On the Road with Jan Karon

I wrote this article in 1998 after spending the day with Jan Karon. It is out of date, but since Miss Karon no longer grants interviews, I thought there were some who might be interested in the story of how she came to faith. ES.

You need more endurance than the Energizer bunny to interview Jan Karon, best-selling author of the Mitford books–four novels about life in a small town in the mountains of North Carolina.

Jan starts early and goes late without taking a break. Before 10 a.m. she’s at the Richmond Women’s Club mingling with the crowd before she speaks to a packed audience. Then the ladies of the Richmond Women’s Club whisk us off to lunch at the five-star Jefferson Hotel.

During lunch, all eyes are on Jan, all conversation directed her way. I ease my notebook out of my purse and begin to take notes. Though I’m not scheduled to interview Jan until later in the day, our hostesses are asking her so many great questions! Then we’re off again, this time to a book signing at Barnes and Noble in Midlothian, a suburb of Richmond. We enter the store at 2 p.m. to find hundreds of fans lined up, some waiting since morning to meet the author who brought them the little town with the big heart.

I’m scheduled to interview Jan after the book signing, before she heads off to yet another engagement. I look at the lines of people waiting for her to autograph their books and know I can’t interview her near the bookstore without being mobbed by her fans.

By 6 p.m. we are in a back room of the bookstore amidst boxes, piles of books, desks, and empty pans of orange marmalade cake. Suddenly Jan, who was so vibrant a moment ago while speaking to a ten-year-old fan, looks exhausted. Looking closely I see that her eyes are red around the rims. It has been a long day. I am tired and I haven’t been in the spotlight all day.

Jan’s popular books about small town life are the fulfillment of her childhood dreams to be a preacher and a writer. She started preaching on the front porch of her grandma’s house in rural North Carolina at the age of six. But she stopped short when her grandmother, who raised her, said, “Girls can’t be preachers.”

She wrote her first novel at age ten, then hid it under her vanity so no one would find the one cuss word it contained. “I figured Rhett Butler had gotten away with one, so I could, too,” she recalls with a smile. “But my sister told on me. We called my grandmother Mama. ‘Mama,’ my sister said, ‘Janice wrote a book and it has Damn in it!’ Mama gave me a whipping. There are spankings and whippings. This was a whipping. That was the last time I put a cuss word in a book.”

By the time Jan was seventeen she was married with a baby girl, and divorced four years later. Jan, who has only eight years of formal education, found a job as a receptionist for an advertising firm. Over three decades, she worked her way to the top, rising to the position of creative vice president. Worldly sucess, however, did not fill the hole in her heart. At the age of 42, Jan gave her life to Jesus. Six years later, she left advertising to embrace God’s call to write.

“It wasn’t easy,” she recalls, but eventually her first novel, At Home in Mitford (Penguin) and her fourth novel, Out to Canaan (Viking) reached the number five spot on the New York Times bestseller list. Her publisher, Viking-Penguin, says her four novels have sold more than three million copies. And there is more to come. Her next novel in the Mitford series, A New Song, will be in bookstores on April 12, 1999. Her children’s book, Miss Fannie’s Hat–a book about her Grandmother–was released by Augsburg Fortress in February. Miss Fannie’s Hat is already in its third printing and recently hit the Publisher’s Weekly bestseller list.

Karon’s success is especially remarkable because her books contain a charming cast of characters who openly quote scripture and espouse a moral, Christian way of life. In each novel, someone says the sinner’s prayer–in book one, a convict who is hiding in the church attic; in book four, a profane, alcoholic construction superintendent.

Karon is a popular speaker at women’s clubs, churches, and bookstores where she often reads a passage from one of her books where a character gives their life to Jesus. She wants the people who hears her speak to know how they can give their lives to Christ, too.

Today Jan, age 61, lives in a pink cottage filled with antiques in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, a town much like the fictitious town of Mitford. After a decade in Blowing Rock, the town has become home. Her daughter Candace, a photojournalist, lives over the mountain in Asheville. Her seventy-seven-year-old mother lives in nearby Boone, home of the Franklin Graham family.

Virtue joined Jan during a whirlwind book tour of Richmond, Virginia. Watching her interact with her fans, one thing is clear: She loves them– especially the children. “If you love people,” she told me, “they will love you back.”

Our interview focused on two life-changing events–her decision to give her life to Jesus and her decision to leave a successful career in advertising to embrace God’s call to write.

ES: How did you come to faith in Christ?

JK: I was forty-two years old, when I came totally, brutally to the end of myself. I came out of a torn family where there was lots of divorce. I married young and had a daughter by the time I was seventeen, then divorced. I have only eight years of formal education, so life hasn’t been easy.

I was at the point where I didn’t even know how to feel pain or how to deal with pain. I would just choke it down and go on. The pain was killing me. I knew something was terribly, terribly wrong. Something was missing in my spirit.

Pascal once said that we are all born with a God-shaped vacuum. I was feeling the enormity of that vacuum. The vacuum was getting bigger and deeper and more painful all the time.

I had tried nearly everything including Eastern religions and Judaism. I began to ask all the questions that an unbeliever asks. Looking back, I see that the Holy Spirit was working on me, guiding me.

Lying in bed one night, I asked Christ to come into my heart. I just said, “Lord Jesus, I don’t know what this is all about. I just want you to save me, to touch me. Please, I can’t do this anymore.” And he did.

ES: How did you know what to say? Had someone told you how to give your life to Jesus?

JK: My grandmother had told me about Jesus Christ when I was young, but I had no ears to hear. Christ is often depicted as a policeman, you pick your nose and you are going to hell, honey. Not always, of course. For years, I just didn’t get it with Jesus.

Even after I prayed that night in bed, I didn’t know if Jesus had come into my heart or not. I didn’t know what it was supposed to feel like to be saved. I didn’t know exactly what I had done.

ES: Were you going to church at the time?

JK: No, but the first thing I did was start looking for a church. I realized that I wanted to go to church. I took my eleven-year-old niece, Jennifer, and started visiting churches.

I was starving for the word of God. Thirsty as a dry sponge. I started hearing the word of God and soaking it up. And something began to swell up in me and I realized how lost I had been.

Thanks be to God, I ended up in a Bible-teaching church that gave altar calls. It was by God’s grace that I found this church because no one was telling me where to go. I didn’t know any born-again Christians who could tell me where to go to church because I didn’t live in that realm.

Thank God for altar calls. When I die, I have requested in my will that the preacher given a soul-saving sermon with an altar call at my funeral.

I remember praying the night I was saved, “Lord, be easy with me, be gradual. Please don’t put me out on the street corner with a tambourine and a bunch of tracts in my hand. I will be so embarrassed, I will be so humiliated, please don’t do that!”

ES: We all have something in our lives that we are afraid God might ask us to do.

JK: Oh yes! Of course, the Lord Jesus is a gentleman, so he was very gradual. He began to reveal himself to me in wondrous, wondrous ways. I had been smoking unfiltered Pall Malls for twenty-two years. Right at the time of my salvation he took the craving from me. That’s a miracle. He removed the craving to demonstrate himself. He didn’t have to show himself to me. He didn’t have to prove himself to me, but he did.

Slowly, gradually, my life began to change. It is still changing.

ES: This morning at the Richmond Women’s Club you read the place in your book: Out to Canaan where Buck Leeper, the profane, violent construction superintendent, prays the sinner’s prayer. It made me cry. I almost expected you to give an altar call at the end.

JK: I’m learning that everybody wants to hear the gospel. We think nobody wants to hear that old stuff, but they want–they are waiting–for you to tell them.

I knew pretty early on in my Christian walk that it better be for Him if I am going to do anything. Otherwise, why bother? Why bother? Why even get out of bed, if I can’t do it for Him who has done everything for me?

ES: Can you tell us about your decision to leave advertising and write novels?

JK: I was 48 years old. I was working myself to a frazzle in advertising, a career I had never wanted and never enjoyed. But I had just eight years of formal education, so I had no ability to say, Oh, I’ll just leave my job and go teach at the University or do this or that profession. God had equipped me to write. How do you make a living writing? You go into advertising. Stumbled into it, actually.

I was very good at it. I made enough money to raise my daughter and to keep body and soul together. I won all the right awards, because, there again, why do it if you can’t win the awards? Why do it if you can’t be the very best you can be? It is terribly important to me to be as good as I can possibly be, no matter what the cost.

I just started praying, saying, “Lord, I don’ t know how to do this. I don’t have a clue.” I was in debt, like most people. I had a nice home and a SUV. I said, “If you want me to do this, Lord, show me how.”

I began to keep a journal. It is very, very important to keep a journal. Everyone needs to keep a journal. You hear it all the time, but we think, that’s for somebody else, I don’t know how. I tell women, “You’re not writing to win an award, you’re writing to express something deep in your soul. If you want to hide it from your family, you don’t have to feel guilty about it. You may hide it from your family. You have the privilege of doing that, the liberty to do that.”

For two years I prayed fervently. There was no thunderbolt, God just spoke to my heart and said, “Walk, I am with you and I will never leave you.” And I did.

I quit my job and cut my lifestyle in half. I sold my home in Raleigh, traded my new jeep Cherokee for a rusty Toyota and learned to make soup from chicken bones! Riding around in that car with rusty fenders was a blow to my pride and a good lesson. I hope I never forget the lessons I learned. I still make soup from chicken bones. I eat all the meat off the bones, then put them in a pot with onions and spices and simmer. Then I add potatoes or rice or vegetables. This is how all of us should be living, even if we have increased means.

I frantically started announcing all over the country that I was out, that I was freelancing. I was on my own. No one was writing me a check. No one was paying my health benefits. Nothing. It was the Lord and me.

I got plenty of moral support from my family. My brother said, come live with us. I moved from Raleigh to his home in the mountains of North Carolina, to the little town of Blowing Rock. I lived with them for three to four months.

I struggled and struggled. I tried to write the book that I thought I was supposed to write and I couldn’t write it. It was just the worst old thing you ever want to see. It was a mess.

I said, “I can’t do this. I’m going to go down with this ship. I’m doomed.” Then the Lord said, “Keep going and don’t look back.”

Then one night lying in bed I saw a simple mental image of a priest walking down the road. He was met by a dog the size of a Buick. It was Father Tim and Barnabas.

I started to write what I saw. I started on faith and I marched on faith for the next two or three years. I am still marching on faith.

I wasn’t sure if what I was writing was a book. I didn’t know that I had anything that anybody would want to read, but I wrote what I felt was right. I wrote what I felt people–a few people–might want to read.

When I had written two chapters, I went to the editor of the local paper, The Blowing Rocket, and asked him, “What do you think I have here?” He said, “I don’t know, let’s run it.” He ran a half-page every week for two years. In payment, I got a free copy of the newspaper, which costs 10 cents.

After I had written 170,000 words I started sending the manuscript to publishers. Finally somebody–a Christian publisher–bought it. They had very little distribution so I started distributing my own book. I talked to book sellers and faxed press releases. I would call bookstores and say, “Do you have At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon?” If they said, “No,” I would say, “I’m the author, I’ll send you a copy.” Then God sent me an agent, and a wonderful editor at Viking.

ES: What did you feel during those years when you were struggling to write and sell your book?

JK: It was hard, very hard. I sometimes despaired so bitterly. But I just knew that God was with me. I just knew it. I tell people now, “Keep going, don’t look back, never give up, never give up No matter what. Never.”

God used my experience in advertising to help me endure. Now, I thank God I was in advertising. In advertising you pour your heart and soul into something, then you send it to the client and the account executive comes back and says, “We’re starting over.”

I would say, “Do you mean we have been working until two in the morning, giving it everything we’ve got–and we know this is the right campaign and the right strategy–and we’re starting over?”

He would say, “They don’t like it. We’re starting over. ”

God doesn’t waste anything. He used that bitter time to make me a better writer. Also, He used all those hours and days and weeks that I spent in recording studios in New York, directing and producing, to prepare me to be in the studio reading my own books when the time came. I learned to pick the music and to work with the producers. God didn’t waste that experience. He doesn’t waste anything.

Today I know, whatever agony, whatever angst we may have, whatever valley we may be going through, God will use this dark time for good. No matter what happens, God has promised that He will be with us in whatever tribulation or trial that comes. He may not remove us from it, but He will be with us in it.

ES: What is next?

JK: In my contract, I’ve agreed to write three more Mitford novels, a novella about Father Tim’s wedding, and a cookbook. A book every eighteen months. I really would like to write one every eight years.

ES: That is a lot of pressure.

JK: A lot of pressure.

ES: The characters in your books seem so real. I found myself wondering if some of them are real people. I especially wondered if you are Father Tim’s wife, Cynthia?

JK: People ask me that all the time. Cynthia and I have a lot in common. We both have blond hair, we both are involved in artistic, creative endeavors, but she is younger than I am and she has better legs. Quite frankly, I’m jealous.

After watching Jan share the gospel with the women in Richmond and speak with me in the back room of Barnes and Noble, I concluded that she’s right. She’s not Cynthia, she’s Father Tim. Two years ago, I left a successful career in science to write. After talking to Jan, I feel so encouraged. I felt that she was speaking to me personally–as well as to millions of her fans–when she said, “keep going.” Fifty years after Jan preached her first sermon on her grandmother’s porch, she has fulfilled, through her books, her childhood dreams of preaching. She is the heart and voice behind Father Tim. Through his words, she offers hope and consolation to a congregation of millions.

Originally published as At Home with Mitford’s Jan Karon, a cover story for Virtue Magazine, Dec/Jan 1998.

©1998 Elizabeth Stalcup

43 Responses to On the Road with Jan Karon

  1. Charlotte says:

    I was so pleased to find this interview with one of my favorite authors. It answered a lot of questions I had. I came to the Mitford series late but was able to fill in all my “gaps” through http://www.bookins.com, a book-trading site that has nearly 20 Jan Karon titles available. I use it because it’s only $4.49 per item received and I can keep the books or trade them again when I’m through. It’s how I found the first of the Holly Springs series, too. I’d encourage you to take a look for Jan’s books. If you decide to join bookins.com, I’d appreciate it if you’d use this link so I get some more points! http://www.bookins.com/index.php?p1=1c_0cq0cA

  2. Ann Tomlinson says:

    I am 81 years old and one of the greatest blessings in my life has been your Mitford series books. I have read the 1st five books 3 times and just recently purchased the last 4. Ms. Karon, you have enriched my life for beyond you can imagine. I’m so grateful to the person who gave me the 1st book. Thank you so much for the characters that I feel I know personally and the spiritual insight.

  3. Stella King says:

    I have some of the books on audio and listen when i wan to just relax with my eyes closed –also they are all so spiirtual and thats where I am at sixty-eight like father Tim I am getting married to a man who belives in God so we pray together too , this is so special
    I’ve gotten a lot of inspiration from these books

    Stella

  4. Cathy says:

    I have all of Jan Karon’s books, read the entire series and loved them all.

    I purchased all of her children’s books for my 3-year old granddaughter and she loves when I read them to her. We both wear big hats when reading “Miss Fannie’s Hat.” We laugh and laugh. It is a wonderful read.

    I am looking forward to Jan Karon’s new book, can’t wait.

    May God bless Jan Karon for all the inspiration, faith-filled hope, and hours of pleasurable reading she has provided for her reading audience.

    Cathy, NJ

    • emstalcup says:

      Some years ago, I was on the phone with Jan Karon trying to finish up the article that is posted here while my daughter Sarah, who was about five at the time, persistent in interupting me. Ms. Karon asked to speak to her, so I handed the phone to Sarah who listened and then silently handed the phone back to me and went off to play. A few days later a copy of Miss Fannie’s Hat was in our mailbox, addressed to Sarah. It turns out that Jan Karon had promised my daughter a special surprise in the mail if she agreed to let us finish our conversation without interruptions.

      We loved that book!

      Elizabeth
      .

  5. Betsy says:

    Just read this for the first time. I wish the Mitford books website still had the bulletin board. I miss reading what others are reading and saying about Ms. Karon.

    • Sandra Pratt says:

      I have read all of the Mitford books & Home to Holly Springs many times….all the characters are like old friends…when I can’t find anything “interesting” in the library I go to my own library for my favorites…Ms. Karons spiritual insights are so deep they touch my soul everytime. What a blessing she has been to the readers across the country.

  6. Betty Golder says:

    I, too, have found joy and hope in reading Jan Karon’s books. The characters reflect diverse personalities. Father Tim personifies special qualities that are encouraging and comforting, even when he, himself, is discouraged. The gentle humor and empathy as well as astute perception round out his character without risking stereo-typing, especially, in the Father Tim series. Future stories about Dooley and Lace would be most welcomed!

  7. Rev Kathriene Colbert says:

    while I was Pastor at Branch of the Lord…years ago..I read Jan’s books…waiting with her fans, for each new book. The depth of her personal walk in faith, with Christ, changed my ministry and lifted it to His ministry. She was gracious in the reply to my letter of appreciation with an uplifting note. She remains my example of life-long ‘moving forward and not looking back’. I’m retired now (71) and dealing with cancer but my faith is growing by leaps and bounds while I go on my way. Please add my thanks to the millions who love and pray for Jan Karon.

  8. […] The world of Mitford may be charming, but it is not idyllic.  Difficulties afflict Father Tim: loneliness, physical disease, doubt, and clinical depression; yet a message of hope is woven throughout each novel which reflects the author’s worldview. Because he loves us, God works things together for our good.  The personal  hardship experienced by author Jan Karon creates a depth to the stories: ”There was a lot of brokenness in my family,” she observes. “Writing is a way of processing our lives. And it can be a way of healing.” (Star Tribune, Minneapolis-St. Paul).  Karon married young and was divorced soon after, raising her daughter for many years as a single parent. Karon describes herself as having been “. . . driven to the wall by the circumstances and tragedy of life” which led her to embrace Christianity (Christianity Today’s website). Another good interview on Jan Karon’s life and faith journey can be found here: https://aredeemedlife.wordpress.com/interviews/on-the-road-with-jan-karon/ […]

  9. Nancy Miller says:

    So wonderful to see that people are still commenting on the Mitford book years after publication. I love them too and have re-read them many times. Also read them aloud to a friend who could no longer see. And I’m still passing them along to friends who have not had this experience. Thanks so much to Jan Karon!

  10. PAT MILLER says:

    I HAVE READ ALL OF HER BOOKS AND SO GLAD SHE IS WRITING ANOTHER MITFORD BOOK.I HAVE MET HER IN COLA, SC AT THE HAPPY BOOK SELLER MANY YEARS AGO AND HAVE TOLD MANY PEOPLE HOW KIND AND PATIENT SHE WAS WITH CHILDREN. THANKS FOR THIS ARTICLEL

    • Sandra Honemann says:

      Pat,
      How have you learned of Jan Karon’s writing a new Mitford book?! My sister-in-law and I have been searching for a couple of years to find more about Ms. Karon and have been extremely upset by not being able to find out anything new. Today she came upon this website and after reading your comment, I’ve decided I simply have to find out what YOU know about Jan Karon. I, too, met Ms. Karon at Spring Arbor College in Michigan a number of years ago. She was SO GRACIOUS about autographing a copy of A Common Life for a dear friend of mine who was too ill with cancer to attend.
      Thank you for anything you can share,
      Sandra Honemann

      • emstalcup says:

        The article about Jan Karon that appears in my blog is at least ten years old. I have not kept in touch with her. What I understand is that she has moved to Virgina and is no longer granting interviews. As her books became popular her life became stressful. I remember her telling me that entire buses would unload in front of her house in Blowing Rock and stare in the windows! I am afraid it is not much fun to be a celebrity in America. She must be in her seventies now and is leading a quiet life.
        I am grateful for the wonderful books she penned that have brought hope and comfort to millions.

  11. Irene Western says:

    I am currently on my 4th time through the entire Mitford series and 2rd time through on the two Father Tim books and, as always…God uses them to speak to me in a different way each time I read them because my life is in a different spot each time. I usually wait 2-3 years between “readings” which means (at age 55!) I’ve forgotten just enough details to make them so special all over again! Thank you, again, Jan, for listening to God’s call to write!

  12. Debie says:

    I am happy to say I have recently had the opportunity to introduce, and pass on, one of three full sets of the Mitford series, that I own(and actually carted down to Belize C A when my husband and I were sent here as Missionaries, 6 years ago), to a dear friend, of 78. She was visiting us, after facing a tragic separation in her 40-plus years of marriage. I decided that a visit to Mitford could be the perfect addition to her travel itinerary, so I left ‘At Home In Mitford’ on her night stand…long story short, after 2 weeks, she was well into ‘A Light In The Window’, with a complete set tucked into her luggage, when we put her on the airplane home, to Colorado, yesterday. The encouragement written into The Mitford series is definitely a balm to the hurting souls who reach for them, and the hope one finds there is often a welcomed surprise! Thanks again, for the lovely Vacation Spot called ‘Mitford’, Jan…we have all been refreshed there.

  13. Marcia says:

    Thank you so much for this wonderful article on Jan Karon. I received Jan Karon’s Mitford Cookbook this pat Mother’s Day and today I was reading pages and wanted such much to know who is Jan Karon and like so many others I could not find much information pertaining to her life until I read your interview. Just reading it has ministered and encouraged me to never give up! Again, thank you for this delightful article. It has truly given me joy, hope, and encouragement that what we go through and experience will be a blessing if we allow the Lord to touch our lives when we say “Lord, have your way with me.” Marcia

    • Holly Walker says:

      I am so excited to learn of a new Mitford book! This series got me through a time of terrible losses in my life (which ironically have been occurring again recently) time to re-read those beloved favorites and anticipate Father Tim’s new adventures!

  14. Jan Karon’s new book Somewhere Safe with Someone Good is due out at midnight tonight. I am a real fan of this wonderful woman. I’ve had the privilege of meeting her on numerous occasions and photographing her. Fifteen of us even met her and her daughter Candace for three or four days in Ireland in September of 2011. She is a delightful, charismatic person. She is the real deal, folks. I look forward to seeing her the weekend of September 13-14 on her return to Blowing Rock. Lots of her fans will be there to see her again. God has blessed millions with her charming, heartfelt books. God bless Jan Karon.

  15. Shirley Smith says:

    At the age of twelve I became a ‘reader’ and still am at the age of 91. I have all of Jan Karon’s books and was so disappointed when she ended the series. You can not imagine how delighted I am to learn that she she has written Somwhere Safe with Somebody Good. These last years of drought have been so bleak but now are so full to know that soon I shall be renewing my acquaintance with the friends in Mitford. Thank you Jan for bringing them back into our lives.

    Shirley Smith – September 22, 2014

  16. Jane Trolinger says:

    Thank you Jan Karon for letting God speak through your novels. Your sermons through your novels are the way you preach in everyday life just as God is. I have read all the Mitford and Father Tim series and am delighted to be reading your latest Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good. Being a native North Carolinian myself and now wanting to return to my homeland, I pick up you books and return in spirit. Most of all, my heart is overjoyed by seeing God’s way lived through Father Tim and Cynthia. I heard you for the first time when you spoke at Ruth Bell Graham’s service and then my former college roommate and lifelong friend told me about your books. Thank you again.
    Jane Trolinger – September 22, 2014

  17. Mary W. says:

    I just finished Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good. Jan Karon told us in September (when she spoke at St. Paul’s) that this is her favorite. This book is my favorite too. I’m sad to finish it; brought to tears by the presence of God; the goodness of Father Tim; what Dooley has accomplished; everything!

  18. Cindy B. says:

    Thank you, Emily, for this interview. I heard Jan Karon speak last night at our library. She was so delightful and interesting, but I wanted to know more. There seemed to be nothing available online, until I found you. If she was exhausted at the end of the day in 1998, imagine how she must feel now on a book tour at 77. Yet she was very vibrant and beautiful. Amazing woman.

  19. patsy says:

    wow, i stumbled upon this as I was searching for any additional Radio Theatre productions of Jan Karon’s books. just listened to the 5 star, fantastic production of At Home in Mitford. have read all the books and loved them, but this Radio Theatre production brought it to life. wish there were more, please. have just started Somewhere Safe. loved this interview/article. Our LORD has blessed Jan Karon to be a blesssing

  20. Janice Dean says:

    Just finished, “Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good”, and my heart is so full, so joyous. All of the characters I’ve grown to love in the Mitford series, coming together in such a rich and glorious tapestry. It’s impossible to claim any one character as a favorite – each one is wildly lovable regardless of their foibles. I appreciate Jan’s strength in surrendering her gifts to fully allow God’s love to reach us directly and completely. Father Tim’s prayers delight my heart. And thank you Elizabeth for this amazing interview. All the time you spent with Jan, watching and waiting, she obviously treasured your patience and insightful questions with this profoundly revealing and deeply personal interview. She gave us her heart. This article is an inspirational God-send! Thank You!

  21. Sarah Sasnett says:

    I”m reading “Somewhere Safe,,,,,,,” Cynthia”s first love letter to Father Tim gave voice to something so deep inside I could not verbalize now having the words to express it I can change it, Definitely an answer to prayer (well actually many prayers). I know this may seem a little disjointed but what I really want you to know is you ministered to me,

  22. Joy Mcdonald says:

    There are not enough words to express my gratitude to theLord for this beautiful gift of the Mitford Series. I just discovered them in September, 2014, and am in the middle of the eighth book now in January, 2015. I feel so blesssed. It is a time of transition for me and I, too, would like to write. Listening and praying for direction. I guess I’ll pray the prayer that never fails.Thank you, Jan, for listening to the Lord. I have such love and admiration for you and everyone I know now through your books.

  23. Nancy Klare says:

    I’ve read all of the Mitford series plus the Father Tim series and a couple of her other, shorter books, and wondered for a couple of years (since reading “Home to Holly Springs” and “In the Company of Others”) if Jan Karon had written another book yet or was writing another. (We her fans are a voracious lot! :-)) I asked and received! Learned just three weeks ago that she had written “Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good,” and am about to finish my second reading of it before I have to return it to the library tomorrow. It is a wonderful book… a bit “edgier” than the rest of them in that the editing of it is different, but I have enjoyed it so. I feel that much of it speaks directly to me and what I have been going thru… so much so that I put little sticky notes next to all the passages that have truly taught me something I needed to know. It’s been several years since I read all the Mitford books, and now I plan to go back thru my collection and read them again. I feel very rewarded to have located your interview with her, Elizabeth, in my online search just now. What a wonderful story! The progression of her life gives, and will give, a lot of hope to others. Thank you! I can’t tell you how thrilled and gratified I am to have found your blog/article. Jan Karon found her own wonderful way to preach, thru her books. I toyed with the idea while reading that she might be Cynthia, but never thought of her as Father Tim! I will have to read with fresh eyes and insights when I read all her books again. Thank you again! This has made my day! I would actually like to write a thank-you letter to Jan Karon. Does anyone have her current mailing address?

    • emstalcup says:

      Thanks for writing. I am indeed blessed to have interviewed Jan Karon back when she was granting interviews! She was living in Blowing Rock then and has since moved to Charlottesville but I don’t have her new address. I would send a letter to her publisher. i am sure they will get it to her.
      Bless you,
      E.

      • Nancy Klare says:

        Dear Elizabeth: Somehow I missed your reply to me back in May of 2015. Thank you, belatedly, for the information on how to send a note to Jan Karon thru her publisher. I did receive notice of a new comment in my emails today, and so I have just read all of these comments and your interview again. This was exactly what I needed! This is a very low time for me, so I couldn’t have received a better gift. An answer to prayer of sorts. I’ve been distracted with so many things, so I didn’t reread any of Jan’s books when I said I was going to, and they are packed up in boxes, but I realize that I really need to NOW. I couldn’t remember, when reading her later books, how the “prayer that never fails” goes, nor the prayer for sinners, and I have forgotten so many other details . . . I really would like to start again at the beginning and read all of the Mitford series once more. I STILL think from time to time about asking at my local library if perhaps Jan Karon has written just one more book. Someone in these comments mentioned something about reading “the most glorious book of all, come rain or come shine . . .” Is there a new title about Dooley and Lace called “Come Rain or Come Shine”? I guess I had better look it up! I would so love to read another new book by Jan Karon.

        So glad to have received an email from your blog. My spirits definitely needed perking up! And in my estimation, Jan Karon is one of those very, very special people who come along in life so rarely to bless us all. Such a lovely writer. I have told so many people about her books and shared many of them with my mother.

        Thank you again! So glad I am on your Comments email list!

        Nancy K.

  24. Lois j milligann/a says:

    All ms Karin’s books are beautiful, now wait till y’all read and reread the glorious book,,,come rain or come shine. Simply breath taking.hopefully,ms karon will have one more book in her dreams, making it 10yrs later and lace and dooley ,by God’s grace will have a birth of twins. One girl one boy, all for the future of meadow gate. Blessings to all. Ljm on ga. I

    • Nancy Klare says:

      Hi, Lois, you mention in your comment reading “the glorious book, come rain or come shine.” Wondering what you are referring to? I thought maybe Jan had written another book, but I see, reading it again, that that is a wish of yours. Are you referring to the Bible? I hate to sound ignorant . . . Thank you!

  25. Mary McKisson says:

    Her story is so inspiring and motivating. How can I get a copy of this interview?

  26. emstalcup says:

    The interview is on the blog. Search on Jan Karon in the search box and it should come up.

    The prayer that never fail, I believe, is Lord, your will be done! I am so glad that her books are such an encouragement to all of you readers. I pray that you would know the love of God, how much he treasures you, to the bottom of your toes. I am going to post a link to a simple prayer session that you can watch and do. I hope it will bless you!
    Love,

    Elizabeth

  27. Nancy Klare says:

    Elizabeth, your interview is at the top of the comments and will come up just as soon as you click on the “Comments” option. Thanks for telling me what the prayer that never fails is . . . that’s about as simple and easy as it can get! 🙂 Can’t wait till you post the prayer session link. Will we be notified by email?

    Thank you again.

    • Nancy Klare says:

      Thank you! That is really nice! And it was lovely getting to “meet you,” Elizabeth! And just so you know . . . usually videos will cut out on me and freeze up (my computer is glitched!), but your prayer session video did not! 🙂 Miracles! Thank you again!

  28. Barbara Rich says:

    I am so pleased to have found this page. I have read all the Mitford series books, finishing “Come Rain or Come Shine” earlier this year. I am living in a place where a group of us put puzzles together. We just started one that is a picture of Main Street in Mitford, copyright (c) by Jan Karon. I am inspired to read all her books once again, and to search for anymore puzzles of pictures of Mitford.

    • So glad you got to read Come Rain Or Come Shine. Simply the Best!! I keep reading and re-Reading all of the “Karon” books. My beloved husband Tom passed suddenly so all of the books are helping thru this very sad time! Thank u Ms Karon for All of your books.. Lois in GA.

      • emstalcup says:

        I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your husband. Grief is not easy. Another good book to read is Jerry Sittser’s A Grace Disguised.
        I pray God would comfort you as only he can and give you compassionate friends.

  29. I guess my latest reply did not post..refer back to the one dated Dec.2015. completely enjoy all of ms Karin’s books and the wonderful cookbook!! Lois j Milligan in Georgia..

  30. Loved the article by ES, written in 1998. My wife and I have enjoyed the entire written repatoir which you have so graciously provided to us…your greatest fans. Being from Charlotte, N.C., and being very familiar with The Blowing Rock, Lenoir area…I have tried to tell my wife how beautiful that area is…..just like where Mitford should be! I hope you will be delighted to hear that I have read to my wife every night for years…..we have read through everything you have written many times…in fact we have read through the entire series at least five full times, most of which times were while lying in bed at night. You have put us in wonderful places….comfortable surroundings and encouraged us with your words. We had hoped that there was just one more book coming….but understand….the rest is left to us! May your final wish fill the altar of the very largest church.
    God Bless You!

    • emstalcup says:

      I am so glad you enjoyed the article. I am afraid your beautiful words only reached me, ES, the author of the article and not Ms. Karon. You might want to try contact here through her publisher’s site: http://www.mitfordbooks.com/

      I enjoyed reading your post. What a great husband to read to your wife every night!

      Bless you,

      Elizabeth

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