Mixed Blessings

Many Redemption fans have latched on to one or two characters as their favorites, following them from book to book. One of Karen's own favorite characters in the Baxter family is Ashley.

"She is very real, very flawed, and yet compassionate, Karen explains. "Ashley and her mother, Elizabeth, grow much closer in Reunion."

Another storyline that strikes close to Karen's heart is the situation of Erin and Sam's efforts to adopt a child. "My husband and I were going through the adoption process at the same time as some good friends of ours," she recalls. "Our friends experienced some of the things Erin and Sam go through in Reunion. For example, a birth mother changed her mind, even though that wasn't the best situation for the child. Our friends eventually moved to international adoption. Erin and Sam are led through the domestic situation in the novel, and find God's will there."

God has taught Karen many lessons through her experiences with the Baxters. "Writing the Redemption series has helped me understand better that life cannot be measured in minutes or hours, days or even years. It is not the number of days in our lives that make the difference. It's the amount of life in the days. In other words, carpe diem-seize the day-because this day that God has given us is His present to us."

What's next for Karen? Two new series are in the works: the Firstborn series and the Sunrise series. Each will have four novels, and alert readers will spot various members of the Baxter clan as background characters.

Even though a bright future beckons, Karen finds it hard to say goodbye. "Reunion was a very hard book for me to write," she admits. "I don't want to let go of the Baxters, or even put them on the back burner as peripheral characters! I will miss spending time with them. On the other hand, I'm already dreaming of another big Baxter family book."

As the old song says, goodbye doesn't mean forever!

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