Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Seekerville Welcomes Guestblogger Karen O'Connor
Hello Seekerville! Cheryl here. I'm pleased to host fellow Bookie and fantabulous author, Karen O’Connor, to Seekerville. She has a new non-fiction release called The Upside of Downsizing. She's giving away a copy to one lucky commenter today, so please make her feel welcome.
Karen is an award-winning author of 60+ books for children and adults, including the best-selling series from Harvest House: Gettin' Old Ain't For Wimps, a popular speaker at conferences and conventions, and a former elementary school teacher. She has appeared on major television talk shows such as the 700 Club, 100 Huntley Street (in Canada) and Faith At Work. She is also a respected writing mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. The San Diego Christian Writers Guild named Karen Writer of the Year for 1997. In 2002 she received the Special Recognition Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference for writing and mentoring and in 2004 Karen was honored with The International Reading Association Award for her article on Kurdish refugees that appeared in Highlights for Children magazine. Karen is married to Charles Flowers. They have five children and fourteen grandchildren.
Wow! Busy, wonderful life and lots of great writing credits. I was a student at CWG and it's a fabulous program, largely in part to wonderful teaching mentors such as Karen. So, without further ado, here's an exclusive interview with Karen. Feel free to ask your own questions in the comment section as well. Karen, welcome!
1. Tell us about your new release and how the idea came about?
My new book is titled The Upside of Downsizing: 50 Ways to Create a Cozy
Life. The idea came to me when my husband and I moved from our home in San Diego, California to Watsonville, a farming community along the Central Coast of California so we could be closer to and more involved with some of our grandchildren and their family. Our new digs are about the same size as our previous condo but we ‘downsized’ in terms of what we brought with us, and the more relaxed life-style we’ve chosen. We ‘feel’ retired even though I’m still writing and teaching. We have simplified in almost every way possible and we love it! So I wanted to share with others in a small
book of essays, what we learned and discovered. I hope my writing will bring some help, hope, and humor to what can be a stressful situation.
2. It sounds like an adventure for sure! Tell us about your favorite research endeavor?
Whenever I have to do a bit of research—or a lot—I turn to the Internet first
and then to people I meet there OR to friends and acquaintances that have
expertise or experience in the area I’m writing about.
3. Great advice! Speaking of, what other advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Be willing to do whatever it takes to reach your goal. I’ve taught writing classes over many years and I’ve noticed that most aspiring writers like the idea of having published a book or article or column, but when it comes to putting their backside on the chair in front of the computer and persevering through the tough times, that number decreases by quite a bit. Writing is hard work. Writing for the professional market is more difficult still. You have to want it so much that you will put in the time and commitment by reading, attending writers’ conferences, joining a critique group, having your work evaluated by others, and so on. I find it the most satisfying way to live my life and I’ve never regretted even one hour of the time I’ve invested.
4. Oh my Gosh. I can't think of anyone who said it better. GREAT ADVICE, Karen. Thank you for the honesty. You have a strong work ethic. Can you give us a run down of what "a writing day in the life of Karen O'Connor" is like?
I get up early—depending on what’s on the calendar, eat breakfast with my
husband and read my devotions and the Wall Street Journal. Then I go to my
home office and look at what’s on the agenda for that day, usually writing,
e-mail, phone calls, editing, student lessons, etc., in no set order. I break
for lunch and a walk (if I haven’t already gone to the gym) and then work
another few hours (unless I’m hauling grandkids here and there) and quit
before dinner. I used to write at night too, but now that I’m a ‘senior’ I can’t
keep such long hours.
5. LOL! You are young at heart though and could probably run laps around me. What other interests do you have besides writing?
I’m part of a senior hiking club and a knitting group and Life Long Learners
in Santa Cruz County. I hike once a week, knit with my friends once a week,
and attend outings with LLL once a month or more. My husband and I also
enjoy the symphony, the theater, movies and anything pertaining to our
6. Fabulous! Which book has been the most personal to you and why?
Two titles: S andqueeze the Moment: Making the Most of Life’s Gifts and Challenges The Beauty of Aging: Growing Old with Grace, Gratitude, and Grit (both published by Regal Books). I’m passionate about living an examined life and one that is filled with faith, joy, peace, and love. Both of these books reveal this part of me and I hope inspire readers to consider such a life for themselves.
7. I know they will. I'm so thankful you are using your talents to encourage and mentor others. Bless you! I LOVE your books. What can we expect to see from you in the future and how can readers connect with you on the Web?
My upcoming book is titled Grandkids Say the Cutest Things to be
published by Harvest House later this year. I’m also dipping my fingers into
fiction romance writing, but I don’t have anything published yet. To connect
with me on the web please visit my web site: www.karenoconnor.com
Awesome, Karen! Can't wait for that new non-fiction release and I wish you the best in your fiction endeavors. Everyone, remember to leave a comment for Karen to be entered into the drawing for a chance to win a copy of her latest book, The Upside to Downsizing.
Another upside to today is there's no downsizing in the food section of Seekerville. We have a lavish breakfast burrito buffet so feel free to grab some of Helen's coffee and fill your plate and your burrito with any goodies you like! We have virtual ham, sausage, onions, bell peppers, red peppers, mushrooms and of course all kinds of cheese and more! Enjoy!