About the Author
Karen Sargent creates characters whose imperfect faith collides with real-life conflicts, taking readers on a journey through grace and redemption to discover enduring hope. A romantic element is woven within each story. In addition to writing inspirational novels, she blogs at The MOM Journey, where moms aren't perfect and that's perfectly okay. Her writing has also been featured in Guidepost’s Angels on Earth magazine. When she's not writing, Karen teaches high school and college English and resides in the beautiful Arcadia Valley with her husband and two daughters.
1. What or whom inspired you to become an author?
I can’t remember ever not wanting to write. As a child I was a daydreamer and a reader. I kept a diary and wrote long letters to relatives who lived in other states and to pen pals who lived in other countries. I decided to become an English teacher because I loved reading and writing. However, when I started teaching, I soon realized my reading and writing was dictated by the literature I taught and student writing that I graded. Then I became a mom, so I put my writing dreams on hold. Although I once felt being a teacher and a mom interfered with my writing dream, I realize now both prepared me to become an author. Reading great literature and teaching my students to write made me a better story teller and a better writer, and being a mom gave me something important to write about.
2. What authors do you enjoy? Do these authors inspire your writing?
This may be cliché for an English teacher, but my favorite author is still Harper Lee and my favorite book is, of course, To Kill a Mockingbird. I’ve taught that novel numerous times throughout my career, and each time, I see something new and astounding in Harper Lee’s craft. There is so much about TKAM that inspires me as a writer—Scout’s strong narrative voice, the layers of meaning within the story, the parallel story lines that weave around one another and eventually interlock at the end. I’ll never achieve the mastery that Harper Lee demonstrated in To Kill a Mockingbird, and I’m not a literary writer per se, but she is the author who has set the standard for me.
3. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did becoming an author ever cross your mind?
I always knew I would be an English teacher but never dreamed I would be an author—although I certainly wanted to! I remember reading books, studying the covers and author bios, looking at the words on the pages and wondering how glorious it must be to have your name on a book and your story bound between covers. What’s funny now is that here I am, holding my own book, and it doesn’t feel like my book at all! It’s so surreal.
4. How long did it take you to write Waiting for Butterflies? When did you first get the idea to write this novel?
The idea for Waiting for Butterflies came to me after my mother-in-law’s sudden and early death at 61. We received the call around midnight. A friend came to spend the night with our daughters, so my husband and I could go stay with his dad. When we returned the next evening, we were surprised to find out our 5-month-old had slept through the night for the very first time. She continued to sleep through for the next week. Finally, on the eighth night while lying in bed, I said to my husband, “Ever since your mom passed, the baby hasn’t woken up in the night.” After a few moments he quietly said, “Mom, if you’re here, you can go now.” The baby didn’t sleep through that night or for the next several months (years really, she was a horrible sleeper!). I don’t know what I believe about those eight nights, but I do know the event gave my imagination a question to play with: What if a mom is taken from her family before she was ready to go? The answer became Waiting for Butterflies. Although the story idea came suddenly, it took me 11 years to start writing. Once I started, I wrote the first half in three months in the evenings and on weekends. Then due to a string of family illnesses, I didn’t write for four years. From January through March 2015, we missed 21 days of school due to snow, and many of those days backed up to weekends. That’s when I finished my book.
5. What do you want readers to take away from reading Waiting for Butterflies?
Waiting for Butterflies is ultimately a redemption story about forgiving ourselves, forgiving others, and allowing ourselves to receive forgiveness from others. It’s about the weight of guilt and how damaging guilt can be when we insist on carrying it. But it’s also about the release that comes when we decide to let it go. And of course, Waiting for Butterflies was inspired by and is about a mother’s love—and the enduring love of family.
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