Born and raised in the Midwest, Katie Ganshert’s point-of-view took a major detour during a trip to Kenya in 2006 for HIV/AIDS outreach. After she returned, she found solace in writing.
She finished her first full-length novel, a step that marked the beginning of her professional literary journey. Several manuscripts and six years later, her debut novel, Wildflowers from Winter, has just been released.
Still a Midwestern girl, Katie, along with her husband and their son, now resides in Iowa.
Your writing journey began after a real-life journey. Can you tell us about that?
I went to Nairobi, Kenya several years ago to do HIV/AIDS outreach. It was something I’d wanted to do for a long time. When I went, the people I met and the things I saw forever altered me. I came home with words exploding inside me. I had a story I needed to tell. So I sat down at the computer and wrote my first novel. I felt like I left part of my heart in Africa. Now my husband and I are adopting from the Congo, so a piece of my heart is with our child.
How does your faith play into your work?
Hugely. My faith is my primary source of inspiration. I can’t imagine writing a book that doesn’t explore faith to some capacity. Since it plays such an integral part in my life, it usually ends up playing an integral part in the lives of my characters as well.
Wildflowers from Winter is a coming-home love story set in small-town Iowa about the bonds of friendship and God’s ability to bring beauty and life from the barren seasons in our lives.
The main character is a young woman named Bethany Quinn, an up-and-coming architect determined to create a life far removed from her past. But when tragedies strike, she finds herself in the last place she ever wanted to be—home.
Besides entertainment, what do you hope readers will take away from it?
I hope my readers will come away knowing that no matter how strong the grief, hope can grow up from loss. I also hope they will see that we worship a God who is in the business of redemption. He is the master at breathing life into that which feels dead and barren.
God often uses our stories to teach us when we’re writing them. What did you learn (about life, faith, and/or even yourself) in the process of writing this book?
I love this question, because you are so right. There always seems to be one particular takeaway God wants me to learn while writing a book. For Wildflowers, the lesson didn’t so much come from the story as the process of getting this story published. I had to surrender this story over to God more times than I can count. It got rejections in all shapes and sizes. From contests it didn’t win, to agents who weren’t interested, to editors who decided to pass. But I kept surrendering and trusting that God had a plan and purpose for these words and after lots of waiting, it found a home. I learned that God’s timing is perfect. I also learned that no doesn’t have to mean no forever. Often times it just mean not right now.
A few fun questions…
When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?
Ice cream! Preferably mint chocolate chip from Whiteys. Two scoops on top of a brownie and covered in Hershey’s syrup. I am a sugar addict.
This website features musicians as well as writers. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?
Oh my goodness, no! I am incredibly tone deaf and I have no idea how to read music. I’m always in awe of people who are gifted in this way. It might be why one of the characters, Robin, is so musically talented.
If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?
I would hope I’d be a praise and worship song. I want to live a life of praise and worship. I don’t often succeed, but I’m a work in progress.
In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?
Oh my goodness, that is such a fun question! My husband and I just spent the last ten minutes discussing it. He says I’m the strong, female lead because I have goals and I go after them. I was thinking I was more of the little girl trying to walk in high heels. So often, I find myself wishing I were further along than I am. Always eager for that next phase in life. Thankfully, I’m getting better at slowing down and enjoying where I am in the journey.
I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.
I’m a dog lover too! Especially dogs of the big goofy lab variety. We have an almost-eight year old black lab named Bubba. He’s been with us since the beginning of our marriage. He the sweetest, calmest, goofiest dog you’ll ever meet. Our son loves him to pieces.
Thanks, Katie! It’s nice to have you as a guest at DivineDetour.
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