?

Carrie: oh no! hahaha – the perils of being a historical fiction author 😛

Q: If I asked your characters to describe YOU as an author, what would they say?

Karen: “We don’t understand why this woman is so riddled with uncertainty. We know exactly what’s supposed to happen. She should just trust us!”

Carrie: LOL!

Q: Which of your main characters (either in Where Fire Falls or over all you’ve written) is most like you?

Karen: I would say that Margie Lane, the heroine from The Road to Paradise, is the most like me. She comes into national park work with a ton of head-knowledge, but no practical survival skills. That was exactly what I faced when I took my first job as a park ranger. I could rattle off the Latin names of various trees, but I’d never built a campfire, chopped wood, or successfully used a compass. It’s a miracle I survived.

Carrie: haha! I think it’s so cool, though, that you were a park ranger. And I’m glad you survived to tell the tale 🙂

Q: What is something God taught you while you wrote Where the Fire Falls?

Karen: Midway through writing the rough draft of Where the Fire Falls, I had my very own “dark night of the soul.” It was the middle of the night at a conference, and I remember curling up on the floor and sobbing. There was just no way I could finish this manuscript. I had nothing. I kept imagining the horror of calling my agent and telling her that I was returning the advance. When the sun came up, I walked into the dining hall and a friend grabbed me and started praying. Several others did the same. They prayed me through the rest of the writing and editing process. When I received the news that Where the Fire Falls had been chosen for the finals for the Carols, I thought “That is so like our God.” I have absolutely no claim over its success. Any acclaim it receives is thanks to the prayers of fellow writers, the talent of my editors, and because of His mighty power. Whenever I whine, “I can’t,” He replies, “But I can.”

Carrie: That’s such a powerful testimony to both the tenderness & faithfulness of God toward us & what He has called us to do. ♥

Q: What is one of your favorite quotes from Where the Fire Falls & why do you love it?

Karen: From my hero, Clark: “Scripture says faith can move mountains, but I’ve found time spent in the mountains sometimes moves us toward faith.”

I think this quote sums up my heart for all of my Vintage National Parks novels. God’s word is our authority, but I feel like creation also shows off His abundant love for us. I grow closer to Him when I take time to immerse myself in the artistry of creation.

Carrie: yes! yes! I loved this quote when I first read Where the Fire Falls & it so echoes my own heart toward the mountains & how they bring me closer to God.

I am offering one reader any TWO books (print copies) that finaled in the 2019 Carol Awards! (open internationally as long as Book Depository ships to your address) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

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What about you? What interests you most from Karen Barnett’s Q&A or the historical romance Carol Award finalist Where the Fire Falls?

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50 responses to “2019 Carol Award Finalists Q&A (and a Giveaway!): Karen Barnett & Where the Fire Falls

  1. I have read the first two books in this series and loved them. I enjoy the way Karen Barnett incorporates faith into these stories in such a natural way. I need to make time for the third one.

  2. Betty Chambers

    Your faith always comes through in your writing, but I especially appreciated your words about your faith in this interview. It is so encouraging to me to read of others’ faith. I too grow closer to Him when I immerse myself in His beautiful creation, one being the Great Smoky Mountains.

  3. Connie J Randel

    I loved this book (and the other two National Park’s books). I can’t wait for the next one to come out.

  4. Bonnid

    I don’t think this is where I should leave a comment on the interview, but I can’t find another place to write.
    I thought the interview was very interesting, especially finding out the Karen Barnett was a forest ranger. It’s good to know that her Christian faith is so strong that it must affect her writing.

  5. Delcia R.

    I loved Where the Fire Falls and Karen’s other two Vintage National Park novels. Each time I read them (several times now) I get to enjoy the parks and her wonderful characters!

  6. Winnie Thomas

    I love Karen’s books, and especially her National Park series! The covers are so delicious and the stories are, too!

  7. Perrianne Askew

    I love the fact that she’s introducing us to the national parks but with a vintage twist. I haven’t had the privledge of reading one of her novels yet but I definitely will.

  8. Perrianne Askew

    I love her quote from her main charcter about moving mountains and spending time in the mountains can move us to faith.

  9. Faith Creech

    Love to read books that occur in National Parks! Especially places I’ve been too! Thanks for the chance to win!

  10. Caryl Kane

    Hello Carrie and Karen! I’m excited to visit our National Parks through this series. These vintage covers are AMAZING!

  11. Janice Moore

    Thank you for the important reminder of when we know we cannot do something, of course God can! Even to be a finalist in the Carol Awards! I love that story and thank you for sharing it with us!

  12. Rachel Taylor

    I’ve never been to any national parks. I’m thankful for those who help to preserve them. Thanks for the reminder that God can do all things especially when I can’t.

  13. Trixi

    I love Karen’s favorite book quote: “Scripture says faith can move mountains, but I’ve found time spent in the mountains sometimes moves us toward faith.”. How true this is at times!

    Thanks for the fun author interview and giveaway chance, Carrie.

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