By Deena Adams
Please help me welcome Katie Powner to the blog this week! I loved Katie’s debut novel, The Sowing Season, and I’m looking forward to reading her latest release, A Flicker of Light.
Read on to learn more about Katie’s sophomore novel, and be sure to comment on this post by November 2 for a chance to win a copy!
Welcome Katie! Let’s get started with learning a little more about you and your family.
My husband and I live in Montana with our three kids, three bunnies, ten chickens, and one cat. But we are a foster family, so sometimes we have four or five kids instead. We love small-town life and love hiking and biking and going to the river.
What a busy life, but I’m sure very rewarding. In your free time, what do you do for fun?
I love to go for walks with my husband, read books, eat ice cream, and watch Jeopardy.
I’m down for all those, except I’m terrible at Jeopardy. Speaking of reading, who is your favorite fiction author? Favorite novel?
This question really isn’t fair! Peace Like a River by Leif Enger and Summer of Light by Dale Cramer are two of my favorite novels, but it would be impossible to name a favorite author.
I’ll have to check those out. Let’s switch gears to your writing life. How and when did you start writing?
I’ve been writing stories practically since I was born, and I’ve always wanted to be a published author. Always. But I didn’t start writing novels with the intention of pursuing a career until about seven years ago when a scene came to me that I just had to write down. That scene eventually turned into my first novel, and I never looked back.
Very cool. Why did you decide to write contemporary novels? What unique challenges does writing about today’s culture present?
I wouldn’t say I “decided” to write contemporary novels…those are just the types of stories that started coming out of my heart.
Writing about contemporary culture does present some challenges, though, as you said. Publishing moves slow, but culture changes fast, so if I write a story that is “true to today,” by the time it is released a year or more later, it can feel outdated. This means I have to be careful to focus on the heart of a story, which should be timeless, rather than on the details of the “times.”
That’s a great way to write—focused on the heart of the story. How do you incorporate Christ and hope into your writing?
This is a hard question to answer, because I’ve found that if I try to intentionally incorporate Christ and hope into my writing, the story suffers. On the other hand, if I focus on writing the story and letting the characters be real people, Christ and hope tend to show up organically.
Makes perfect sense. Are any of your stories inspired by true events or personal history?
My debut novel, The Sowing Season, was about a dairy farmer who retires and has to figure out what life is like outside of the farm. Having grown up on a dairy farm, there were many pieces of that story that came from personal experience.
I loved The Sowing Season! How many hours a day to you spend writing?
Ha, I wish I could answer this question. At the moment, I have my three kids plus two foster babies under the age of 2, so there are many days I spend 0 hours writing. For me, at this stage in my life, it’s not about how many hours I put in at my desk a week, it’s how well I use the limited time I do get to work.
It has to be so hard to balance writing with your life and family obligations. How to you manage it?
It’s so, so hard, but it basically comes down to this: I give whatever small piece of myself and my time that I can use for writing over to God and ask Him to multiply it and use it as He sees fit.
God certainly seems to have honored your approach. What did He teach you through the writing of your latest release, A Flicker of Light?
A Flicker of Light was the hardest book to write so far, of the seven manuscripts I’ve completed, but God definitely used it to teach me about perseverance and trust. I knew He had called me to write the book, so when it seemed impossible and felt like a disaster, I had to trust that He was going to make a way. And He did.
I can’t wait to read it! What do you hope readers take away from the book?
That family is important. That we are stronger when leaning on each other than when we try to do it alone. That we all mess up but God can still use us and there is always still hope, always still something to live for and be thankful for, even when trials come.
Wonderful lessons for us all. What was the hardest scene to write?
Every scene from Grandma June’s point of view was a challenge because of her dementia. I wanted the reader to see the world through her eyes as her mind faded away. I wanted to do it respectfully but honestly. I agonized over those pages!
I can only imagine how difficult that was. What’s next from you?
I am very excited Bethany House will be releasing another book of mine in Fall of 2022. It’s a contemporary, small-town story, like The Sowing Season and A Flicker of Light, but features what I hope will be some pretty unique and surprising characters.
Awesome! Congratulations! How can readers and fans support you?
It’s always wonderful when readers buy my books, of course. But they can also request my books at their local library, tell their friends about them, and post about them online. It’s also wonderful when they subscribe to my newsletter so they can get exclusive opportunities and the latest news!
Any last words for your readers?
Thank you for loving books. I couldn’t do what I’m doing without you!
Thanks so much for sharing on the blog this week, Katie! May God continue to bless you as you write for His glory, raise your precious children, and love and serve foster children.
Join the conversation. Are you drawn to stories set in small towns? Have you read Katie’s books yet? Do they sound like stories you’d enjoy reading?
For a chance to win a copy of A Flicker of Light, be sure to comment on this interview by November 2!
A Flicker of Light by Katie Powner
Twenty-one-year-old Bea never expected to move back to her hometown in Montana, especially not as a college dropout with a husband in tow and a baby on the way. She insists the stay at her dad’s is only temporary, until she can get back on her feet. But the truth is, she has no idea what to do now.
Mitch Jensen is thrilled to have a full house again, though he’s unimpressed by Bea’s greenhorn of a husband. Mitch hopes to convince Bea to return to school, but she’s changed since her mom died. Everything has changed. How will he take care of everyone all by himself?
Grandma June is good at telling stories . . . and keeping secrets. But she can’t hide that her mind is going much longer. If she doesn’t tell the truth about her past before her memories fade away, someone she loves will suffer. But if she does, the lives of three generations of the Jensen family will never be the same.
Katie Powner lives in rural Montana, where cows still outnumber people. She’s a mom to the third power: biological, adoptive, and foster.
She loves red shoes, Jesus, and candy (not necessarily in that order) and writes contemporary fiction about redemption, relationships, and finding the dirt road home. Learn more at katiepowner.com.
Please share this interview on social media to help spread the word about Katie’s book!
If you missed last week’s Zoom interview with debut author Jessica Sly, find it here.