A writer inspired by nature and human nature


Our guest today is Karen Ingalls, author of Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir. I can’t wait to find out more about the author and her memoir and get a sneak peek into her (historical fiction) novels too. Time to MEET THE AUTHOR! ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

It’s a pleasure having you with us today, Karen. First, tell us a little about yourself.

I am a senior season writer, who had been writing for most of my life. I did not seek publication until 2012. I am a retired nurse with a master’s degree in human development and psychology. I live on a beautiful lake in central Florida where I enjoy golfing, gardening, and fishing year-round.

I am a nine-year ovarian cancer survivor from which most people do not survive more than five years. Since my diagnosis, I have dedicated my life to bringing the message about this lesser known cancer to women around the world. I give presentations, set up support groups, write articles, wrote an award-winning book, and two weekly blogs:

How about your family?

I’m a native Californian, who was raised in a dysfunctional family from which I escaped when I went to college in Boulder, Colorado. I have since lived in Waconia and St. Paul, Minnesota and more recently here in Tavares, Florida.

I have three grown sons, eight grandchildren, and one great-grandson. My husband is my rock, caregiver, and lover. We have been married thirty-years after each of us went through a divorce.

How long have you been writing and what type of writing do you generally do?  

I have been writing since I was a preteen, but kept my poetry and short stories a secret. Due to the dysfunctional family situation, I did not trust to share my writings with anyone. My first published book was in 2012. It is a non-fiction, memoir. My two novels are written about family and social issues.

I have always journaled and after I was diagnosed with the cancer, a close friend encouraged me to get the journal published. In 2012, Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir was published and won two awards. I dedicate all proceeds to gynecologic cancer research.

Can you give us a brief synopsis of your memoir? 

Though it is a book specifically about my journey with ovarian cancer, it is a book to which anyone with any type of cancer or terminal disease could relate. Our emotions, tests, drug effects, bodily changes, and support/caregiver system are similar.

What prompted you to write “Outshine”?

When I was diagnosed, there were very few books available about this particular cancer. The internet had many sites, but many were either too medically technical or written by a lay person whose statements were often inaccurate, unfounded, or prejudicial.

I was hoping that my book would give women important information about ovarian cancer, share my experiences so they might be better prepared, and to offer hope and inspiration. I believe that no matter what challenge we might face, we are to learn and become better people from it.

Do you have a favorite line from OUTSHINE? 

“I have learned that any rain that falls in my life is just droplets, and it’s up to me whether I will let those droplets flood away my spirit. Sometimes we need to build up levees through more prayer, erect dams for permanent changes so the soul can grow, do a dance to pray for more sun to heal any wounds, or just take an umbrella to give temporary protection as we build up our strength and will.”

What was the hardest part about writing your book?

Writing the book was “easy,” it was the editing that was the hardest part. My editor was wonderful to work with and I cannot thank her enough for all she did to make my book a well-edited one.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? 

I do many speaking engagements locally and now more recently, nationally. I never charge for my presentations because I do not want to be denied the opportunity to spread the word because of a fee. My talks are in front of large and small groups; service organizations, churches, women’s groups, and neighborhood gatherings. My audience has included men and women, nurses, pharmacists, and community leaders.

For absolute fun and to get away from the seriousness of cancer, I play golf 1-2 times a week, belong to a card club, women’s group, and love to escape with a good book. Meditation and laughter are two very important things I do as often as possible.

Tell us about your novels.

My first novel, Novy’s Son, the Selfish Genius is based on a true story of one man’s life-long attempt to receive unconditional love from his father. In the 1980’s Robert Bly wrote “The Iron John” which prompted me to write about how one father put too many demands and expectations on one son, who did not know how to pass on the Iron John teachings to his son. This is a common social problem.

Davida: Mistress & Model of Augustus Saint-Gaudens is based on the true story of America’s premier sculptor in the late nineteenth century and his love affair with his model. They never married but their love lasted for twenty-five years from which they had one son. Saint-Gaudens is most famous for the $20 gold piece. He is my great-grandfather and Davida is my great-grandmother. My grandfather lived in shame his entire life as a “bastard” and my intention is to remove the stigma from him.

Where can readers find your books?

                My books are all available on amazon. Here are the links:

http://www.amazon.com/Outshine-An-Ovarian-Cancer-Memoir/dp/1592984622

http://www.amazon.com/Novys-Son-The-Selfish-Genius/dp/B01B02VQY

http://www.amazon.com/Davida-Model-Mistress-Augustus-Saint-Gaudens/dp/1530397871

What’s next for Karen Ingalls?

I am working on a third novel which will complete the trilogy. I plan to continue to blog twice a week.  I welcome guest posts anytime. I plan to contribute more to Rave Reviews Book Club and RWISA (Rave Writers International Society of Authors). My dedication to spreading the word about ovarian cancer, be available to those in need of support, and to do whatever I can is my top priority.

Thank you, Bette for having me on your blog. I appreciate your support.

Thanks so much for coming to share your story with us, Karen.

Dear Readers,

Thanks so much for joining us today. I invite you to chat with Karen in the comment section below. Don’t forget to grab one of her books on Amazon and get ready to enjoy a great read. I’m currently reading Karen Ingalls’s novel Novy’s Son, the Selfish Genius—a fascinating and beautifully written story.

Happy Reading!

Bette A. Stevens

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

Comments on: "MEET THE AUTHOR: Karen Ingalls (Ovarian Cancer Survivor/Memoir & Novelist)" (46)

  1. What a wonderful interview! Karen, you are an inspiration.Thank you for sharing your story with others and making a difference in their lives. We need more people like you in the world 🙂

  2. Thanks for the wonderful introduction, Bette. Karen’s book sounds like a gift to many who are struggling with cancer and perhaps other serious health conditions. I love how some people are able to turn their difficult experiences into something positive by finding a way to help others. Great luck to Karen with her book and her health. 😀

    • karenringalls said:

      My book is about ovarian cancer, but its message is for anyone dealing with a life-threatening illness. Thank you for your good wishes.

    • Hi, Diana. Thanks so much for stopping by to meet Karen. She’s a wonderful writer and it’s been a delight to get to know her even better today. 🙂 xo

  3. Such a lovely interview, Karen and Bette. Thank you so much for sharing. XO

  4. Excellent interview, Karen, and Bette. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Glad to meet you Karen…that favorite line from ‘Outshine’ speaks volumes! You must be a special person close to God that he protected you through such a horrifying cancer, this one is said to have zero survival. All my good wishes to you for a healthy and happy life and great success with your books.
    Thank you dear Bette for this lovely interview. 🙂

    • karenringalls said:

      I do not know why I am still here, but very grateful to God and some fantastic doctors and nurses. As long as I am here on earth, I will do everything I can to spread the word about ovarian cancer.

    • Thank you, Balroop! ❤

  6. karenringalls said:

    Thank you Bette for hosting me on your blog. I loved your questions and the opportunity to share about ovarian cancer and ways any of us can face challenges in healthy ways.

    • I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about you and your books, Karen. It’s been a delight to have you on MEET THE AUTHOR. ❤ Your memoir is sure to inspired and uplift many and I'll be sharing your interview often. Wishing you and your family a lovely week. ❤ Holiday blessings to all! xo

  7. Bette, it’s lovely to meet Karen on your blog in this thoughtful interview. Karen, you give us a sense of your warmth and kindness in your answers … I love the quote from your memoir and the imagery here is one that will stay with me. Keep well and Happy Writing! 😀 Wishing you both a special weekend!❤️

  8. This was a highly enjoyable interview from two women writers that I know and respect. I learned even more about Karen and her books which I have and am enjoying.

  9. What a lovely post, Bette and Karen. So nice to learn more about you, Karen. I love the excerpt from Outshine ~ so uplifting. You are a model for positive thinking. Hugs to both of you, my friends ❤❤

  10. Lovely to learn about Karen and her book, Bette. Great post.

  11. It’s interesting how differently individuals deal with cancer. I have known two women who each had ovarian cancer. One chose to do nothing, took several trips, and died within a year. The other chose to fight this horrible disease and did just that. She had good quality of life for over three and a half years, before losing her battle just last month. Kudos to your guest for her amazing attitude and obvious success. I wish her nothing but the best as she continues to move forward in what is obviously a very meaningful life. 🙂

    • karenringalls said:

      Each of us deal with whatever challenge there is in different ways. I do not think there is any right or wrong way, but we each need to do what we think is right for us. My sister chose to give up on living rather than “fight” for her life. I do not know why I am still here, but I will do anything I can to help women know about ovarian cancer as long as I have a breath to take. Thank you for sharing and thank you for your good wishes.

    • Hi, Joe. Thanks so much for sharing your stories. So glad you stoopped by to meet Karen Ingalls. ❤ Wishing you and your family a blessed and beautiful Thanksgiving! xo

  12. Bette, wonderful to have met Karen, your guest post. Love the strength and fortitude coming out in her writings. I would love to know more about Karen’s grandfather, too. Truly a child of love. Best wishes for your books, Karen, and the inspiration you bring to others.

    • karenringalls said:

      Mary, thank you for stopping by today. My book, Davida: Modeal & Mistress of Augustus Saint-Gaudens will give the reader an introduction to my grandfather, the only child from this union. I am working on my third book which will tell more about my grandfather, Louis Clark and how his birth and growing up affected the kind of man he became. Thank you for your interest and thank you for your comments.

    • Hi, Mary. Thanks so much for stopping by to meet Karen and for joining the conversation. I’m currently reading her novel NOVY’S SON: The Selfish Genius, the life story of one of Saint-Gaudens’s grandsons. It is a well-written and thought -provoking read. I’m sure you’ll enjoy Karen’s books and I’ll definitely be reading more from this talented author. Have a lovely week, my friend. ❤ xo

  13. Thank you for this wonderful interview with Karen. She is quite an inspiring and strong lady and talented author. Wishing you all the best, Karen. Blessings & hugs to you and Bette! 🤗 😘

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