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Including faith element has helped Karen Kingsbury sell more than 25 million books

Many modern novels come up short by ignoring the faith of their characters, bestselling author Karen Kingsbury said.

“A story well told has the physical, intellectual, emotional and the spiritual content,” she says. “So I feel like a lot of people are afraid of the spiritual. They just cut it out, which makes it a shallower story, even if it’s a $100 million budget. We have the privilege to tell stories from a Christian point of view.”

Kingsbury’s books have sold more than 25 million copies and have been made into television series and movies, including ones on the Hallmark Channel and Pure Flix. Kingsbury and her son, Tyler Russell, recently released a children’s book, “Being Baxters.” Her next novel, “Just Once,” is scheduled to be released in November, and her new TV series, “A Thousand Tomorrows”, launched this year on Pure Flix.

kingsburyA story can include drama and realism without being graphic, she said. For example, “A Thousand Tomorrows” implies that the lead character, a single man who is a cowboy, sleeps with other women.

“Cody’s the guy that takes some girls casually from the bar when he’s out on the circuit in different towns, but we don’t have to show that — we understand what goes on in bedrooms,” she said. “So we can just show that the girl is leaving his house in the morning, fully dressed and we go, ‘Oh, he’s that kind of guy.’ We can’t cheapen it, but we also can select what we show.”

The realistic element, she said, also includes how the cowboys entertain themselves.

“They’re cowboys, and they’re bull riders,” she said. “They’re going out and having drinks after a rodeo. That’s real. Like, if they were to go out and have iced tea, people are gonna say, ‘Come on.’ And then they don’t believe the story. I love Jesus more than anything. My worldview is completely informed by my love for scripture. But if you don’t tell an honest story, you’ve lost people.”

A story of redemption must include an element of brokenness and sin, Russell said.

“He has to come from somewhere to open up his heart to the Lord,” he said. “We are Christians; we do see things through a Christian lens. But I think that that doesn’t always have to be perfect and tied up at the end. That’s not real life. Not everything has the happy ending this side of heaven that we would like. We know that God, even in our ugliness and in our brokenness, can redeem it.”

In 2022, Kingsbury left Hallmark Production where where four of her books had been turned into popular television shows.  Production will now be controlled by Karen Kingsbury Productions and will have more opportunities to stream on services like PureFlix.

Some of her other books that have been successfully turned into television productions include: Maggie’s Christmas MiracleA Time to Dance, and The Bridge, which appeared on the Hallmark Channel in 2017, 2016, and 2015. Also, Like Dandelion Dust (Center Street, 2006) appeared in theaters in 2009.

–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice

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