The Story Behind My Blog's Title

The Story Behind My Blog's Title
Why is my blog named "My Father's Oldsmobile"? Click on the car and find out.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Author Interview: Karen Baney

Today I have the privilege of introducing author Karen Baney. Karen is the author of two Christian Historical fiction books, with more on the way. Welcome Karen!
Tell us a little about yourself?
I just recently celebrated my 11th wedding anniversary to my wonderful hubby, Jim. We met on Leap Day in 2000 and got married just a few months later. (When you know it’s right, it’s right). We have two adorable dogs, Max and Ginger.

Tell us about your writing journey. What led you to do this?
For several years I thought about writing, but never really wrote more than a few devotionals. Then in early 2010, I experienced a string of unexpected health problems. As a result of that time, I grew closer to God. I knew that he had not called me to be a mother, so I asked him what he was calling me to do. He said, “Write.” So I started with “A Dream Unfolding,” and just kept going.

Please tell us a little about your book. Is it part of a series?
“A Dream Unfolding,” is the first in my Prescott Pioneers Series. It is a great story about trusting God in difficult places. The main characters (Drew, Hannah, and Will) have to learn to adapt as their own versions of tragedy strike. Their first dream might not become reality so they must learn to accept a new dream as it unfolds.
The second book in the series, “A Heart Renewed,” follows some of the characters we meet in the first book as they learn to let God heal their deepest hurts. I am currently writing the third book, “A Life Restored,” and I have two additional books planned in the series.

What message to you hope readers will take from it?
I pray that each book I write will show my readers some aspect of God in a tangible way. I have learned so much about Him over the years and I continue to learn. I just want to share those things with my readers through believable, imperfect characters. I hope readers will be encouraged that even when they are going through tough times, God is still here and he still cares.

Where do you find inspiration for your writing, and how did the idea for this book (and series) come to you?
When I started the first book, I knew I wanted to do something set in Prescott, Arizona. I love the place and have visited numerous times over the past 14 years. It’s a charming town that has such a Midwestern feel to it—so different from the stucco and cookie cutter homes of the Phoenix area. I also knew what the climax of the book would be—I just didn’t know how to fit it all together.
In the end, the research I found about the birth of Prescott led to the idea for the first book. Readers will see it in the many historical details woven into the story. Since some of the characters in the first book end up traveling with the first territorial governor of Arizona, the story leant itself to relaying so many real historical events. The other books in the series, while still including many historical facts, do so in a more subdued way—more as a backdrop to the story.

Do you have a favorite scene from your book, and why is it your favorite? Care to share an excerpt?
Picking a favorite that doesn’t give away too much of the story is hard, because my favorite scene would totally ruin the book for you (but you’ll know it when you read it). So I chose a scene with my favorite character instead. I love the following excerpt because it shows the intense stress Will faced. As the rancher, he was responsible for getting everyone to their destination safely, but he and his men have encountered a number of obstacles.

The dust stirring from the cattle stung Will’s tired eyes. In the two days since the Indian attack, he slept not more than an hour or two. Even his exhaustion could not diminish the bright pink and orange streaks splaying across the horizon, chasing the last remnants of night from the sky. God must have known he needed the little bit of peace that always rose up from his soul when witnessing such a glorious sunrise.
Other than this brief moment, peace seemed a distant friend—the kind that never wrote. The burdensome responsibility he bore ushered the refreshing peace to the corner of his heart. His men needed him to stay strong. He had to do whatever it takes to get them and the cattle to the Arizona Territory safely.
Only things weren’t exactly going as planned. With one man buried on the side of the trail two days ride behind them, and another looking like he might soon join his friend, Will fought against the strong sense of failure pushing through his fatigue. If given the choice, he would rather have both men healthy and in the saddle. No one wanted to be attacked by Indians.
Nevertheless, they had been. And now it was his job to pick up the pieces and get everyone to the next milestone—Santa Fe—as quickly and safely as possible.
How could he do that when every tired muscle begged him to slip from his horse and sleep the day away?
Stifling a groan of frustration, Will turned his horse from the flank of the herd to camp. Maybe his mind would function better once his stomach was full.
Pulling the chestnut mare to a stop next to the other horses, he dismounted in a wobbly manner, his feet almost buckling under him. Resting his hand on the horn of his saddle, he steadied himself before unbuckling the straps. Lifting the saddle from the horse, he carried it away as Covington took over the horse’s care.
Tossing his saddle on the ground, Will fought against the temptation to lie down without breakfast. Instead, he forced his feet towards the makeshift table where Snake dished out breakfast.
As he neared the table, a flash of silver caught his eye. Owens worked quickly to stash the flask, but not before it registered in Will’s foggy brain.
Slamming his palm down on the table, Will said, through gritted teeth, “Owens! What do you think you are doing?”
Feigning innocence, Owens just shrugged.
In no mood to deal with insolent behavior, Will leaned forward into the man’s face. The smell of alcohol invaded his senses. “I will not have my men drinking on the trail!”
“Calm down, boss. I’m not on until this afternoon. How else do you expect me to fall asleep in broad daylight?” Owens said, his eyes narrowing to tiny slits.
Adrenaline shot through Will’s body, bringing him fully awake. He struggled not to hit the man as he tested Will’s resolve. Reaching his hand to Owens’ inside vest pocket, Will took the flask, opened it, and dumped the contents into the dirt. Then he handed the empty flask back to Owens.
“I expect my men to have a clear head while we’re on the trail.”
Owens’ face turned beet red. When he started to stand, Whitten clapped his hand down on his shoulder. The forthcoming response died on Owens’ tongue when Whitten shook his head in warning. At least the fool listened to his friend, Will thought, walking from the scene.
Splashing cold water over his face, Will blotted the soothing liquid away with the sleeve of his shirt. For a brief moment he closed his eyes, calming his temper before he did something stupid, like firing Owens. Replacing his Stetson on top of his head, he took the bowl of grits Snake offered. Leaning against the chuck wagon, some distance from his men, he ate slowly. Exhaustion tugged at him. Lord, I just need to make it to Santa Fe. Give me the strength to get us there.

What about characters. Do you identify with one more than the other?
Will is my favorite character in the story. He’s a single guy who lived under the shadow of an overbearing older brother. Though he was content with his life, his circumstances changed unexpectedly. He is a good leader to his men, but he has a bit of a temper problem. Even though he’s changed a lot from the man he used to be, he still struggles with being the man he wants to be.

I understand you self-publish your books. Tell us a little about that.
Well, I decided to self-publish after doing a great deal of research about both traditional publishing and self-publishing. Self-publishing appealed to me because I get to set my own schedule and I retain full control of the book. It’s tough at times to be solely responsible for the outcome of my books. I love business (have a Masters in Business Administration) and so I enjoy the business aspect of selling and marketing my books almost as much as writing them. One of the benefits of self-publishing is that I get to retain a much bigger percentage of the royalties—that’s why I can afford to sell the ebook versions for $2.99 instead of the $9.99 of most major publishing houses.

Do you have a favorite author or book that has impacted your life?
Most of the books I read are Christian Historical Fiction. But a few years ago, I started branching out into some Christian Suspense. I received Terri Blackstock’s Restoration Series for Christmas one year and I devoured those books. I loved how she took a bunch of everyday modern Americans and tossed them into a situation where they had to live for years without any modern conveniences—no power, no cars, no mass produced food. I walked away from reading those books with a new perspective on how incredibly blessed we are in this country and how we take it for granted to easily.

What do you do enjoy doing in you spare time?
Writing is what I do in my spare time. I work full-time as a Software Engineer, then I come home, kiss my hubby and pet my dogs, and lock myself in my office to write. Oh, maybe it’s not that harsh. But, I do spend a ton of time writing. I also try to carve out enough time to read at least one book for fun each week. Photography is another passion. I love going to cool museums with my hubby and my camera. Check out the photo gallery on my website for some neat historical things (coffee grinders, carriages, ranch house, and much more).

Where can readers buy your book and where can they learn more about you?
Please visit my website: to learn more about me, my books, and the history of Arizona in the 1860’s.
My books are available on Amazon (paperback & kindle), Barnes & Noble (nook), Apple iBooks, Diesel, Kobo, Sony eReader, and Smashwords. Links to purchase are included on my website.

Thank you so much for visiting Karen! Later in the week Karen will be guest blogging again about the ins and outs of self-publishing. More and more authors are considering this route and Karen has some great information, so check back.


  1. Wow, Shawna and Karen, what a great post! Karen, I love the story of your writing journey and your deciding to self publish. I always enjoy Western Historical Fiction. Your books sound inspiring and how true that God is there in the tough places.

    jude urbanski

  2. Thanks Jude! I really had so much fun writing both the first and second books in the series.

  3. Hi Karen,
    Your Pioneer series sounds wonderful! That's interesting how the town Prescott, Arizona you chose has a Midwestern feel. I live in Ohio!

    I like Terri Blackstock's books too. I haven't read the one you mentioned, though, but will have to check it out.

    Good luck to you, Karen. Hope you sell tons of books and you have the perfect background to self-publish - I think we'll see more authors choosing to have more control over their books. I've done Indie Publishing plus traditional - advantages to both!


1970 Olds 442


If you're curious about the story behind the name of my blog, click on the car. :)