Karen, tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Karen Campbell Prough. I’m a pro—that’s how you say my last name. I was born in Detroit, Michigan and lived north of there in Cheboygan, before moving to Virginia for seven years. Even though I have now lived in the Deep South for many years, I still shiver if it gets below 80 degrees. My husband will testify to that fact.
I love dark chocolate. And my grown children know that’s all they have to buy me for a gift, and I’ll be content.
Instead of shopping in the best stores in town, I’d rather hike and camp in the mountains. I spend most of my days in blue jeans, with a nice shirt, and no shoes. But I do dress up for church. I have three red chickens, a white dog turning thirteen, a beautiful elderly white dove, and an old cat. Most of my family lives within ten miles of me, and I been known to take five grandchildren on camping trips, on tours through a cave, or on overnight stays in a barn.
How and when did you begin to write?
I’ve been writing short stories or telling them since I was a child. I never seemed to have problems coming up with a story line and fleshing it out. But I must say, I think my characters write the books. They only need me to type them.
How did you first become published?
I always wanted to have something published. But it wasn’t until I was in my late twenties that I actually got a couple of short stories published.
I entered a few contests, and within a short time had a short story published, which helped me win a very expensive—free meal at a fancy restaurant. Down through the years, more stories have been accepted for publication. But my dream was to have a book published.
My first book, which was published this past April, is titled, The Girl Called Ella Dessa. This book will take you back to a more simple way of life, but also a very rough existence in the mountains and hills above Dahlonega, Georgia—in 1836. A twelve-year-old girl, with terrible scars on her neck and chest, finds herself abandoned and left alone in a rugged cabin. But hope and love grows when people in the mountain cove discover what has happened. They help her and accept her into their lives, turning darkness to light.
Can you give our readers a short description of your book and what led you to write this particular story?
The Girl Called Ella Dessa touches on the plight of so many children, down through the ages, since man walked out of the Garden of Eden. Only when there are people willing to rescue and give of themselves, do the tragedies of life grow into cherished journeys—headed toward love and a future. The characters direct the stories I type. I never know where the story line will go as I write the first sentence or paragraph. I know that is hard to understand for some people, but it’s the way I write. I know my involvement with GAL (Guardian ad Litem), as a spokes person for a few children—who can’t speak up for themselves—has given me more awareness and compassion for what others do not see. So, those thoughts have added to Ella Dessa’s story.
What are you working on now?
Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas has contracted the second book connected with Ella Dessa’s continuing story. I will be working on edits this week. I believe it will be released sometime in the spring of 2016. I have finished a third book, and now, I’m working on a fourth book about Florida in the 1800’s. And I have a couple of mysteries finished, sitting, and waiting.
Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
My advice for beginning writers is to write with passion. Writing is fun. Put your feelings and beliefs in your work and don’t give up. What you write represents you—what touches you, matters to you, and sings in you. Don’t write what you think the world wants to hear, because the world does not have one voice. What touches your heart will mirror another person’s struggles.
Don’t give up. Search for the right path. Don’t send out manuscripts to random agents or publishing houses. You will waste time sitting, waiting, and hoping. Go to writers’ conferences when you can or do research. Find an agent who loves to represent your type of work. Ask other writers. Don’t be afraid to get insight from them. They have already faced the struggles and can understand what you are facing. Don’t hound them but approach with courtesy. Everyone is busy and overwhelmed by responsibilities that face people in the publishing business. Somewhere out there is a person willing to sit and listen. Take your time searching for the right agent or writer, who can add to your confidence and direct you in the way God wants you to go.
How can my readers find out more about you and your work?
My book can be found on Amazon. I am on Twitter and Facebook. I also have a blog, which will be going through a redesign, as soon as there are people available to help me correct a few things.