Events & Media
Media kit includes a list of upcoming events, author head shots, the book cover, a Waiting for Butterflies press release, and an author Q&A.
Next Steps Writers Workshop
WALDEN PARK CLUBHOUSE • CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO • FEB 22, 2020 • 9:00 AM
Calling all new-ish writers! Join me at the Next Steps Writers Workshop where I’ll present “How to Write for Chicken Soup for the Soul” and lead an afternoon critique group. A variety of breakout sessions and a bunch of new writing friends are waiting for you. Go here for more information!
How to Write for Chicken Soup for the Soul
BIENVENUE CENTER • 116 E HIGH STREET • POTOSI, MO • FEB/MAR 2020 • 6:00 PM
MINERAL AREA COLLEGE • PARK HILLS, MO • APRIL 2020 • 6:00 PM
Chicken Soup for the Soul wants your story! Discover the recipe to cook up an irresistible story, and if the editors love it, they’ll send you $200! Whether you’re a new or experienced writer, Chicken Soup is a great opportunity to get your work published. By the end of this writing workshop, participants will have a story ready to submit. Class fee includes (4) sessions.Dates for Bienvenue Center: Feb. 18 & 25 and March 3 & 10Dates for MAC: April 7, 14, 21 & 28For cost and to register, email Karen@KarenSargent.com.Session 1: What Is a Chicken Soup Story? Guidelines & Choosing Your TopicSession 2: The Beginning, Middle, and End + the Take-awaySession 3: Story Critique and FeedbackSession 4: Publishing Party! Share and Submit!
Write to Publish & Get Paid 101
MINERAL AREA COLLEGE • PARK HILLS, MO • MARCH/MAY 2020 • 6:00 PM
Write to Publish & Get Paid 101
What’s better than seeing your words in print? Getting paid to see your words in print! If you have a desire to write, life experiences to write about, and/or areas of expertise, join us for this series to discover blogs, magazines, and other publications that will pay $50 to $800 for well-written, engaging content. Stop dreaming of being published…and start writing!
Write for Blogs That Pay – March 24
Are you a quilter, a collector, a bee keeper? Do you homeschool your kids, know house cleaning hacks, or hunt for bears or bargains? If you do it or know it, there’s a blog for it. In this class you will discover blogs that pay $50 (or more) and learn valuable tips to get your guest post published.
Sell Your Story – March 31
Turn your life experiences into stories to submit to publications such as Reader’s Digest, Guideposts, Chicken Soup for the Soul, or Woman’s World (which also accepts fiction).
The Traditional Path to Publishing a Book – May 12
Eighty percent of people say they want to write a book. Are you one of them? Or maybe you’ve written a book but don’t know what to do next. In this class we’ll navigate the traditional publishing path—from writing THE END on a manuscript to signing the dotted line in a contract from a traditional publisher. (Self-publishing will not be discussed.)
This series is hosted by the Mineral Area College Continuing Education Program. Each session is $20. To register call or email Pam at 573.518.2342 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to Write for Chicken Soup for the Soul
SATURDAY WRITERS • SPENCER BRANCH LIBRARY • ST. PETERS, MO • JUNE 27 • 9:00 AM
One of my favorite writing groups to hang out with is Saturday Writers in St. Peters. They’ve invited me to present “How to Write for Chicken Soup for the Soul,” and I’m inviting you to join us! Come learn about guidelines, topics, deadlines, and how to submit. Chicken Soup publishes 12 books a year, each with 101 stories, and pays contributors $200 per story. Sound good? Yes, it does! If you have questions, email me at Karen@KarenSargent.com. To register for this workshop, email info@SaturdayWriters.org.
BOOK DESCRIPTIONS THAT SELL
FARMINGTON PUBLIC LIBRARY • FARMINGTON, MO • DATE TBD
Join us and learn how to reduce your full manuscript to an enticing, succinct book description literary agents, publishers, and readers can’t refuse. Whether your book is a work in progress or a complete manuscript, you can follow a few simple steps to write the book description your book deserves!
All photos are available in .jpeg format at 72DPI.
Awards & Recognition
Author Q & A
What is your inspiration for writing the story of a family healing from the loss of their mother?
We received the dreaded late-night phone call that my mother-in-law had passed unexpectedly and too young at 61. A friend came right away to babysit our daughters, so my husband and I could stay with his dad. We returned home the next afternoon surprised to hear our five-month-old had slept through the night for the very first time, which she continued to do for the next week. While lying in bed on the eighth night, I whispered to my husband, “Ever since your mom died, the baby has slept through.” Moments later he softly said, “Mom, if you’re here, you can go.” That night, and for months after, the baby woke up. I’m still not sure what I believe about those eight nights, but a question began to stir my imagination: “What if a mother is taken from her family before she is ready to go?” The answer became Waiting for Butterflies.
What is your favorite part of the novel?
THE END. Those are the two most glorious words I have ever written! Actually, the end is one of my favorite parts because surprises occur that even I didn’t expect. My other favorite part is when Maggie is entering Heaven. I enjoyed imagining what that experience might be like for her.
Your complex characters are the beating heart of your novel, but which of them was the hardest for you to write? Why?
Maggie was challenging to write, not as a mother but as a spirit. I had to define her as a spirit by determining the rules that governed her existence and by justifying her abilities and limitations. Then I had to be consistent with those rules throughout the story. Sometimes I’d have an idea that Maggie should do something, but then I’d have to change the idea because it was outside the boundaries I had already established for her.
You also run the blog, The MOM Journey. How is writing a novel different from writing a blog post?
Writing for a blog is much harder than writing a novel. When I write a novel, I create characters and conflicts in a fictional world. And while my story may expose parts of who I am, it’s not as revealing as a blog post. In order to build relationships with my blog followers, I have to allow for some vulnerability, so my writing will be authentic and my readers will connect. And I blog about the real world not a make-believe one where I can manipulate circumstances to fit my story. I have to reflect and analyze in an entirely different way to write posts that are (hopefully) meaningful and insightful for The MOM Journey.
This is your debut novel, but you’ve been teaching writing and literature for 23 years. How does your teaching experience influence your writing?
I became an English teacher because I loved to read and write. But once I stepped into my own classroom, I discovered my reading time was dominated by the literature I taught and the essays I graded, and my writing was limited to lesson plans. Then two baby girls entered the story, so I tucked away my writing dream. And that was okay because I loved teaching my students and raising my daughters. But my writing dream wiggled every now and then to remind me it was still there. Now I realize my career and motherhood didn’t put my writing on hold. They both prepared me to write Waiting for Butterflies. Teaching my students great literature made me a storyteller. Teaching my students to write made me a better writer. And being a mom, loving my family, gave me something meaningful to say.
How has writing this book, about the grief of a broken family, changed your relationship with your family?
Waiting for Butterflies speaks to two of my greatest fears as a mom: losing a child and dying before my children are grown. Writing this story allowed me to confront those fears on some level. Also, Rachel’s struggle reminds me to listen to my daughters, even when they don’t express their needs out loud. I appreciate how my husband finds new ways to connect with our girls as they mature into young women because he values that closeness. And I certainly want to hug my family a little tighter when we’re all together, to keep us close, to keep us whole.
Obviously, butterflies are an important symbol in Waiting for Butterflies. What made you choose to weave butterflies into your story?
The butterfly symbol was actually one of those pleasant surprises that happened during the writing process. The original title for the book was Her Children Shall Rise Up from Proverbs 31:28. But one day while in a bookstore, I saw a journal with this quote: If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies. The quote instantly illuminated the theme of the story for me, and butterflies became a unifying thread I wove throughout. The story would be missing a layer of meaning without the butterflies.
What do you ultimately want readers to take away from reading Waiting for Butterflies?
The characters in the book, Sam and Rachel especially, fight silent battles with guilt, and that guilt becomes a dividing factor in their family. But once they let go of it, they find forgiveness and redemption and their family is whole. Too often we hold on to past mistakes, our shame, because letting go seems impossible. But we have to let go and seek forgiveness in order to heal and move on. Maggie’s family exemplifies that.
Where can readers find out more about you and your work?
Readers can visit my website at KarenSargentBooks.com. To connect with me personally, I invite readers to check out The MOM Journey at KarenSargentBooks.com/blog. I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.