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Interview with Katie Ganshert

Katie Ganshert has been interested in writing since grade school when she wrote a story about Mr. and Mrs. Leaf, and her teacher read it aloud to the class. But her real journey began after a trip to Kenya in 2006. Seeing the pain in the HIV/Aids victim’s faces haunted her. Her only respite when she returned was to type out her first full-length novel on her computer.

Life then became busy with completing her teaching degree, getting married, acquiring a 5th grade position, and having her child. However, still the desire to write remained. After writing a second novel and studying the writing craft through books, organizations, and conferences, Katie wrote a third novel and pitched it to her dream agent, Rachelle Gardner.

After taking on Katie as a client, Rachelle had the privilege of calling with a two book contract offer from Waterbrook Multonomah. The first book was called Wildflowers from Winter. The second is a recent release called Wishing on Willows

Katie, your website is so open and informative about so many aspects of your life and writing. Do you find it difficult to be so vulnerable? Why so open and honest with your readers and fellow writers? Is this a reflection of the calling you have to be a writer?
One of the reasons I write is to connect—with writers and readers. And the best way to do that is by being real and honest about who we are. In real life, I’m an open book. I’m not a private person by nature and I’ll be your best friend right away if you want. I strive to be just as much myself online as I am in “real life”. I also think there is freedom that comes with vulnerability. When I put myself out there and admit to a struggle or a fear or a dream, it gives others the freedom to do the same. And that is where real community is built.

Your trip to Kenya was significant in pushing you to write. What other things have contributed to your publication journey?
The three main things that come to mine are…

My parents and my Aunt Peggy, who patiently listened to all of my stories when I was a kid and, bless their hearts, seemed genuinely interested in them.

Books! I’ve always been a bookworm. Reading awesome stories makes me want to write awesome stories.

My husband. He’s amazing. Truly. To him, it was never “if” I got published, it was always when. He’s been such a monumental support to me throughout this journey.

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities?
Sticking to my schedule! It is oh-so-easy, as a writer, to either not work enough or work TOO much. Sadly, I tend toward the latter. If I don’t check myself, I can work all the time, never fully present when I’m spending time with my husband or my son, with one eye forever on the computer. And that’s just sad. Creating a work schedule and sticking to it is huge when it comes to balance.

How do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling?
My faith is the inspiration for my writing. So often, it’s a Bible verse or a worship song or a sermon at church that sparks an entire idea for a novel. My spiritual life has a huge impact on my creativity. The more time I spend in the Word, praying, and drawing near to Jesus, the more abundant my creative juices. Conversely, when I neglect those spiritual disciplines, my creativity has a way of running dry.

What do you consider the greatest moment of your writing/publishing career?
Oh man, that’s tough. There are those unforgettable highs – like when Rachelle called to offer me representation, or when I got the call at school that Waterbrook Multnomah had offered me a two book deal and when I told two other teachers (who just so happened to be two of my closest friends) after school, we all jumped around and screamed and cried and hugged. That was a moment I will never forget.

But then there are the smaller moments, no less great. Like anytime I get an email from a reader, letting me know how much a story or a blog post encouraged her in her faith. Those moments are pretty amazing if you ask me.

Who/What spurs you to write? Where do your story and character ideas come from?
So many things spur me on to write. My passion spurs me onward. Reading great books spurs me onward. Encouragement from readers spurs me onward.

My ideas come from all sorts of places. I mentioned a few above. Music is a huge inspiration. So is people-watching. It’s amazing the ideas that come about simply by observing.

What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?
I think that I’ve tapped into a bit of a mixed genre. I love the deep emotional journeys that we get with women’s fiction. But I also love the giddiness that comes with a great romance. In my stories, I aspire to do both. Give readers that deep emotional journey, but also the fun giddiness.

Any parting words?
Just that I hope readers enjoy my work! And I’d love to connect! A great place to start is on my author Facebook page or my website, which are links in my bio. 

Thanks for sharing with us, Katie Ganshert!

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