DONNA-MARIE: Karen, it is my pleasure to interview you about your latest work within the book Style, Sex, and Substance: 10 Catholic Women Consider the Things that Really Matter published by Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Company. The title alone sounds intriguing. Can you share with us how you got involved in this project?
KAREN: Thanks to Hallie Lord (whose alter-ego is the delightful Betty Beguiles) and to a terrific editor at Our Sunday Visitor, I was asked to weigh in with my thoughts on what it means to be a Catholic woman in the world today, and about what it means to strive for and maintain spiritual strength in our busy, sometimes chaotic lives.
DONNA-MARIE: Would you kindly share a bit about yourself and your background?
KAREN: I’m a wife, a mom, and a writer and I homeschool our three daughters (though our eldest is graduating this spring -- next year I’ll have only a high school junior and a fifth-grader.)
I am a convert to the Catholic faith. I once thought I'd be a lifelong atheist but then I became desperately unhappy, read up on philosophy and various religions (while assiduously avoiding Christianity), and waited for something to make sense. I was initially appalled when Christianity began to look like the sensible thing, surprised when I wanted to be baptized, and stunned that I ended up a Catholic. But I wouldn't change a bit of it. Life is happier and makes far more sense than it ever did before.
DONNA-MARIE: Our Church is so blessed to have you, Karen. How did you decide what type of chapter you'd write for this book?
KAREN: Hallie had a clear vision for the book and there were specific topics she wanted to cover. I was asked to zero in on spiritual strength, prayer, and the sacraments, but how I wanted to do that, and what I really wanted to say about them was left up to me.
DONNA-MARIE: Have you received any feedback about this book?
KAREN: People love it! The reactions I hear the most are: smart, fun and funny, real, meaty, and helpful.
DONNA-MARIE: That’s great. What are your hopes for this book, Karen?
KAREN: I hope that women (and men!) will laugh, identify (okay, not the men on that one), pick up new ideas, feel less alone, feel strengthened, and will be encouraged to be themselves and to find themselves in Christ.
DONNA-MARIE: What wonderful hopes! Is there anything else you'd like to tell us about this book?
KAREN: I admire every individual who contributed to this book but when you round all these women up to create a single package, they pack a powerful wallop. I feel privileged to be a part of such a terrific project. (And no, I didn’t actually mean to create that much alliteration.)
DONNA-MARIE: Finally, Karen, where can we get this book?
KAREN: From the publisher -- Our Sunday Visitor (www.osv.com) -- and from Catholic and Christian booksellers, and online booksellers, too. If your local store doesn’t carry it, ask them to get it for you!
DONNA-MARIE: Thank you very much, Karen. I hope this book inspires many!