A Conversation with Katie Ganshert

INSPYs 2016-Katie Ganshert FeatureAs we come down to the final hours before the INSPYs 2016 winners are announced (Tuesday!), today we welcome Katie Ganshert. A multi-genre author who made the jump to Indie and YA fiction last year, Katie’s novel The Art of Losing Yourself (WaterBrook Press) is on the 2016 shortlist in the General Fiction category.

Katie shares more on the inspiration of The Art of Losing Yourself, and the challenges/benefits of writing organically incorporated faith. Plus, she’s a Gilmore Girls fan!

Every morning, Carmen Hart pastes on her made-for-TV smile and broadcasts the weather. She’s the Florida panhandle’s favorite meteorologist, married to everyone’s favorite high Book - The Art of Losing Yourselfschool football coach. They’re the perfect-looking couple, live in a nice house, and attend church on Sundays. From the outside, she’s a woman who has it all together. But on the inside, Carmen Hart struggles with doubt. She wonders if she made a mistake when she married her husband. She wonders if God is as powerful as she once believed. Sometimes she wonders if He exists at all. After years of secret losses and empty arms, she’s not so sure anymore.

Until Carmen’s sister—seventeen year old runaway, Gracie Fisher—steps in and changes everything. Gracie is caught squatting at a boarded-up motel that belongs to Carmen’s aunt, and their mother is off on another one of her benders, which means Carmen has no other option but to take Gracie in. Is it possible for God to use a broken teenager and an abandoned motel to bring a woman’s faith and marriage back to life? Can two half-sisters make each other whole? – Goodreads

Amazon | Goodreads


What inspired The Art of Losing Yourself?

This doesn’t usually happen for me, but it was a passage of Scripture—from Ezekiel 37. It’s when the Lord gives Ezekiel a vision, and shows him a valley filled with dry bones. And then the Lord asks, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I was so very struck by the passage and the question, and of course, God’s response. So struck, I wanted to tell a story about God’s ability to breath the dead back to life. In the Art of Losing Yourself, that dead thing happens to be a marriage, a derelict motel, and a woman’s faith.

What are the challenges/benefits of incorporating faith into your story?

Well, for this book, incorporating faith into the story was relatively easy, as the entire theme revolves around the main character’s faith, or lack thereof. I think the biggest challenge is making sure the faith-element arises organically from the characters and the story, instead of making it this painted-on thing just because the genre demands it. The benefits are numerous! Namely, hearing from readers who have been encouraged in their faith after reading the story. And, of course, being encouraged in my own faith as I seek God and His truth while writing the story.


What are you listening to?

Katie Ganshert TBR

Katie’s TBR pile.

Mostly, Bible kid songs. We have a Jesus Loves Me soundtrack that plays on repeat wherever we go because my daughter loves it and it’s good for her to try to sing familiar songs, as she has a severe speech delay. Music aside, I love audio books, and am currently listening to Kate Morton’s The Lake House.

What are you watching?

A conglomeration of things—nothing new. We don’t have cable, but we do have Netflix and Amazon Prime. Right now, I’m watching Gilmore Girls and when I’m in the mood for a laugh, The Office. I’ve already watched both.

What are you reading or what’s on your nightstand?

(See Picture) I’m reading 19 Minutes by Jodi Picoult. It’s my first Picoult book and so far, I’m enjoying it. I’m also reading Forgotten God by Francis Chan. And up next is Becky Wade’s newest—Her One and Only.

Thank you so much for joining us today, Katie! We enjoyed learning more about the inspiration of The Art of Losing Yourself, and discovering what’s on your TBR.


Award-winning author, Katie Ganshert, graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Madison with a degree in education, and worked as a fifth grade teacher for several years before staying home to write full-time. She was born and raised in the Midwest, where she lives with her family. When she’s not busy penning novels or spending time with her people, she enjoys drinking coffee with friends, reading great literature, and eating copious amounts of dark chocolate.

Author Website | Facebook | Twitter

A Conversation with Lori Benton

INSPYs 2016-Lori Benton

With a new weekend here, today the Advisory Board welcomes Lori Benton. Lori was shortlisted in the 2014 awards for her debut novel, Burning Sky. This year, her novel The Wood’s Edge is honored on the 2016 shortlist in the Historical Romance category.

We chat with Lori about the inspiration behind The Wood’s Edge, the challenges of writing in the historical fiction genre, and learn what TV addiction she’s anxiously awaiting. (Editor’s note: I feel the delay of this particular British show most ardently!)

At the wood’s edge cultures collide. Can two families survive the impact?Book - The Wood's Edge

The 1757 New York frontier is home to the Oneida tribe and to British colonists, yet their feet rarely walk the same paths.

On the day Fort William Henry falls, Major Reginald Aubrey is beside himself with grief. His son, born that day, has died in the arms of his sleeping wife. When Reginald comes across an Oneida mother with newborn twins, one white, one brown, he makes a choice that will haunt the lives of all involved. He steals the white baby and leaves his own child behind. Reginald’s wife and foundling daughter, Anna, never suspect the truth about the boy they call William, but Reginald is wracked by regret that only intensifies with time, as his secret spreads its devastating ripples.

When the long buried truth comes to light, can an unlikely friendship forged at the wood’s edge provide a way forward? For a father tormented by fear of judgment, another by lust for vengeance. For a mother still grieving her lost child. For a brother who feels his twin’s absence, another unaware of his twin’s existence. And for Anna, who loves them both–Two Hawks, the mysterious Oneida boy she meets in secret, and William, her brother. As paths long divided collide, how will God direct the feet of those who follow Him? – Goodreads | Amazon

What inspired you to write The Wood’s Edge?

I’m always looking for intriguing historical events to set a story against, and the 18th century overflows with them. While researching my debut novel, Burning Sky, set in western New York after the Revolutionary War, I went back further and read about the war, thinking I ought to know what my characters from various cultures and sides in that war might have experienced. It was then I learned about the Six Nations, or Iroquois League, and the devastating impact this war had on them, tearing their ancient confederation apart when the Oneida nation chose to side with the Americans, while most of the other nations (Mohawks, Onondagas, Cayugas, Tuscaroras, and Senecas) sided with the British.

I’m also always on the look-out for historically accurate situations in which a character might find him or herself torn between two ways of life, across cultures, race, or ideologies. Because that’s what intrigues me as a writer.

During this time I read an article about a couple who had twins, one born brown-skinned, one born white-skinned. Instantly intrigued, I began to wonder what would happen if such twins were born on the New York frontier in the 18th century and somehow were separated so that one grew to manhood never knowing he had any other blood but what his skin proclaimed and just how might that happen…? Somewhere down that trail of questions The Wood’s Edge and its sequel A Flight of Arrows took shape.

What are the challenges/benefits of writing historical fiction?

Challenges for me would include the research and capturing of setting. I live 3000 miles away from the places I write about and don’t often find the time to take away from the actual writing (it takes me slightly longer than a year to write my books, about all the time I have between deadlines, and unfortunately I’ve never been able to write while traveling) to make long research trips. But I did spend half my life living on the east coast and was a bit of a tomboy as a child, with similar interests then as I have now, including a love of exploring the out-of-doors, so I have a lot of memories to draw from for the types of “close to the earth” settings I like to create.

As for benefits, I find it immensely satisfying writing historical fiction. I’m always learning. I feel like I give myself a new degree in history with every novel I write. I’ve heard it said it’s good for the brain to keep learning!


+ What are you listening to? I don’t listen to music often, but I just finished listening to The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown.

+ What are you watching? I’m waiting for the new seasons of The Last Ship and Poldark to commence. Meanwhile I catch episodes of Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D, The Flash, and Blue Bloods.

TBR Lori Benton

+ What are you reading or what’s on your nightstand? I read a lot via audio books because reading print is liable to put me to sleep in ten minutes these days, no matter what time of day or night, and there’s a good chance I’ll never get to a book I really want to read if it’s only in print, because of the daunting amount of research that’s always waiting.

I’m reading A Country Between, The Upper Ohio Valley and Its People by Michael N. McConnell and The Scratch of a Pen, 1763 and the Transformation of North America by Colin G. Calloway, among other research material.

I’m listening to What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty and my annual re-listen of To Say Nothing of the Dog, or How We Found the Bishop’s Bird Stump at Last by Connie Willis (read by Steven Crossley).

I’m reading a lovely book for endorsement by Joanne Bischof called The Lady and the Lionheart (be on the lookout for that one later this year, readers!)

And here is a stack of some of books I would like to get to soon (I’ve just started the one on top!).

Thanks so much for joining us today, Lori. Reading about one particular novel on your nightstand TBR is one I anticipate, and I appreciated the insight you gave us into the inspiration of The Wood’s Edge.


Lori Benton was raised east of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by early American history going back three hundred years. Her novels transport readers to the eighteenth century, where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history. When she isn’t writing, reading, or researching, Lori enjoys exploring the Oregon wilderness with her husband. She is the author of Burning Sky, recipient of three Christy Awards, The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn, and The Wood’s Edge.

Author Website | Facebook

Up Close and Personal with Katie Ganshert

Katie Ganshert joins us today. Author of four contemporary novels with WaterBrook Press and a pair of novellas (Zondervan), Katie just recently released the first of her independently published young adult dystopian novels, The Gifting. Her novel, A Broken Kind of Beautiful (WaterBrook Press) is on the short list in the Contemporary Romance/Romantic category. We chat with Katie about her favorite worship music and the fabulous nightstand reading she has.

Goodreads SummaryBook - A Broken Kind of Beautiful

Fashion is a fickle industry, a frightening fact for twenty-four year old model Ivy Clark. Ten years in and she’s learned a sacred truth—appearance is everything. Nobody cares about her broken past as long as she looks beautiful for the camera. This is the only life Ivy knows—so when it starts to unravel, she’ll do anything to hold on. Even if that means moving to the quaint island town of Greenbrier, South Carolina, to be the new face of her stepmother’s bridal wear line—an irony too rich for words, since Ivy is far from the pure bride in white.

If only her tenuous future didn’t rest in the hands of Davis Knight, her mysterious new photographer. Not only did he walk away from the kind of success Ivy longs for to work maintenance at a local church, he treats her differently than any man ever has. Somehow, Davis sees through the façade she works so hard to maintain. He, along with a cast of other characters, challenges everything Ivy has come to believe about beauty and worth. Is it possible that God sees her—a woman stained and broken by the world—yet wants her still?


Katie’s Writing Space

1.) What are you listening to?

A good friend made me a mix of worship music for my birthday that I’ve been listening to a lot! It has songs like I Lay Me Down, From the Inside Out, and I’m Still Yours. It’s basically amazing and puts my heart in a place of worship and surrender (the best place for a heart to be). Call me cheesy, but I also love the “love songs” channel on Pandora.

2.) What are you watching? 

Daniel Tiger and Wild Krats. Ha! We are super lame when it comes to watching television. There aren’t really any shows that I’m into right now. I think So You Think You Can Dance is going to start soon, and I’m always a fan of that show!

3.) What are you reading or what’s on your nightstand? IMG_7358

Currently, I’m reading two books with two more on my nightstand! The two I’m reading now are both on my kindle—Bonhoeffer’s biography (which is fascinating, but loooong, hence the reason I’m still reading it three months after starting) and Emerge by Heather Sunseri (so good!). Next is Katherine’s Reay’s upcoming novel, The Bronte Plot, and then A Love Like Ours by Becky Wade, who is one of my all-time fave authors! I also have The Selection by Kiera Cass waiting on my kindle as well.


Thank you so much for joining us today, Katie. It was a pleasure to host you here. Learn more about Katie: Facebook ǀ Twitter ǀ Website