Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Interview and E-book Giveaway with Karla Akins

by Jeff Reynolds


For those who are unaware, October is Pastor Appreciation Month. So it's fitting that my October author interview is with a pastor's wife. It's my privilege to have Karla Akins, who's a fellow member of the ACFW Indiana Chapter and like myself a contributor to the Hoosier Ink blog ( If her name sounds familiar, it's because she posts on this blog as well, and I believe she won a recent giveaway I hosted.

Speaking of giveaways, we'll be giving away an e-book copy of her latest release, The Pastor's Wife Wears Biker Boots. Karla mentioned that it belongs more to the genre of contemporary fiction, but that there is a mystery in it. Rules for the giveaway are below.

Jeff Reynolds:  Welcome to Sleuths and Suspects -- as a guest, that is. How did you get started writing?

Karla Akins:  Thanks for having me, Jeff!

I started writing when I was very young. By fifth grade I'd written so many poems that my teacher had me make books for them by creating covers and tying them together with yarn. I also wrote lots of plays and my friends and  I were allowed to perform them for the Kindergarten classes. I won several district-wide essay contests in grade school. In Junior High I won a contest on the radio for a poem I wrote to win my dad a tie for Father's Day. In high school I wrote a three-act musical and my drama teacher took us to NYC to perform it. I also won a contest and was printed in a Sunday School take home paper. 

 JR:  Could you tell us about your current release? How was this story inspired?

KA:  The Pastor's Wife Wears Biker Boots is fiction and while the pastor's wife in the book isn't very much like me, some of the events in the book are based loosely on actual moments in my own life. 

JR:  Is is the first book you've written? If not, what else have you released, both fiction and non-fiction?

KA: The first full-length book I wrote was a collection of biographies of prominent people in Canadian History, O Canada Her Story. I was asked to write this book by the publishing company that had published some of my stories in compilations in the past.  I'm under contract to write a series of interactive ebooks: Brave Explorers Every Child Should Know. So far I've released Jacques Cartier and Sacagawea. I'm currently writing Marco Polo.

JR:  Like the title character, you're a pastor's wife. Could you tell us about how you and your husband met? Did you become a pastor's wife by choice (knowing his calling before saying I do), or did he become your husband first and was called to preach later? And do you have any children?
KA: My husband and I were introduced by a neighbor of mine. I lived in a quaint Victorian apartment building and across the hall was a newly-converted drug dealer. He insisted I meet my husband and sort of kidnapped me one night, sat me down in a chair and made my husband sing to me. I was so embarrassed. But we stayed up all night that night talking about the Lord and what we wanted to do with our lives for the Lord. I had dedicated my life to full-time Christian service at the age of 17, so I always knew I'd be in the ministry of some kind. My husband, Eddie, felt a call on his life, too. We have five children: his daughter, our sons, and adopted twin sons.

JR:  You wrote an excellent blog pointing out the need to encourage our pastors during clergy appreciation month and suggestions how to do that with your writing. Allow me to share the link: What are the pluses and minuses of being a PW? (Or is being a pastor's wife similar to being a POW?) 
KA: As with any job there are downfalls. For me the hardest part is living in a fishbowl, having to weigh every single thing we do, say, or buy. Someone always feels they have the right to express their opinion about how we live or do things. The benefits of being a pastor's wife is the privilege of serving Jesus and being in the center of God's will. And I've met so many fascinating people.

JR:  From one picture I've seen with you, being a Pastor's wife isn't the only thing you have in common with your title character, correct? How do others respond to this hobby?
KA: I'm blessed because our church doesn't judge me for riding my own motorcycle. My husband rides a Harley but I have a Suzuki Intruder. I'd love to have a Harley but they are out of my price range. My husband is tempted to sell his Harley for financial reasons (to pay some bills) but I won't let him. He's always wanted one and waited a long time to get one. We'll sell my bike before I'll let him sell his. Our church enjoys riding as a group. A lot of people ride motorcycles now, so it's not seen as being odd so much anymore. However, I'm the only female rider in our church. 

JR:  How do you balance your time between your responsibilities as pastor's wife, mother, writer, and motorcyclist?

KA: It's not easy. From the moment I open my eyes until I lay my head down at night I'm working. I do start my day with Bible study and prayer and I ask the Lord all day long what to do next, and to help me keep my priorities. But like anyone, I do fail at time management at times. One of my faults is that I don't sleep as much as I should. I'm trying to learn that God works while I sleep. I'm doing better, but I've got a ways to go when it comes to resting.

JR:  You've had the honor of attending the ACFW conference. Of course, I'd like to hear how it helped your writing, but I'm even more interested in your impressions through Pastor's Wife's glasses: How is it impacting your ministry at your church?

KA: Currently, I'm actually facing a little bit of a struggle in that area. There are folks at church who don't think I should spend as much time as I do with my writing, that my focus should be more on the church. They haven't learned yet that this is an outreach of their church, too, not just my own. We need prayer in that area. But there are others who are extremely supportive and love my book. 
ACFW Conference was amazing. I met so many fascinating people. I learned tons and for awhile after conference I felt a bit overwhelmed because I realized how much there is to learn and how much my writing needs to improve. It froze me up for a little while until I just made myself sit down and write. My favorite part of the conference was volunteering. I got to meet so many wonderful people that way. It was a blast. 

JR:  From your perspective as a Pastor's wife, what are your greatest burdens and concerns for people in the 21st Century United States? How is this impacting your writing.
KA: What a great question. My greatest burden and concern are for people ages 18-29.  At our church most of the children who attend our church do not have parents attending with them. Only 33% of this age group attend church once a week in the U.S. today. This is the age group raising children. I have such a burden for children, youth and young adults.

I want to reach imperfect people who have "pasts." My current work in progress, River Moon Don't Cry, is about a young woman who is thrown into circumstances out of her control. She develops a past but grace wins in the end. I'm compelled to write about grace as never before. Also, I have a pretty strong message in my works about not judging others, but accepting them regardless of their outward feebleness. Just because your sins don't show, doesn't mean you don't struggle with sin as much as someone who gets caught in their mistakes. Grace is an incredibly important message for me to write.

JR:  Thank you for your time, and I hope you have a blessed day. Any web-pages you want to pass along so we can keep up with what's new with you?

Jeff, thanks so very much for this honor! People can catch up with me on my website/blog: I follow back on Facebook and twitter, too! I'd love to have them sign up for my newsletter. I usually try to include a recipe or freebie in them. 

Jeff, back to the readers: As I mentioned we're having a giveaway. Please note the three rules for the giveaway:

  1. You need to leave a comment. Without knowing who you are, it's hard to draw your name.
  2. You need to leave your e-mail. Just as important. Without it, we can't notify you. And yes, to prevent spam, you can write it as youknowwho (at) privacyinvader (dot) gov.
  3. Since this is Pastor appreciation month, I want you to brag about your pastor/priest/etc. What have they done this year to serve the cause of Christ?


  1. Thanks for having me, Jeff! God bless you and your writing! You're a blessing yourself!

  2. Loved the interview. Just reading about your day made me tired. LOL
    I'd love to win a copy of your book.
    Debbie Malone
    debbiejeanm at gmail dot com

  3. Thanks for entering Deborah, but don't forget the third part of the entry -- "Since this is Pastor appreciation month, I want you to brag about your pastor/priest/etc. What have they done this year to serve the cause of Christ?"

  4. Thanks for reading, Debbie! I am sure you're as busy as I am. Seems the way it is these days. :-) God bless you and your pastor's family! Saying a prayer for you all right now.

  5. What? A pastor's wife on a motorcycle? What is this world coming to? :) Great interview Jeff & Karla. Love the pictures too! I've already purchased and read Karla's wonderful book, so don't put me in the drawing please.

  6. I will brag a little bit on my pastor, since we are celebrating all month at our church. This is his 50th year, along with his wife, at our church! He has been a visionary leader and dedicated man of God. He is loved and appreciated by our congregation.

    1. That's neat, Kay. It's great to see a pastor serve that long. It's rare to see a pastor last more than a decade, though our pastor has been there thirteen years.

  7. I love the cover of this book and would like to win a copy!
    My pastor does a lot. Specifically, this year, he has been working on mission projects for our church. Our church travels to places like India, Mexico, and Africa. In Africa, our church works to bring clean water to the native people.

  8. My pastor always tries to inject a bit of humor into his sermons. I think that's why he appeals to so many people. He's kinda corny sometimes, but that makes him less threatening. Then he drills in the message of God.

    This is a great cover and sounds like a great story. I'm so glad to get to know more about you!