I’m thrilled to host Katie Powner on the blog this week as she shares about writing and her new release, Where the Blue Sky Begins. I had the privilege of being part of Katie’s launch team and read an advance copy of her book. It’s wonderful!
For a chance to win a paperback of Where the Blue Sky Begins, be sure to comment below by Tuesday, October 25.
Welcome to the blog, Katie! Good to have you again. Share a little about yourself and your family.
I live in Montana with my husband, three children, two bunnies, and nine chickens. We would have a goat, a cow, and a pig as well, if I had any say in it, but our house is inside “city limits,” so we’re not allowed to. We are also a foster family, so we often have extra kiddos living with us, which has taught us a lot about grace, humility, and trust.
With your busy life, do you have any hobbies? Do anything for fun?
I like going for walks, whether it’s around town or in the mountains, and for drives…actually, I should amend that to say I like it when my husband takes me for a drive and I can just look out the window! I also enjoy collecting interesting and unusual items, especially for my front yard. People who walk by often stop to look at my collection.
Now I want to see your yard! Tell us how and when you started writing.
I’ve always been a writer, as well as avid reader. I still have this crazy little book I made when I was little called “Grandma Hilda’s Improved and New, Chicken Cherry Super Glue.” Even back then, I think I was drawn to writing because verbal communication was so fast and unpredictable and hard. I much preferred, and still do, to take my time and think things through. Writing is how I process the world.
Cool title for your childhood book. Let’s talk about your current book. What is the setting? Is it a real location or fictional?
The setting for Where the Blue Sky Begins is in southwest Montana. The overall location is real but the town itself is fictional. Southwest Montana is ruggedly beautiful with lots of mountains and farmland and tons of sky. It’s the home of the famous Madison River, which makes an appearance in the book. It’s also not far from the setting of Norm Maclean’s book A River Runs Through It.
Sounds beautiful. I’d love to visit Montana someday. What do you hope your readers take away from Where the Blue Sky Begins?
I hope reading Where the Blue Sky Begins encourages people to be willing to step out of their comfort zone regarding who they let into their lives and who they get to know. It’s when we extend the hand of friendship to people different from us, who see the world in a different way, that we really grow and learn about ourselves and what we really believe.
I can testify that you accomplished that goal. The message came through powerfully. What advice would you give an aspiring author?
I think it’s important for aspiring authors to realize that there’s a fence between “writing as a hobby” and “writing as a career,” and trying to straddle it will lead to frustration. As is the case with most fences, the grass always seems greener on the other side, but I feel it’s wonderfully green and fulfilling on both sides, so long as you choose one.
Excellent advice. What does a typical day in your writing life look like?
I wouldn’t say there’s a “typical” day in my writing life, but there are a few common trends. One is that I rarely do writing work first. Instead, I work hard in the morning to complete all non-writing tasks, such as dinner prep, grocery shopping, laundry, phone calls, etc. Anything that I don’t want hanging over my head. This results in better focus for me once I do get to my computer. Another common trend is no music. Having the ordinary sounds of life going on around me, such as people talking, doesn’t bother me, but I can’t handle the music!
I get it! I can’t write with music either. If you wrote in a different genre than your current one, which would you choose and why?
What an interesting question! I think I would choose the Speculative genre, because I like thinking outside the box and wondering about what’s possible. I like that Speculative books are not confined to reality as we know it, and yet can still be so real and true. I think of The Chronicles of Narnia as an example. Two of my unpublished manuscripts are actually Speculative.
Maybe you’ll publish them one day. How long, on average, does it take you to write a book?
This is hard to answer because writing a book takes so much more than just writing a book. If you count the time I spend thinking of ideas, fleshing them out to see if there’s enough there for a story, brainstorming more ideas, outlining, brainstorming some more, and then doing the actual drafting and revising and revising again…then we’re looking at about 8-10 months per book.
What does your writing space look like?
I have a desk in the corner of our living room next to a picture window, which I stare out of when I’m thinking. Our house is small, so there’s no space for an office. My desk has an under-desk bike and a wireless keyboard that I can move wherever I need because sometimes I like to write standing up or with the keyboard on my lap or who knows. My stuffed cow Moolene stands on the right side of my desk keeping watch while I work, and my outline and notebook are always within reach. To the left of my desk, in a little cubby, is where I keep the dark chocolate.
Moolene and dark chocolate. Perfect. Has a reader ever blessed your socks off? How?
I once arranged a visit to speak at a tiny library in a tiny Montana town, and when I got there, they had made a cake and decorated it by hand to look like the cover of my book. I was so touched by the time that went into that and loved hanging out with them and talking about books.
I love that. Before we wrap up, tell us what’s next from you.
I’m very pleased to tell you I have another small-town Contemporary novel releasing in Fall 2023. That story is set in northern Montana, on the remote and rugged Hi-Line. More information about this book will be coming in early 2023.
Can’t wait! Thanks so much for sharing on the blog, Katie. May God bless you and your future projects.
Join the conversation. Does the takeaway lesson in Where the Blue Sky Begins resonate with you? Have you ever stepped out of your comfort zone to befriend someone you wouldn’t normally connect with? How did it work out?
Be sure to comment below for a chance to win a paperback of Where the Blue Sky Begins.
Where the Blue Sky Begins by Katie Powner
Click the book cover for purchase link
Sometimes the hardest road of all is the road home.
When confident and handsome Eric Larson is sent to a rural Montana town to work in the local branch of his uncle’s financial company, he’s determined to exceed everyone’s expectations, earn a promotion, and be back in Seattle by the end of summer. Yet nothing could prepare him for the lessons this small town has in store.
At forty-six years old, eccentric and outspoken Eunice Parker has come to accept her terminal illness and has given herself one final goal: seek forgiveness from everyone on her bucket list before her time runs out. But it will take more courage than she can muster on her own.
After an accident pushes Eric and Eunice together, the unlikely pair is forced to spend more time with each other than either would like, which challenges their deepest prejudices and beliefs. As summer draws to a close, neither Eric nor Eunice is where they thought they would be, but they both wrestle with the same important question: What matters most when the end is near?
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.
Please share Katie’s interview on social media to spread the word about her new release!
If you missed last week’s Zoom interview with Felicia Ferguson, find it here.