Novelist and Children's Author

Featured Book: Out of the Ruins

Posted by on Aug 13, 2014 in Faith, Fiction | 33 comments

From the back cover:


“God, save her. I’ll do anything. Just make her better. And You’d better be listening, God, because if You dare take her away . . . I’ll never speak to You again.”

Abby Fischer doesn’t know if God will answer her prayer for her dying sister. She doesn’t know if miracles really happen. And she certainly doesn’t know if the handsome Dr. Robert King, with his risky experimental treatment, is the one to remedy her doubts. When tragedy strikes and the mighty San Francisco earthquake shatters what is left of her heart, Abby wonders if God will hear her as she flees alone through burning streets. What will it take to show her that the One she doesn’t want to love is the One whose love will save her?


An interview with author Karen Barnett:

KarenBarnettAuthorPic copy


Finish this sentence. Inspirational fiction is . . .

sharing the transformational power of God’s love through story-telling.


What is one of your favorite scenes in Out of the Ruins?

That’s like being asked to choose your favorite child! Even though the book is filled with emotionally challenging scenes, I am drawn to the light-hearted moments. One of my favorites is when no-nonsense Abby is forced to don one of her sister’s fashionable gowns, complete with ruffles, lace, and an embarrassingly large bow on her rear end.


Oh, yes. I loved that scene. Are you anything like Abby Fischer, your main character? 

I based Abby on a much younger version of myself. Just like Abby, I was awkward, clumsy, and painfully shy. I envied my outgoing friends and dreamed of being a cheerleader or the lead in the school play. When I needed extra courage I’d ask, “How would ______ act in this situation?”


If you could cast her in a movie, whom would you choose?

It would be difficult to choose an actress. Perhaps Keira Knightley? I recently saw her in Begin Again and she gave a remarkable performance.


Describe Dr. Robert King. What actor would you hire to play him?

Robert is a young and ambitious doctor who dreams of curing cancer. He’s fascinated by puzzles, so when he meets shy Abby he’s immediately intrigued. I’m not sure which actor would portray him today, but he was at least partially inspired by Jonathan Crombie who played Gilbert Blythe in Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea. The fact that the character went to medical school is no coincidence!


What do you want your readers to take away from this novel?

I think we’re often tempted to push God away, either because of anger or guilt. I hope readers connect with Abby’s story and come to understand that no matter how alone we may feel, Jesus never leaves our side.

RuinsAbingdonCatlog copy


Do you have another novel in the works? Tell us about it.

Yes! Out of the Ruins is the first in a three book series called the Golden Gate Chronicles. Book two, Beyond the Ashes, releases in June of 2015. I am absolutely head-over-heels in love with this story. Ruby King Marshall (Robert’s sister) is a young widow trying to put her life back together. Where better to do that than a city in the midst of rebuilding? She travels to San Francisco to help earthquake victims, and instead finds romance with cancer researcher, Gerald Larkspur. When Gerald develops symptoms of the disease he’s striving to cure, will Ruby risk love—knowing time might be short?


I loved Out of the Ruins and look forward to Beyond the Ashes. It sounds wonderful! For fun, what do you like to snack on while you write?

Coffee and peanut M&Ms. J


Any fun hobbies?

I play several instruments—guitar, mandolin, Irish tin whistle, and hammered dulcimer. I also love to decorate elaborate birthday cakes for my kids. I’ve done everything from ballet slippers to a Doctor Who TARDIS with a working light.


How awesome. I bet your kids love your cakes! Thank you, Karen, for stopping by.


Thanks, Sherry! I enjoyed chatting with you. J


Karen is offering a copy of Out of the Ruins to one of you. Please answer the following question in the comment box along with your e-mail address so that I can contact you if you’re the winner, which I will randomly choose Thursday, August 21st.

Here’s the question. Karen asks:

Sherry asked which actors would portray my main characters. I’m curious—if your life were made into a movie, who would play YOU?


About the author:

Karen Barnett is the acclaimed author of Mistaken and has also been published in Guideposts magazine. She lives in Albany, Oregon, with her husband, two children, and a dachshund named Mystery.

You can learn more about Karen and her books at:



Next week: Sarah Sundin and her book In Perfect Time




Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. KayLee from NY

    I have always loved Patrick Swayze for a male actor. For myself, I think I would pick Melissa Gilbert.

    • Sherry Kyle

      I haven’t seen Melissa Gilbert in anything lately, but I do LOVE her in LHOTP. Brings back great childhood memories.

  2. Karen G

    I love Andie MacDowell and Dylan Neal on Cedar Cove, so I would pick them. I am dying to read Out of the Ruins and have it on my wish list. The library has not ordered it yet. Hope I get it soon.

  3. Sherry Kyle

    I’ve been away taking my daughter back to college, but I’m back now.

    As for me, I’d choose Meg Ryan or Helen Hunt to play me in a movie depending on if it’s a comedy or a drama. Haha

    On a side note: in order to be entered in the giveaway, you need to answer Karen’s question AND provide a way for me to contact you if you are chosen as the winner.

    Tell your friends to enter! The more the merrier.

  4. jean bucrk

    I really would love an opportunity to read one of your books. I’m so glad that I have an opportunity to enter this giveaway thank you.

  5. Sheri Mast

    If my life were made into a movie, I would want Sarah Drew to play me. She is just so expressive! Can’t wait to read Out of the Ruins!

    • Sherry Kyle

      I’m not real familiar with Sarah Drew and had to look her up. Oh, yeah, she’s in Grey’s Anatomy. You’re right! She is expressive. 🙂

  6. anne

    An interesting interview. Who would play me is a dilemma? I think that when I was young Sandra Bullock and now Helen Mirren.

  7. Diane Estrella

    Don’t know who I’d be, but I’d like my husband to be played by Hugh Jackman. He’s handsome like my hubby. 😉

    • Karen Barnett

      Wow, Hugh Jackman, huh? I’m not sure who would play mine. He’s follicly-challenged (which I like!), so maybe someone like Vin Diesel? That’s a toughie.

  8. Karen Barnett

    Hmm. I wonder who would play me? Back in college, I had several friends tell me that I looked like Jennifer Grey from Dirty Dancing fame. I don’t much anymore… Lol!

  9. Rachael Merritt

    Well, I don’t know many actors now.. But being on a farm and my personality..Melissa Gilbert could probably do it. I’d have loved to have had Audrey Hepburn….but she hasd a far too classy look and talk to play me! 🙂

  10. Pat Lee

    If my life were made into a movie, I would choose Meg Ryan as she was in “You’ve Got Mail” I have no idea what Meg is doing these days.

  11. Katie Edgar

    I would love it if Candace Cameron Bure played me! My life is totally different than hers but she is a strong role model to look up to so that would be neat! Thank you for this opportunity! katie07edgar(at)gmail(dot)com

  12. Laura Bennet

    Great question! A few folks have said my book might be a good movie so I’m glad you asked! Not that it will, but just in case, I should have someone lined up, right? I picture Diane Lane as me. Especially in the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun” because that plot feels a little like how my life played out. Out of the Ruins sounds great. I look forward to reading it.

  13. Marci Seither

    Hi Sherry, loved the blog interview..If my life were made into a movie I am pretty sure Sandra Bullock would play HAAAA HAAA ha! Seriously…. I have no idea what type of a movie it would be…situational comedy about a MOM who made up book reports in school to avoid reading and ends up becoming a writer… that is really going to happen.

    but…would love to read Karen’s book!

    • Karen Barnett

      I could see Sandra Bullock playing you, Marci. Or Courteney Cox. I only remember her from her Friends days, I haven’t seen her more recent series. Did you really make up book reports? Wow. That would take far more creative energy than just reading the book, wouldn’t it? 🙂

  14. Rachel Poff

    I would have to say I think Helen Hunt could play me well and do my life story justice. Although my husband says Goldie Hawn. I think he is flattering.

    • Karen Barnett

      Haha! I love both those choices for you, Rachel! Steve and I used to religiously watch Helen Hunt and Paul Reiser in Mad About You back when we were first married.

  15. Karen Barnett

    Thanks for the great interview, Sherry! It’s always fun to chat with you. 🙂

  16. Karen O'Connor

    Thanks for a great interview and response, Sherry and Karen. I’d love to read Out of the Ruins.

    If my life were made into a movie as I am today, I’d love it if Diane Keaton played me!