Historical Fiction

The oldest of four daughters, I was born during WWII on a farm in rural Wyoming.  I went to the first 8 grades in a two-room school then on to Greybull High School and the University of WY.    I read everything I could get my hands on. I always had dreams for my life—Marriage, four sons—but there was more. The dream of becoming an Interior Designer. In 1987, I became an A.S.I.D. designer and worked at that for the next twenty-five years. In 2008, I began to write what I thought was a documentation of my German family’s immigration stories. After many rewrites, The Ticket went to press, and the rest is history. Becoming a writer was not one of my dreams. However, I love to write, to immerse myself in the period, the lives and the drama of the story. I visualize every word, every gesture, every character—I live what I write—I write what I live! I begin with what I know: the family stories, with extensive historical research, and then I add the flavor, the drama and the conflict with my carefully chosen words.

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The Ticket (2010)

Seed of the Volga (2012)

Flesh on the Bone (2013)

Tank Commander (2015)

German Yankee (2018)

Biggest literary influencers:

John Jakes; James Michener; Betty Smith, and Charles Fraizer—so many good writers.

Last book read:

Letters from Lost Cabin (I find is helpful to immerse myself in books from the era in which I am writing.)

The book that changed your life:

A Tree That Grows in Brooklyn. This well-written story of the Nolan family touched my heart like no other book ever had to that point. I was mesmerized by the manner in which the author developed her characters to the point you cried for them. The brutally honest historical background helped me to understand what my grandparents must have endured. It inspired me in so many ways.

Your favorite literary character:

Francie Noland from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. She was the oldest child and had so much responsibility. She showed me how a little girl can have perseverance, dedication, love, compassion, and dreams to be, to do something important in life.

Currently working on:

A Far Place which is the last in the series based on my father’s side of the family. Great-grandparents John and Mary Wamhoff give up a life of comfort in eastern Nebraska to travel by covered wagon across Nebraska and Wyoming. They crossed the rugged Big Horn Mountains to homestead in the wilds of rural Wyoming.

Words to live by:


Advice to new and aspiring authors:

Dig deep and find what you want to say. Then give it all to your readers in a way they won’t forget. Don’t despair when ‘the words don’t come’—be patient and let the ‘pot of information and stories’ simmer until they erupt into words on the page.

Articles / Reviews:


–Nancy Hansford, editor/author – October 10, 2010 article in the Coloradan (Fort Collins, Newspaper)


“Kudos to the author, she certainly did her research and the story flowed from beginning to end. Her characters are well thought out and developed; the ending was heartfelt. I highly recommend this book for those interested inn epic family novels, and history.”

Shawn – Goodreads

On The Ticket: “I could not believe it; within the first 10 pages I was LIVING the story, it pulled me in and I could not put it down. I read the entire book in 3 evenings. I loved every minute of it!  A captivating read. The author has a way of putting you into the words on the page which keeps you wanting to read to the end and still want more.”

Tim – West Virginia

“It is not often I find an author who can hold my attention past the first 10 pages or so, but Karen is good at drawing her audience into the story. Plus, I’m a sucker for well-researched fiction. I connect with her stories.”

Chuck – Wyoming