Friday, March 20, 2009

I'm Thrilled to Bring You Kim Vogel Sawyer!

Kim Vogel Sawyer is the bestselling, award-winning author of 12 novels including Waiting for Summer’s Return, which was endorsed by Janette Oke. Her compelling stories always provide not only entertainment, but also life-lessons her readers can use on their Christian walk. One of Christian fiction’s newest writers, she is active in her church where she teaches adult Sunday school and participates in both voice and bell choirs. She relishes time with her family, which includes husband Don, three adult daughters, and six darling grandchildren.

SDC: I'm so glad to be able to welcome you here, Kim. Over the last few years you have become both a well-known and talented writer and I've enjoyed reading your work. Before you tell us about your newest release, please fill us in on what got you started writing from the beginning.

Kim: If I’m to start at the beginning, I almost have to go to my birth. :o)


I do believe the desire to write was planted in me from the moments of conception—I have always been a story-teller, even before I was old enough to hold a pencil. As a kindergartner, I told my teacher that someday people would check out my books from libraries. I began actively seeking publication in the early 1990’s and came very close to a contract, but when it fell apart, I kind of fell apart and quit submitting. The disappointment of rejection was too much. Eight years later, my dad began prompting me again to seek publication. I was still reluctant, so he and my mom funded a self-publishing venture. The reader feedback from that that book gave me the courage to begin submitting to traditional publishers, and in 2005 the door swung wide. My first book released in June of 2006, and A Promise for Spring, my 12th novel, released in January of this year. It has been quite a whirlwind.

SDC: That is a whirlwind! Tell us about your publishers.

Kim: I’ve had the privilege of working with some wonderful companies and editors. All of my historical novels are published with Bethany House, one of the most respected names in the business for historicals. Publishing under the same imprint as Janette Oke is quite a privilege! My contemporary, Mennonite-themed adult novels were published by Barbour, and I truly enjoyed my relationship with that company. In early 2010, a series of young adult, Mennonite-themed novels will release from Zondervan. I can honestly say I have had a positive experience in all directions. I’m very fortunate.

SDC: I understand your theme is mainly to edify God’s children with what you call evidence of hope. That’s great. What kind of response to you receive from readers who have not yet come to know the Lord, or who have been influenced greatly by one of your books?

Kim: Just recently I received this message from a reader:


“After reading Bygones, it made me think back to when I became a Christian and realized I have side stepped from my Christian Faith, I got to my knees and prayed for forgiveness. I want to thank you so much for the beautiful writing style you have and the way our Lord comes out in your writing.”


That message brought tears to my eyes. There is power in story. There is the opportunity to minister through story. When readers tell me how something in one of my stories either opened them up to God in a new way or strengthened their relationship with Him, then I know the Holy Spirit is at work, using my humble offerings for good. There is no greater return than these kinds of messages from readers.

SDC: That's what it's all about, isn't it. How do you make faith, love, and hope work together in your stories?

Kim: I wish I could give a difinitive answer to that question, but all I can say is when God is the main character in your life, then He naturally “shows up” in all aspects of your life, which includes my story-writing. I cannot write a story without a faith thread. We are three-dimensional people—body, spirit, and soul—and my stories must include God or they are lacking soul.

SDC: You spoke about your publishers earlier, Kim. Who was your very first and how did you come about this company? How long ago was it?

Kim: I signed with both the Heartsong Presents line of Barbour and Bethany House in March of 2005. The contract offers came (on two different books, obviously!) in the same one-week period, so both Barbour and Bethany House were my first traditional publishers. Prior to that, however—in 2002—I self-published a novel through American Christian Writers Press (ACW Press), which at that time was owned by Steve Laube, a former acquisitions editor from Bethany House and now a literary agent. I credit Steve with building in me the confidence to pursue traditional publishing.

SDC: What’s your favorite Bible verse or verse that has sustained you recently and why?

Kim: I try to adopt a “focus verse” at the beginning of every year in lieu of making New Year’s Resolutions, and the verse for 2009 is Isaiah 26:4—“Trust ye in the Lord forever; for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.”


2009 has started out a bit rough with economic woes and many worries, but my hope isn’t in the economy or a new president; my hope rests in the Lord Jehovah. I trust Him implicitly to meet my every need.

SDC: Many of us writers have favorite rooms or spaces in our home or around our homes that we use to let our creativity do its work. Where is your favorite place to go and why? Does it often play any part in your story writing?

Kim: My hubby and dad worked together to turn one of the bedrooms in our house into a writing space for me, and I adore it. When I step into this room, I am going to “work,” and it puts me in the “zone.” The colors are antique-ish: coffee-with-cream walls, a parquet wood floor, and a lovely burghundy-and-taupe Turkish rug (brought home from one of hubby’s military jaunts overseas). My husband calls my desk the SS Sawyer because it takes up so much room, but I have all the writing space and storage space I need—it’s ideal for a clutter-bug. :o) A wallborder border sporting a shelf of books, collectibles, and the requisite cat decorate the ceiling line, and I have cat collectibles set sporadically around the room. The space is very much “Kim,” and I love it. (You can see pictures of my writing space on the Photo Gallery page of my website.)

SDC: I love it! I mentioned before that I have read many of your books and enjoyed them immensely. Have you ever considered stepping further out and writing about a character who leaves the United States and goes elsewhere to find his or her loved one? (Or do you already have a book like that that I have missed?)

Kim: Thank you for your kind endorsement of my work! I appreciate that very much. At this point my publishers prefer I remain in the U.S. with my stories. However, I do have one coming out in August that begins in Russia (the Molotschna Colony). A Mennonite family will travel to Kansas (and of course, the reader will travel along) where they will plant the Turkey Red wheat that turned America into the nation’s breadbasket. I hope readers will enjoy the journey—it is a page straight out of my own family history, and I’m very excited about the book.

SDC: How does your family respond to your time away from them to write and do research for writing?

Kim: It has been an adjustment, there’s no way around it. In my “former life,” I was an elementary school teacher—I didn’t travel, I was always home, and I had a very predictable schedule. Writing is anything but predictable! LOL At first, my family had some difficulty recognizing that writing was my “job.” I’d done it for fun and entertainment for so many years, and always on my own time, but now I HAD to write—I HAD to meet deadline,s and help with marketing, and travel to booksignings… They are very proud of me, but as with any career change, there are adjustments to be made. We’re finding our stride with it now, but it has taken some time.

SDC: So often, it does with writers, I agree. But it sounds like you have it well worked out.


Kim, I understand you have a book you would like to share with one of our readers if we receive enough responders. Tell us which one you are planning to donate. Also, what question would you like one of our viewers to answer to help me select the winner?

Kim: Well, even though A Promise for Spring is my most recent release, My Heart Remembers was just named a finalist in the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, so I’d like to offer that one. My Heart Remembers is an extra special story to me because it was inspired by my stepgrandma, who was an orphan-train rider.

Three Irish immigrant children are separated when an orphan train takes them to Severy, Missouri. The oldest vows she will one day find her brother and sister and they’ll be a family again. But seventeen years later, she’s still seeking. Her memories…and her hope…has faded. United by blood, divided by time, will she ever be reunited with her siblings?

SDC: Sounds like another great one! And I love the cover!

KIM: My question relates to childhood memories. My favorite story as a little girl was a picture book called “A Cat Called Cindy.” What is the title of the first book you remember loving as a child?

SDC: That's a wonderful question to ask, Kim. I'll be interested to see what our readers write in! It’s been a real pleasure having you here at A Pen for Your Thoughts. I hope I can have you here with us again soon.

KIM: Thank you for the opportunity to be with you, Shirley! I’ve enjoyed it.

READERS: Be sure to answer Kim’s question above to try to win a copy of her book!

Congratulations to Gayla Collins of Sheridan, Wyoming! Watch for your book and a message from Kim, Gayla!
You can find Kim Sawyer's Gentle stories of hope by visiting her here:


15 comments:

  1. thanks Shirley and Kim for this opportunity. I've visited the Writes of Passage blog often but I really enjoyed this casual 'interview'!

    Kim, what a blessing for you to have been able to write a story that comes right out of your family. I've seen this book--who can forget the beautiful cover?--and would love to win it.

    Debra

    ReplyDelete
  2. hi kim and shirley
    great interview. i always love reading about you kim. and i love your books. would love to win too.
    Janice Ian
    jian@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Kim and Shirley...
    I really enjoyed the interview, and of course, I really love your books. I've always loved to read, and I remember my very first visit to our town library and the book I took out. I was in first grade, and was so excited. The book I got was "Little Black Sambo" by Helen Bannerman. I loved tigers and this book absolutely fascinated me. I have a copy of my own now, and have read it to my children and now my grandchildren. Everytime I read it, it brings back fond memories of browsing through that old library, and my love of books.

    Please enter me in your giveaway..thank you!

    Blessings to you both,
    Sandy

    Muzzley56[at]aol[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  4. All my life, I loved books. The
    first one whose title I can
    remember is Anne of Green Gables.
    I know there were books I liked
    before that, but that's the title
    that stuck in my memory. I'm
    anxious to read some of her books.
    Thanks for the interview.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Heidi O'ConnellApril 3, 2009 at 11:43 AM

    What a great interview! I think my favorite first book was one about a ballet dancer. Don't remember the name.
    Please add me to your drawing.
    Heidi O'Connell
    Louisville

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks, Kim, for sharing your unique writing story! Patti

    ReplyDelete
  7. What a beautiful book!

    The earliest book I remember loving is "The Poky Little Puppy", who am I kidding.. I still love that book :-)

    ryanx6 [at]msn dot [com]

    ReplyDelete
  8. May I first say that Shirley is a great interviewer....I read many of these question and answer blogs and I find that Shirley's questions really interest me.

    Kim's answers were so interesting as well. I cannot believe she has published so many novels in such a small amount of time. I wonder if several were written prior to 2005?

    My first favorite story was "Little Black Sambo." I remember a sitter reading it to my brother and I, and being entralled by the wits of Sambo and his making the tiger into butter. I asked it to be read over and over. When I could read by myself it was the "Bobbsey Twins." I have read voraciously since and am now finding I really enjoy Christian fiction.

    Please enter me in the contest even though I have rambled on. :-}

    Gayla Collins
    gayla.c@bresnan.net

    ReplyDelete
  9. Well, this question has started a discussion around the dining table!
    My mom and i have been trying to pinpoint just ONE book!
    I think it was a book called "Sarah's Boots" which is my name :)
    I'd love to read one of Kim's books!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks so much, everyone, for stopping by and sharing your favorite childhood book titles! I have read many of the titles listed, and it's let me take a little stroll down "memory lane." Gayla asked if several of the books published between 2006 and 2008 were written prior to 2005. Believe it or not, only two were completed before contracting, and one of those was completely rewritten, so it was kind of like starting from scratch. God blessed me with speedy fingers during those writing months. :o)

    Thanks for the interview, Shirley! I look forward to seeing a few more book faves show up here...

    ReplyDelete
  11. Wow! another great interview and question to ponder. Okay. My best book when I was litte? I think it must have been the Beverly Cleary stories. I read everything my mother brought home to me.
    Allie
    betterthanever@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks Kim for such a great interview. I have enjoyed reading your books and getting to know a bit more about you. I loved Bevelry Cleary stories when I was growing up.

    Blessings,
    Jo
    ladijo40(at)aol(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  13. What a terrific question! I loved "Captain Kitty". In fact, I had most of it memorized, so when people would visit and hear me reciting as I turned the pages, they thought I could read. Thanks for reminding me.

    stacey_dale[at]yahoo[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  14. First time I've seen this question at an interview. Let me see. What was my first book? Probably Little Black Sambo. I loved books growing up. I guess I ahven't changed.

    Would love to be included in this drawing too.
    Heidi Eli
    Heli@verizon.net

    ReplyDelete
  15. Kim I love your books, even though I am older that most of you I am 66 and love to read and collect books, this is my main hobby as I am retired and semi disables.
    Please enter me into your drawing for a free book, I have some of your books and love all of them. I read my books over and over.

    ReplyDelete