Sunday, October 26, 2014

Author interview: Katie Ganshert

I am delighted to introduce you to one of my favorite writers and friends, Katie Ganshert! 

My first introduction to this talented author was when I read her debut novel Wildflowers from Winter and subscribed to her website which resulted in receiving a welcome package from Katie in the mail. I don't remember everything that was in the package but I do remember thinking how sweet it was of an author to give a note and token of appreciation to their new readers! 

Katie and I connected on her social media, bonded over our similar backgrounds (we were both teachers who wanted to pursue writing full-time) and I've been a fan of Katie's beautifully written creative fiction ever since!

So without delay today, I'd like to start my introduction of Katie Ganshert to you through a mention of her first novella released this year, An October Bride. 

An October Bride book summary: 

What if the only way you could make your father’s last wish come true . . . was to marry the man of your dreams?

Emma Tate has just moved on from one fianc√©, so when she announces a sudden engagement to her lifelong buddy Jake Sawyer, every busybody in Mayfair goes into high alert. Of course, no one but Jake and Emma know the real reason they’re getting married—so Emma’s dying father will have a chance to walk her down the aisle.
But while Jake and Emma move forward with their plan—and frantically plan an October wedding—it becomes clear that their agreement has a few complications . . . the biggest being their true feelings for each other.

With dubious friends, deliriously thrilled parents, and a town that won’t keep its nose out of their business, Emma and Jake will have a lot to contend with if they’re going to pull this off. The real question is: Who wants this wedding more, Emma’s dad . . . or Emma?

Curious to know more about the woman who wrote such a captivating novella? Read on for my author interview with Katie Ganshert (questions by Alexis in bold, answers by Katie not in bold)...


Alexis: Why did you write An October Bride? And how were your adorable main characters Jake and Emma born?

Katie: I was asked to participate in the Year of Weddings series with Zondervan. Every story needed to feature a bride. So I did some brainstorming, trying to think of something a little unique. I came up with the idea of a bucket list. What if a young woman found her dying father’s bucket list, and walking her down the aisle was on there? From there, Emma and Jake were born.

As a writer who or what inspires you?

All kinds of things. Music. Evening drives on back roads while listening to music. The Bible. Sermons at church. Great stories. People watching. Inspiration is everywhere.

Give my readers a glimpse of your personal life: What is your favorite color/food/music/movie/season? Are you married? Do you have kids? 

Yes, I’m married. My husband and I celebrated our ten year anniversary back in June. We have two children—Brogan, who is about to turn six, and Salima, who is two and a half. She’s not home with us yet though. We adopted her from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and are waiting for the day we get to bring her home. Fall is my favorite season and I have too many favorite foods, movies, and colors to name just one.

Describe your writing space. What makes it special?

It’s a small room in our house with a book shelf for all my books and a desk for my laptop and printer. There’s nothing too special about it, other than the fact that it’s the place I do my creating.

What is your favorite holiday? Why?

Christmas, because of what we’re celebrating. This amazing, all-powerful Creator who comes down to us as a tiny baby to be our rescue. It takes my breath away just thinking about it.

Do you have a holiday novel or novella in the works? If so, would you please give my readers a glimpse of the story?

My next novel, The Art of Losing Yourself, releases in April. I’m finishing up line edits on it. It’s about two hurting half-sisters who come together to breathe life back into a rundown motel. It’s inspired by the passage about the valley of dry bones in Ezekiel 37.

Why do you write? What motivates you?

I write because it’s a gift God’s given me and I want to use it for His glory. I love creating characters and stories. I love words. And it helps me process. My readers motivate me. Getting a kind message from them about how my books encouraged or inspired them always motivates me to keep going.

How do you overcome writer’s block?

I usually push through it, mainly because I have to. Deadlines don’t care too much about writer’s block. So I go on a walk, or I brainstorm with a writer friend, and I keep putting words on the page, even when I don’t feel like it.

Who is your favorite author? Why?

I don’t think I could ever pick one! There are too many I enjoy! Francine Rivers, Becky Wade and Beth
 Vogt are just a few of the many I love.

What are your hopes and dreams for your writing career in the next 5 to 10 years?

Hmmm…I guess my hopes and dreams are that the Lord would continue giving me stories and an avenue to share them with readers. I hope that my readership continues to grow, too!

How does your faith in God influence your fictional stories?
My faith in God is everything, so every story I write is influenced by my faith. Some stories more overtly than others.

Why do you specialize in “writing faith and romance” as it says on your website?

For now, the stories I’ve written are all inspirational fiction, meaning faith plays an integral role in the story line. These are the stories God’s given me to write. My goal is to be faithful to Him, in whatever I do.

Can you see yourself in any of your characters from your books? Why or why not? Please share which character(s) you relate to the most.

I suppose there’s a bit of me in every character I write. I probably can relate the most to Robin Price, from Wishing on Willows and Marilyn, from A Broken Kind of Beautiful. Both women have experienced infertility (a journey my husband and I have traveled through) and the trials these women face draw them closer to the Lord. Some people get angry or bitter at God when they face difficulties. I’m a lot like Robin and Marilyn in that I don’t get angry at Him. I just lean into Him further. I’ve seen too much of His faithfulness to question it, and I know our circumstances do not dictate His goodness.

Your agent is Rachelle Gardner who many writers consider their “dream agent”. Tell us how you managed to get her as your own agent and share advice for writers who do not yet have an agent.

I went to a writing conference and had an appointment with her. I came with a polished manuscript and had practiced my pitch. It also helped that one of her clients put in a good word for me. After our appointment, she asked me to send her the full manuscript. I did, and two months later she called to offer representation.

My biggest advice is to learn as much as you can about the craft of writing, and once you have a good, solid story that has received really positive feedback from objective beta readers (people other than family and friends), save the money to go to a writers conference where you can meet with agents face-to-face. Querying can work, but it’s a very very very hard route to take.

Who is your book publisher? How has your experience been with them so far?

Waterbrook Multnomah, a Christian imprint of Random House. They’ve been absolutely wonderful.

What would you say is the most challenging and most rewarding part of the writing/publishing process?

The most challenging is writing even when life is stressful and the inspiration isn’t there. The most rewarding is hearing from readers!

Is your life today what you hoped it would be when you first knew you wanted to be a writer for a career? Please explain.

In some ways, yes. In some ways, no. Being a published author, while amazing, is so much hard work. There’s no getting around it. And just because you’re published doesn’t mean the insecurity goes away. In fact, I’d say a whole new set of insecurities crops up.

Complete this sentence: As a writer, I always ____________________ because __________________.

As a writer, I always back up my work, because technology can be a fickle thing. ;-)

Alexis: Thanks for the interview Katie! Is there a question you’d like my readers to answer for you? If so, please write it here.

Katie: What makes you pick up a book?

Exciting news: Katie has agreed to giveaway a FREE copy of one of her books to one person who answers her question above ("What makes you pick up a book?") and wins the random drawing done by me (Alexis)! The book giveaway contest starts today (Sunday, Oct. 26) and will end on Sunday, Nov. 9.  The best part about this contest is that the winner gets to choose which of Katie's novels they want to read! Here's the official list of Katie's books,

Alexis will announce the winner on Monday, Nov. 10. Every person who comments on this author interview blog post needs to include their e-mail address at the end of their comment so that if they win, they can be contacted with the exciting news and give the information necessary for Katie's publisher to send their free book in the mail. Please note the only book not included in this giveaway is Katie's novella, An October Bride.

Author Bio: 

Christy Award finalist and Carol Award winner, Katie Ganshert, graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Madison with a degree in education, and worked as a fifth grade teacher for several years before staying home to write full-time. She was born and raised in the Midwest, where she lives with her husband, their young son, and their goofy black lab, Bubba. When she’s not busy writing or playing or reading or snuggling, she is obsessing over the paperwork and the waiting that comes with adoption. You can learn more about Katie and her books by visiting her website or author Facebook page.


  1. What a good interview. :) I really enjoyed it. Things that make me pick up a book are 1. The book cover, 2. The book blurb, or 3. If I liked the author's other books.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    1. Those are the same things that make me want to pick up a book, Anna!

  2. And here's my email address that I forgot earlier. :)


  3. I usually choose a book by the picture on the cover and the blurb on the back of the book

    Tonja tissakay at aol dot com

  4. Depends, sometimes the cover draws my attention, then I read the back. If it's one of my favorite go to authors, I automatically pick up the book. Sometimes comments or reviews done on Facebook or online peak my interest in new never read by me authors! tumcsec(at)gmail(dot)com

  5. I will pick up a book if the illustration/photo on the front cover intrigues me.
    Great interview, Alexis.

    1. Thanks Kirsten! Happy you enjoyed the interview! :) Would you please comment again, this time with your e-mail address so we can contact you if you win?

  6. Thanks for a great interview. I have to say that the most common thing that gets me to pick up a book is a great cover! kosterbind (at) gmail (dot) com

  7. When I pick up a book, I will read the back of the book. I also read reviews online. meaganlwilliford(at)gmail(dot)com

  8. As a writer, I always back up my work, because technology can be a fickle thing. ;-) sooooooo true!!!
    what makes me pick up a book??? what day? what time of day? what mood am I in??? as an author now, I do like to get my hands on stories by those I am & have some interaction with - discovering new fav's all the time.

  9. If the back cover sounds interesting and the author ! Shelia Hall.

  10. I'm weak on my anatomy and physiology, but I think it has to do with contraction of muscles and tendons in my hands and arms. Seriously, though: title or author. Staying picked up depends on content.

  11. I have my favorite authors that I can't wait to read their latest books, but as far a reading new authors I check out reviews and if the subject matter is something I am interested in will make me want to pick it up.

  12. What makes me pick up a book is first the cover. If it looks interesting or intriguing I will pick it up to read the back and find out if the story would interest me. If the author is one I love ( like Katie Ganshert), I will pick it up before looking at the cover.

    1. CONGRATULATIONS Kimberly Tuten, YOU WON the book giveaway! :) Katie and I will be in touch via e-mail very soon so you can claim your prize.

  13. The first thing to make me pick a book is the author, the next is the excerpt on the back (or more likely on Amazon), and many times the book cover sells me on it!

  14. Great interview. I enjoy her books. I usually pick up a book because of the cover, author and book descritption.

  15. Great interview and I'm already looking forward to your novel based on Ezek. 37 & 2 sisters resurrecting a weary motel--great stuff.

  16. Awesome interview Alexis, you never disappoint. For me picking up a good book consists of knowing information about that author, category and topic. I am mostly inclined to reading books about history and Christian books. When I pick up a book I want to either become culturally educated, more generally educated or completely polished. I am not saying I can get that in one book sitting but a book can either help for the better or help to destroy. I care for what I put in my mind, in my heart and in my ears so I can hope that what comes out of my mouth is good. I am not perfect but perfection is what I strive for. I like books that can help a person grow in the right direction. My method for picking up a good book is not the cover. I tend to focus on the category, then look at the title n lastly learn a bit about the author.. If these 3 get my attention then I read the back cover for more about the book am holding and I honestly read prefaces and dedications. Then am off to purchase the book. I hardly ever want to part with a book I just read. Katie Good luck with getting your daughter home soon. Children are truly a Precious and perfect blessing sent from God.

  17. Great interview Katie! I usually pick up a book because it's written by an author that I love. The cover has to catch my eye. And then the excerpt on the back. But I also love to read the author's bio that is on the book. I am looking forward to reading October Bride.

  18. I have to admit that the cover really influences my decision about reading a book. At the same time, the description can sometimes grab me when the cover doesn't- this is when Goodreads and Christian Book Distributors come in handy. :)

  19. I pick up books that have a quirky title or plot summary. I like books that make me say "whaaaat?"

  20. Hi Alexis and Katie!
    Great interview! The question "what makes you pick up a book?" has multiple answers for me. A lot of the time, I'm a huge fan of the author. Or if I'm at a library or bookstore, then the covers play into it A LOT. It has to catch my attention and make me wonder what it's about. Descriptions also play into it a great deal - a great blurb can make me want to start reading it right away. Word of mouth - if I hear my friends talking about it, then I'm more likely to check into it. Blogs - I follow several and if they talk about a book or interview the author, then I'm more inclined to look into it, rather than if I just see it online or on a book shelf. So, pretty much everything. LOL It may have been easier for you to ask what doesn't make me pick up a book!
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  21. I have so many books in my TBR stack I haven't looked for anything new recently. And if I did it would be a very favorite author... Any new authors I have checked out recently I have learned about on blogs like this!


  22. I have lots of books to read... but the one main reason I pick up a book is cause it always appeals to me, it is by a favorite author, and finally the cover could grab my attention. these are the reasons why I pick up a book.

  23. If I know the author, that is the #1 influence in picking up a book. If I don't know the author, the cover art has a lot to do with whether or not I'm interested. However, I know from books I have read that cover art is not always a good indication :-)

  24. I love reading your interview answers!
    I know we aren't supposed to judge a book by it's cover, but that is what makes me pick a book up (unless it's a favorite author) I've even judged by the spine! Gasp! Depending on how the book is displayed. So of course that entails the title and the font :) But obviously the blurb is what makes me decide whether to keep the book in my hands or put out back down.

  25. What makes me pick a book? 1) if I know the author already, 2) The book cover and 3) the blurb on the back.


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