Bestseller author Karen Kingsbury is known and loved for her Baxter family books. She’s written 24 in the collection, the most recent “The Baxter Family Christmas.” Another title, “Love Story,” comes out in June 2017 and a third next fall.
Kingsbury knows how to wring the emotions out of every character and scene. She’s been known to shed a tear while writing, and her readers certainly do too.
Q: How do you write fiction that touches readers so deeply?
A: I try to write people who are real and who readers can relate to. They see themselves or family members in the characters. I would be so disappointed if someone read my books and didn’t cry.
Q: Describe the point-of-view (POV) in your books.
A: I write from an alternating, deep POV. When I write that way I can go very deep and readers become emotionally engaged early on.
Q: How can fiction be a teaching tool?
A: A story can go through the back door of the heart like a teaching book cannot. When Jesus wanted to touch a heart, he told a story. Readers don’t just get caught up in a good read; their hearts become involved too. They realize that maybe they should make that phone call or that apology.
Q: How do you connect with your readers?
A: I connect vial an email newsletter and Facebook. I also have a live book club after each book launches. For four to six weeks, we meet for an hour. Readers post questions and I answer them. It’s a virtual living room with 60,000 people attending.
Q: What is the book club like?
A: We look at a number of chapters each week, and I have a video presentation at the beginning. This is prerecorded so I can concentrate on the readers. At the end of the hour we all say goodbye. People have become friends.
Q: Why do you think the Baxter family books are so popular?
A: The characters have faith and flaws. Through all of life’s ups and downs, they have stayed strong together. I think people see themselves, either the family they had or the family they wish they had.
Q: Do your books reach general market readers as well?
A: Thanks to our partnership with Simon & Schuster, which owns my publisher Howard Books, there are possibilities that wouldn’t have been there before. Half my readers probably don’t realize my books are Christian fiction. They are drawn by the story and it touches them, which they maybe haven’t experienced before. Christian readers expect to feel hopefulness; other readers are surprised by it.
Q: Any other news for the Baxter family?
A: Yes! Mark Burnett and Roma Downey are making a television series based on the Baxter family with MGM Studios. The screenwriter is just finishing up the pilot, and it will be on air at the end of 2017 or early 2018. No network yet, though.