Meet Karin Beery

Interviewed by Julie Link

Karin BeeryPersonal

Where did you grow up and where do you live now? I grew up in Scottville, a small town on the west coast of Michigan. I’m fairly certain there were more cows than people in Scottville, but it’s only fifteen minutes from the beach, so it had some perks. I now live in Elk Rapids, Michigan, an equally small town with access to even more beaches, but much farther north.

Tell us about your family/home life. I’ve been married for seven years to the most amazing, frustrating, and wonderful man. He’s an absolute redneck (said without prejudice) who wears camouflage as much as possible, but he also keeps our house decorated with seasonal kitchen towels. A year and a half ago my aunt moved in with us. She’s sixty-four years old and mentally handicapped. I love her to bits and am so happy to have her with us. I now stay home to help take care of her. She helps me take care of our two cats, Bucket and Midgie. [Read more…]

Meet Ken Walker

Ken Walker photoInterviewed by Julie Link.


Where did you grow up and where do you live now?

I was born in Seymour, Indiana, but a year later my father’s employer transferred him to Lima, Ohio, which I claim as my hometown. I live about five hours south of Lima, in Huntington, West Virginia. Over the years I have also lived in Florida, Colorado, and Kentucky.

Tell us about your family/home life.

Despite the normal struggles of childhood, I had a pretty happy one. I have one brother, who is now the pastor of a church on Long Island. My parents were married for 42 years before my mother died in 1987. There was a vacant lot near my house where a group of 10-15 guys got together regularly, mostly to play football and baseball. I also stay in touch with a number of those friends, even though most of us have moved elsewhere. Growing up in a small city (about 55,000) eventually allowed me the opportunity to work as a part-time sportswriter at the daily newspaper while still in high school.

Now that both of my parents are gone, I appreciate even more the legacy they left me. I am nearing my 35th anniversary and am still pleased that I married the woman (Janet) I did. I don’t have any natural children, but have three stepchildren (a fourth died in 2005), seven grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren. [Read more…]

Meet Bruce Beecher

Where did you grow up, and where do you live now?

I was an Air Force brat, so I spent some time in Kansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Florida, and England until I turned eight, when I was forced to live (if you can call it living) on Minot Air Force base in Minot, North Dakota. I was held hostage there until I turned eighteen in June and immediately left for Atlanta, Georgia. (As a side note, that winter, Atlanta had the worst ice storm in fifty years. I thought the cold was following me and I’d have to move to Key West.) After living in Atlanta for six years, I joined the Navy for a six-year enlistment that wound up turning into twenty years. I was stationed in San Diego, California; Washington, DC; and Norfolk, Virginia. My job title in the Navy was Illustrator/Draftsman, but I was what is now called a graphic artist. Upon retiring from the Navy, I moved back to Atlanta and worked for Coca-Cola as a graphic artist for eleven years. When my position was to be eliminated, I was able to take early retirement. So I am twice retired. (But I don’t feel that old.) I currently live in Conyers, Georgia, about thirty miles east of Atlanta. [Read more…]

Meet Erin Brown

First we’d like to get to know you on a personal level. What are your hobbies and interests outside of the workplace?
To be honest, I am a nerd-I like to read, even after putting in a full workday! But in addition to that, I enjoy teaching high school Sunday school and participating in our local church softball league. Harassing my kids is really fun, but I’m not sure that’s a true hobby!

Are you an avid reader? What’s your favorite book?

Yes! I generally am reading about three books at any given time. I have so many “favorites,” but if I were to tag my all-time favorite, I think I’d have to give that award to David and the Phoenix by Edward Ormondroyd, a children’s book I began reading when I was in third grade and haven’t yet stopped enjoying. [Read more…]

Meet Janet Crews

Janet CrewsInterviewed by Julie Link

Where did you grow up, where were you educated, and where do you live now?

I grew up in a small town in East Texas and received my BA with majors in English and History and a minor in Psychology from Houston Baptist University. My family and I currently reside in Temple, Texas.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live and why?

I am a Texan through and through, so I want to live in Texas. I would, however, love to have another home in Wyoming or Montana. I love both mountains and open spaces, especially if those open spaces are pastures filled with horses. [Read more…]

Meet Violet Herlocker

Where did you grow up, and where do you live now?

I grew up in North Carolina, but spent the last forty years in Virginia. Nearly thirty of those years were in Loudoun County—a suburb of DC. I retired in 2004 from a thirty-year career in public education. In 2006, my husband retired and we moved to Fancy Gap, Virginia, on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a national park.

That’s such a beautiful area! Can you tell us a bit about your family life?

My husband, Lee, and I have two married sons: Nathan, married to Catherine, and Justin, married to Annie. They are still my “boys” and adore their wives. We are so blessed. [Read more…]

Meet Jeanne Marie Leach

Jeanne Marie Leach, one of the newer members of The Christian PEN, edits part time and writes Christian historical fiction, all while running a Colorado bed-and-breakfast. Eileen Key, long-standing TCP member, recently asked Jeanne about her editing business, the writing life, and her favorite reads.

When did you start editing?

I started editing other people’s work in 2002. I remember the first person I mentored. She didn’t know what a period was. Her writing was probably the worst I’ve ever seen. So I began showing her areas to work on, one by one. It took nearly a year, but when we were finished, she had a marketable book. She sold it to a publisher and went on to write and publish two more books without me. The success she realized spurred me on to find other beginners who needed help, and it has been very rewarding to me. [Read more…]

Meet Kathi Macias

Meet Kathi Macias in our first PEN Points “Featured Editor” interview.

First, tell us a little about yourself.

I was born and raised in Ventura, California. My husband, Al, lived three blocks from me. We met in first grade and began “going steady” when we were fourteen. He is, without a doubt, my best friend and the love of my life. We have three grown sons and nine grandchildren.

What were your childhood dreams and ambitions?

I can’t remember ever wanting to do anything other than write (except, of course, read). In fact, my husband always reminds me of the day when we were walking home from junior high together and I told him I was going to be a writer when I grew up. [Read more…]

Meet Andrea Merrell

Author and editor Andrea Merrell was born in Greenville, South Carolina, but spent much of her life in Florida, where she met her husband, Charlie. In 1983 they returned to her hometown, where Andrea says they plan to spend the rest of their days enjoying the mountains, the change of seasons, and three beautiful granddaughters.

Was there something (or someone) that inspired you to become a writer?

Words are powerful tools that can impact a life either positively or negatively, so I have spent a good deal of time writing poems, Sunday school lessons, Bible studies, prayers, and confessions to share with those closest to me. About ten years ago at a marriage retreat, the speaker questioned me about my passions. When I mentioned writing he said, “Yes, and I’ll bet that’s on the bottom of your priority list, right?” When I said yes, he told me to get that passion off the bottom of the pile and put it on the top. Then he leaned in closer and said, “After all, you’re not getting any younger, you know!” I went home and immediately began to write and found it to truly be one of my number one passions. Nothing blesses me more than to hear people say how much my words encouraged them and gave them exactly what they needed at that moment. Writing is a gift from God and I am honored that He chose to allow me to share His words of life and love with the world. [Read more…]

Meet Cecil Murphey

Within the Christian writing community, our featured editor this quarter needs little introduction. Cecil Murphey, best-selling author, husband, father, friend, and mentor to hundreds of writers, has become a household name. Read Alice’s interview to learn more about this beloved and humble man.

Tell us about the books you have coming out this year.

In January, Harvest House published When Someone You Love Has Cancer, my first in a series of gift books. I’ve completed two others for 2010 release. At the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS), Regal will release When God Turns Off the Lights. In October, St. Martins Press (an ABA house) will launch Christmas Miracles. I solicited stories from writers and rewrote them for a consistent tone. The authors received a byline as well as a fifty-word bio.

I’ve completed two books for Penguin but I have no release date. One of them, 60 Seconds to Greatness, which I wrote for Bishop Eddie Long, may come out in December, but that’s not settled.

In February, TNT-TV televised Gifted Hands, a film based on a book I wrote for Dr. Ben Carson in 1990. The book has remained in print ever since. Two other books are under film option. [Read more…]

Meet Heidi L. Nigro

Heidi, you have been an active member of The Christian PEN since its inception. But what do you enjoy besides writing and editing?

I enjoy my family, especially my daughter, Megan, who is 15 months old. We also purchased an old stone house, built in the early 1800s, which we are in the process of gutting and restoring, room by room. It’s a huge project, and goes particularly slowly with a young child, but we love it. I also love music and am on the worship team of my local congregation.

What is a fact most people don’t know about you?

That I am a woman. Based on my writing style, many people assume that I’m a man, which is just fine with me. I started using “H. L.” with the publication of my first book, Before God’s Wrath. There aren’t a lot of women writing on end-times subjects, and since the book challenges some of today’s popular beliefs about end-times theology, it seemed prudent not to advertise my gender. When editing and doing manuscript evaluations, I’ve also found that it avoids conflict because many people will take constructive criticism more readily from a man than a woman. I don’t try to hide my gender, but I don’t advertise it, either. [Read more…]

Meet Nanette Thorsen-Snipes

Tell us a littlNanette Thorsen-Snipese about yourself. What are your hobbies and interests outside the workplace?

I feel called to minister to those with chronic and serious illnesses, or who have lost loved ones. The Lord frequently seems to bring those people into my life. I’ve helped three friends diagnosed with breast cancer for several years.

What’s your favorite book?

I don’t have a favorite book, but I’ve read My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers several times. I’ve also read most of Catherine Marshall’s books. Recently, I read Emma Jean Reborn by Kathi Macias about domestic violence, something I experienced when I was a young woman with small children. I just finished Night by Elie Wiesel, a book on the Holocaust. Books about the Holocaust have always intrigued me. [Read more…]

Meet Katherine Swarts

What are your hobbies and interests outside the workplace?

I enjoy birding (“bird watching” to non-naturalists) and other outdoor activities: hayrides, picnics, stargazing and sky-watching, camping (nothing too rugged, though—I still like a hot shower at night). I also enjoy listening to folk music and old hymns, and playing board games.

Are you an avid reader? What’s your favorite book?

If you hadn’t asked about reading separately, it would have been at the top of my “hobbies and interests” list. I devour so many books that choosing a single favorite is probably impossible. So I’ll list a few favorite categories instead.

Favorite recently read book: Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver

Seven “stood the test of time” books: Where Angels Walk by Joan Wester Anderson, The Best Loved Poems of the American People by Hazel Felleman, Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster, The Book of Survival by Anthony Greenbank, A Wolf Story by James Byron Huggins, Give Me an Answer by Cliffe Knechtle, Six Hours One Friday by Max Lucado [Read more…]