Friday, May 23, 2008

Kim Vogel Sawyer: A Little Girl Who Dreamed of Writing Books

This is a photo of Kim's first church solo.(She's still singing today--and plays in bell choir.) She's the little one on the left in the red velvet dress. And don'cha just love those white cowgirl boots?

Kim says,"As you can see, it should have been a trio, but the other little girls refused to sing! So I sang and then clapped for myself."

Kim still has that red velvet dress--all three of her own girls wore it, too.

Kim admits, "I'm still hoping to someday dress up a little granddaughter in it."

When you see Kim now, you see the same delightful joy that played within her heart then. The warm and gracious author of best-selling, award-winning books is a busy woman as a wife, mother, grandmother, teacher, writer, speaker, and lover of cats and chocolate. But she loves to tell a story and she is delighting readers by telling really good ones.

From the time she was a very little girl, she knew she wanted to be a writer, and seeing her words in print is the culmination of a life-long dream. Still,despite a busy schedule with writing and meeting readers, Kim relishes her time with family and friends, and stays active in her church by teaching adult Sunday School, participating in both voice and bell choirs, and leading the drama troupe.

In her now filled-with-writing-dwindling-spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. What things in Kim's childhood helped her grow into the writer of stories that many love? Let's find out:

Childhood Ambition: Full-time writer...always

Fondest Memory (then): Most of my "fondest memories" are from my second grade year, when my family lived in Mountain Lake, Minnesota. We lived in a former one-room schoolhouse, which had been renovated into a house. It was very unique. That winter, we had record snows, and my dad, brother, and me (well, Brad and I got to do the back of the skirt, lol) fashioned a seven-foot tall Victorian snow lady complete with ringlets and bustle in the front yard. People drove by to admire it. In the summer, we played in the soybean bins (probably not very safe!) and ate so many mulberries we were permanently stained purple. We were only there one year, but I have more memories of that year than all my other growing-up years combined.

Proudest Moment (then): My proudest moments seemed to center around writing. I can remember the laughter of my fourth grade classmates when the teacher read aloud one of my short stories (titled "Why Do Dogs Wag Their Tails?"); in seventh grade, I took first place in the county conservation contest in both the limerick and poster categories. I wasn't athletic, and I was painfully shy, but I could write and draw. That ability was my meager "claim to fame."

Biggest Challenge as a Child or Teen: We moved so frequently, and every move was very hard on me. Because I was so bashful, making friends was very difficult. So starting over again and again was my biggest challenge.

My First Job: Other than the occasional babysitting that most girls do at some point in time, I worked at the Co-Op in Coldwater, Kansas, as an office helper. That was during my junior year of high school. But it interfered with debate and forensics, so I didn't keep it very long. :o)

Childhood Indulgence: I loved stuffed animals! I still have my collection of over 400 stuffed toys on shelves in the our basement rec room, much to my husband's chagrin. I actually took turns sleeping with them so none of them would feel left out. lol!

Favorite Outfit as a Child: Most of my clothes were quite conservative in keeping with my Mennonite upbringing. But I remember, when I was in first grade, I had a red dress with a full skirt that flared when I twirled. I felt so cute in that dress. In junior high, I had a pair of hip-hugger, bell-bottom, red-checked jeans--at the time, it was quite stylin'!

Favorite Childhood Movie and/or TV Show: I've always been a Westerns nut--I guess because the only movies our family watched were John Wayne westerns at the drive-in. I watched "Bonanza" and "The Big Valley." In junior high, I adored "The Partridge Family" and tried to talk my dad into buying a used school bus, painting it, and taking our family on the road to sing for churches. Daddy said "no." Wise man.

Favorite Childhood Book: My earliest favorite book was a Whitman Tiny Tot Tale called "A Cat Called Cindy." I even named my cat Cindy after the kitty in the book. It got lost somewhere in one of our many moves, but even more than forty years later I could still recite much of it verbatim. Much to my delight, I recently purchased a mint copy of "A Cat Called Cindy" at! It now sits proudly on the shelf in my office.

Favorite Childhood Activity/Pastime: I enjoyed playing with my dolls and paperdolls--usually creating little stories with them. I read voraciously--up in a tree when the weather allowed. And I was always writing.

This is me doing what I usually did...whatever Daddy was doing! He was in college when I was little, and I "helped" him study.

Childhood Hero: My childhood hero and my adulthood hero is the same: Daddy.

A Peek at Where Kim Writes Her Books (and yes, she sits on that ball!)

Anything else you would like to share with readers about your childhood which affected the writer you have become?

I think all the moving around and finding friends in books helped hone my writing skills. As a teacher, it was no surprise that my most avid readers were also my strongest writers. I also think the standing on the outside peering in, hoping to belong, made me a keen people-observer. That ability works well as a writer, helping me create "real" people on the page.

Kim at Bethany House Publishers, welcomed as a loved author

What do you know now that you wish you'd known back then?

That if I had smiled first, people would have smiled back. I was sooooo shy, I couldn't bring myself to smile, and I missed out on so many opportunities for friendship by holding back. I try to do a better job of reaching out now--and it pays off.

Kim Sawyer receives ACFW Book of the Year Award from Brandilyn Collins

Kim's Newsletter Link


See Kim's books at this link

Kim's Latest Book:

My Heart Remembers
From Bethany House Publishers (February 2008)
Crossings Book Club Main Selection
CBD Best Seller; CBA Best Seller; ECPA Best Seller

When their mother and father die in a tenement fire, three Irish-immigrant children are sent to Missouri aboard an orphan train to be adopted. Despite 8-year-old Maelle’s desperate attempts to keep her siblings together, each child is taken by a different family. But Maelle vows that she will never stop searching for them—determined that they will be together again one day, a family once more.

Eighteen years later, Maelle is still searching…but the years have washed away Maelle’s hope and her memories. What are Mattie and Molly doing now? Where has life taken them? Are they well and living happy lives? Do they wonder at all about the family they once knew and loved? United by blood, divided by time, will they ever be a family again? Only time…and God…can tell.

Other books by Kim Vogel Sawyer:

WHERE THE HEART LEADS -- (Sequel to WAITING FOR SUMMER'S RETURN) After his graduation from college, Thomas Ollenburger is filled with big dreams and many questions. What will he do for a career? Should he marry? Where will he call home? Torn between his Mennonite roots on the Kansas prairie and his love for the big city of Boston, as well as his affection for a girl in each location, Thomas is unsure of his place in the world. He has always sought God's leading in his decision-making, but now it seems as if God is silent. Has Thomas's heart led him astray?

October 2006
Voted Top 2006 Contemporary Story
by Heartsong Presents readers;
3rd Place ACFW 2006 Book of the Year

THAT WILDER BOY -- Rocky Wilder is a changed man, determined to sow something other than wild oats. Carrie wants to believe Rocky is interested in her for reasons other than her wealth, but his reputation as "that Wilder boy" preceeds him. Can she trust that he's truly a new creature in Christ?

March 2007

PROMISING ANGELA -- Angela Fischer made some foolish choices, she wants her future to be brighter than her past. Ben Atchison feels drawn to Angela, but the fact that she once abused drugs stands in the way. Angela may have promised that she's given up that lifestyle, but Ben heard that promise before from someone else he cares for. He knows sometimes promises aren't kept...
From Bethany House Publishers (April 2007)
Crossings Book Club Main Selection; Top Pick for 2007
CBA & CBD Best Seller

WHERE WILLOWS GROW -- Life in 1936 Kansas is filled with hardship on the farm--
the drought and low produce prices are enough of a challenge without wondering why God allows hard things to happen to good people. For Anna Mae and Harley Phipps, the biggest challenge is staying united. When Harley makes the decision to trek across Kansas to join a WPA project of building a castle, Anna Mae seethes with resentment. How can he just leave her to run the farm? Then her neighbor--and old beau--Jack Berkley makes himself available to help. Anna Mae must look deep into her soul to find the inner strength to emerge triumphant over the forces that try to pull her heart away from the commitment she's made to love and honor her husband...
April 2007
CBA & CBD Best Seller

BYGONES (Book 1 of the Sommerfeld Trilogy) -- Widower Marie Koeppler Quinn and her grown daughter Beth return to the Mennonite community Marie aban-doned twenty-three years ago. Soon after their arrival in Sommer-feld, a series of mysterious thefts raises the community's suspicions against the "outsiders." Can Marie prove their innocence or will she be forced to flee once more?

Henry Braun soon begins to wonder if she's stolen more than his heart. When all is said and done, can Henry and Marie let bygones be bygones, or has their love been doomed from the start?

From Barbour Publishing (September 2007)

MONTANA MISTLETOE -- Christmas-themed novella set including All I Want For Christmas Is...You. Jingle-writer Kathy Morgan returns to her hometown of Mistletoe, Montana, to take a trip down "Memory Lane" and decide whether or not to accept the unexpected marriage proposal from a long-time co-worker. But local postman Erik Phillips turns her world upside-down by delivering much more than mail--he encourages her to seek fulfillment in a relationship with Jesus rather than a man. Will Kathy heed Erik's advice before it's too late?

(I am particularly excited to be a part of this anthology set with Lena Nelson Dooley, Lisa Harris, and Debby Mayne!)

February 2008
CBD Best Seller
ECPA Best Seller
PW Best Seller

BLESSINGS (Book 3 of the Sommerfeld Trilogy) -- Trina Muller has been blessed with the gift of healing God’s creatures. Desiring to use that gift, she seeks the opportunity for education but is met with resistance from her family.

Graham Ortmann loves Trina, but he can't understand her desire to be more than wife and mother. Will this Old Order Mennonite girl be able to spread the wings she believes God has designed for her?

October 2007
CBA & CBD Best Seller
One of Top 2O CBD Books 2007

BEGINNINGS (Book 2 of the Sommerfeld Trilogy) -- Beth Quinn is starting her place of residence, her occupation, and her relationships. Two men vie for her affection--Andrew Braun, a steadfast and helpful Old Order Mennonite who expects traditional roles between men and women; and Sean McCauley, a man with Christian convictions but who is seemingly more business-minded than people-minded.

In which world does Beth's heart belong? With so many choices in front of her, how can she know what God has planned?

Barbour Publishing
December 2007
Kansas Brides
Yes, Toto, there is a Kansas---filled with romance! After family tragedy, can Marin open her heart to the man who cares for her disabled brother? Carrie is inheriting a fortune, so why is she afraid? And Angela is out of rehab now, but can Ben trust her---and her new faith in God?

Coming Soon...From Bethany House Publishers (January 2009)
A PROMISE FOR SPRING -- Geoffrey, a young English sheep rancher, builds his home in Kansas to welcome his bride, but Emmaline only wants to return to England. Will this young couple be able to reconcile their differences?

Kim's Web Site


Rose McCauley said...

Thanks, Crystal, for helping me learn a little more about one of my favorite authors and friends! Kim is as sweet as her books are, and humble to boot! I am so proud of her and so grateful for God putting her in my life. Love you, Kim! Rose

Eileen said...

She was a cutie then and more so now! What an amazing writer. And yes, I've seen the COLLECTION of dolls/stuffed animals! Her grandsons could build their own zoo.

Thanks for sharing the thoughts and photos.

Anonymous said...

This interview brought a smile to my face more than once. What adorable pictures! "The Partridge Family" was one of my favorite shows, too. Thanks for sharing, Kim. With such sweet memories, no wonder your gentle fiction touches many hearts!