What Every Writer Can Learn About Creating True-to-Life Characters from Karen Campbell Prough
Karen Campbell Prough has written three novels in her series about her main character, Ella Dessa. I have been touched by her first two books, The Girl Called Ella Dessa and Within the Candle’s Glow. Her descriptions of life in the mountains is beautiful, drawing the reader deeply into the setting.
I’ve enjoyed getting to know Karen through an online acquaintance through our mutual agent, Linda S. Glaz, and also we are fellow authors at LPC Books, though under different imprints. Her novels have been published under the Firefly Southern Fiction imprint.
Let’s welcome Karen Campbell Prough to Let’s Chat this week and learn about her inspiration for writing such realistic stories.
Karen, please tell us about your writing journey. How did it start?
When I was young, there were great storytellers in our family. Many evening meals ended with us lingering at the table, while my Grandpa Reynolds or other adults told stories about bear hunts and funny things that happened down through the years. I have cherished those moments. And as I learned to read, I loved the authors from the past. James Oliver Curwood was my favorite. So, if you combine the times I listened to stories about my families’ past and the times spent reading about the northern wilderness, you would have the reason my imagination was demanding to be set free. I believe it is why I wanted to be a writer . . . a storyteller.
What made you decide to write inspirational fiction? And more specifically historical romance?
I don’t think I sat down and just decided to write inspirational fiction or historical romance. I wanted to write decent stories, but also books that would tug at someone’s emotions and deep feelings. We are not perfect people and being able to accept the fact and realize there is always hope . . . we can grow stronger. Perhaps, a person can find some slight healing, when they read of a character’s struggles and triumphs over the bad in our human world. Historical romance ties in with many time periods from our past and is written by huge numbers of good authors. I wanted to show how love and acceptance can heal and bring people through adversities. Inspirational fiction can bring back hope and comfort to a reader who has experienced sadness they cannot talk about. We all need to accept the fact that God does care.
How has God guided you through this process?
I do believe God has helped me gently write about touches of sadness and hopelessness in my books. You can’t experience the feeling of hope, unless you have an inkling that it exists. Characters need to be “real” people—not just have wonderful things happen to them. I do understand there are some people who do not like my style of writing, which sometimes lets bad things happen to good characters. That’s perfectly fine. Each writer approaches the presentation of life in different ways.
God has helped me connect with the right people at writer’s conferences. He knew the timing. He also connected me with the right agency, Hartline Literary Agency, years before their agent, Linda Glaz, agreed to represent me. God knew I still had a bunch of learning to do.
The fact that you understand the deep feelings of your characters comes through clearly in your writing, Karen.
Do you have any scriptures you’d like to share that have inspired you?
A scripture in Hebrews helped me keep writing, even when publication seemed like a dream and not a reality. The words told me not to throw away my confidence:
“Cast not away, therefore, your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.” Hebrews 10:35 KJV
Thank you for sharing this verse. It challenges me where I lack–in self-confidence–as we trust that will come from God as we trust in Him.
What would you like to tell us about your latest release, With This Peace?
With This Peace is book three in a series about the life of a young woman named Ella Dessa. The story will take the reader into the wilderness of Florida and into the path of a hurricane. Ella Dessa and her young family face the awful storm as it cuts a path across Florida during 1848. There are struggles and sadness in this book, but peace remains the theme throughout the pages. And the peaceful river, which Ella Dessa finds and bathes in, is now called the Peace River in our modern times.
I look forward to reading it!
Karen has generously offered to giveaway three (3!) books to three individual randomly chosen commenters. She is giving away one Kindle e-book copy of each of her three books, A Girl Called Ella Dessa, Within the Candle’s Glow, and With This Peace.
More about Karen Campbell Prough:
Karen Campbell Prough writes Southern Historical Fiction and a broad range of short stories. Her stories quite often have romance or mysteries with a special twist. Seven of her short stories have been published in a variety of magazines, and she has won awards for them and two books. She knows her life-long desire to write comes from God. The heartfelt urge to be a storyteller has been with her since childhood, and she loves to tell stories that will linger with a reader … long after the last page is turned.
Find her on the web at: