Saturday, January 25, 2014

Interview with Kim Vogal Sawyer

Today we have the honor of hosting Kim Vogel Sawyer, author of thirty-one novels. Her latest, Echoesof Mercy, released January 21st. Kim is a best-selling, award-winning author with more than one million copies of her books currently in print. Awards include the ACFW Carol Award, the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Sawyer lives in central Kansas, where she and her retired military husband, Don, run a bed-and-breakfast inn with the help of their feline companions. She savors time with her daughters and grandchildren.

Backcover copy:  
Sometimes a secret must be kept for the truth to be revealed.  
When a suspicious accident occurs at the famous Dinsmore Chocolate Factory in Sinclair, Kansas, Caroline Lang goes undercover as a factory worker to investigate the circumstances surrounding the event and how the factory treats its youngest employees—the child workers. Caroline’s fervent faith, her difficult childhood, and compassionate heart drove her to her job as an investigator for the Labor Commission and she is compelled to see children freed from such heavy adult responsibilities, to allow them to pursue an education.

Oliver Dinsmore, heir to the Dinsmore candy dynasty, has his own investigation to conduct. Posing as a common worker known as “Ollie Moore,” he aims to find out all he can about the family business before he takes over for his father. Caroline and Oliver become fast friends, but tension mounts when the two find themselves at odds about the roles of child workers. Hiding their identities becomes even more difficult when fate brings them together over three children in desperate need. When all is revealed, will the truth destroy the love starting to grow between them?

Kim, thank you for stopping by to visit with us today! Congratulations on your new novel, Echoes of Mercy, tell us what instigated you writing it?
The story seed was planted on a Sunday evening in church. A man came and shared images of Hutchinson, Kansas, history. One of the photos was of a chocolate factory, and he told us the factory’s manager was found one morning in the bottom of an elevator shaft, dead from a broken neck. It was never proven whether he fell or was murdered and dumped there. I started thinking about reasons why someone would want a manager dead, and the story grew from there. A rather morbid start, I suppose, but as with all my books, it has a happy ending.

Neat, yet sadly tragic story. Can you share with us your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities (which include, among a ton of others, running a B&B)?
I have to be very careful to protect my writing time. I don’t want to neglect my family or the guests at our B&B, but at the same time I have a commitment to my publisher (and future readers!) to write the best story I can possibly write. So not allowing outside distractions to eat into the time I need to write is a real challenge. I’m very much a creature of habit, so if I can stick to my routine--Bible study, prayer, share a scripture on Facebook, then dive into story--I get a lot more accomplished.
Well, your novels never disappoint me! Echoes of Mercy is your 31st book. You received a box of them on December 9th. On your Facebook page, you said, “I'm always so surprised when these arrive without fanfare. Shouldn't there be fanfare??? Book #31...and it still thrills me as much as the first one did in 2006. Thank You, Lord!” Can you tell us how you received your first book contract? I was actually in the middle of parent-teacher conferences at the elementary school where I taught 5th grade when an email landed in my inbox informing me Barbour’s Heartsong line wanted to publish Dear John. It was VERY hard to stay focused on conferences after that! Two weeks later, to the day, my agent called to tell me Bethany House wanted Waiting for Summer’s Return as well as a second story. So March 2005 was a very fun month for me!

How exciting ~ what a memorable parent-teacher conference! What advice can you give to aspiring novelists to produce a sound novel that’ll sell?
1)  Write the very best book you can. Study craft books, read good novels and study them for what works well, and practice, practice, practice. HONE your craft.

2)  Research the market. Publishers have preferences, and if you submit something they aren’t interested in seeing, you can guarantee a rejection. So know who wants what, and how they want it presented. Be professional in dealing with publishers.

3)  Learn as much as you can about the publishing industry by attending conferences, participating in on-line writing groups, joining a critique group, network with other writers... Educating yourself is always a good thing.
Awesome advice, thank you. After 31 novels, where do your story and character ideas come from?
From EVERYWHERE. From newspaper articles, vintage photos, unique items in antique shops, stately old buildings and ramshackle barns... I see stories everywhere I look. If I live to be 102, I will not use up all the ideas floating around in my head.

How do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling?
I sincerely hope they play a key role in everything I do, including storytelling. It is so important to me to involve all three aspects of humanity--body, spirit, and soul--in my stories. There is nothing eternal in life EXCEPT a relationship with God through the belief in His Son, Jesus Christ. Without Him, we are hopeless, and it is always my prayer that HOPE shines through in my stories so brightly the readers catch the flame. I want to do more than entertain; I want to edify.
And edify you do. Time for a little fun, if you could take a plane to ONE place, where would you go? If you could bring one person with you, who would it be? And if you could eat only one kind of food during your trip, what would that be?
This is hard, because there are several places I’d like to go and I’d take different people on each journey. BUT, since I have choose one, I’ll say I’d go to Australia. I’d take Daddy because he really wants to go there, and we would both be happy to feast on chocolate the entire time. LOL

Chocolate . . . I'm with you there! Now, I know teens who loved your Katie Lambright Series. A clean read for a teen is hard to come by. Are there any plans to continue this series? Oh, I wish! I would love to take Katy through high school and on into college, but at this point there are no plans to continue the series.
Tell us about future books planned.
In May the deepest story of my heart, Through the Deep Waters, will release from WaterBrook. The heroine, Dinah, longs to become a Harvey girl to receive the respect and admiration she’s never experienced due to being raised in a Chicago brothel. Then late in 2014, watch for the first in a three-book Old Order Mennonite contemporary series. I haven’t done contemporary for a while, so I hope readers will enjoy the step away from the past.

Oh, a contemporary series, fun! Kim, thank you for your time today, it was fun! And congratulations again on your newest novel Echoes of Mercy.
Thanks so much. I enjoyed visiting with you. :o)


  1. Great interview! And like Kim, when I protect my quiet time, my day goes so much better!

  2. What a wonderful interview. I loved learning more about Kim Vogal Sawyer. Her books sounds like some very interesting reads. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Melanie,
      You are welcome ~ Kim is a sweetie :-)

  3. I loved reading about more about Kim and her writing process. Such a fascinating story behind the story of ECHOES OF MERCY! I'm looking forward to reading this book!

    1. Britney,
      Thanks for reading the post ~ you won't be disappointed when you read Kim's novels!

  4. Great way to start a story. I love when that happens!