Welcome to Our Write Mind. I hope you will explore the various pages. I would love to hear from you and am curious about what you would like to see discussed or what you would find helpful to you as a writer. My goal is to have new material available weekly. My best wishes to you as we explore the writing profession. Dara

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Interview with Kate Thomas, KCWC Founder

Interview With Kate Thomas: Founder of the Kentucky Christian Writer’s Conference
by Dara A. Lehner

Kate Thomas, of Brandenburg, Kentucky had big ideas back in 1996. Without proper guidance from a stranger who entered her life that year, her vision for one of the most popular Christian writer’s conferences may have never become a reality. Here is an interview with Kate.

Dara: Kate, Thanks for taking time with me for this interview to tell us about yourself and the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference.

Kate: It’s my pleasure; we are excited you are here.

Dara: Before we get to the conference tell us a little about yourself.

Kate: I graduated from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. My husband, Wallace, is a retired minister. We have two grown children and four grandchildren. I was a former kindergarten teacher, too.

Dara: Have you always enjoyed writing?

Kate: Yes, I have always enjoyed writing. My mother and a wonderful high school English teacher encouraged my creative writing when I was young.

Dara: As a minister’s wife and mother, how did you find time to write?

Kate: (laughing) As an adult, life has a way of eating up leisure time, but I just continued writing as time permitted. I always wanted to write better.

Dara: Did you do something special to improve?

Kate: I sought out other writers to learn from them, and found hope and encouragement by attending area writing conferences.

Dara: Do you remember one significant one?

Kate: My first writing conference was a small one in Upland, IN. But I came away with a clear vision from God, calling me to develop a Christian writing conference in Kentucky.

Dara: What did you do about that? How did you get started?

Kate: My biggest problem was I had no clue how to start. (laughing) It seemed an overwhelming task, especially since I had seriously injured my back moving boxes of books from my car’s trunk.

Dara: So what happened next, particularly since you were still recovering with your back?

Kate: Well, having previously heard of the stellar reputation of the American Christian Writer’s Conference (ACW) in Nashville, TN, I decided I was going, some way, somehow. I called a friend and we made our plans to attend.

Dara: I understand it is a great conference, particularly for new writers.

Kate: Yes, but another turn of events almost dashed my dreams of going. We were making final preparations just before the conference when my back injury decided not to cooperate. I had spasms and pain at times so intense it reduced me to crawling just to be mobile.

Dara: Ouch, so you didn’t get to go?

Kate: My dear friend, Joyce Joines came to my rescue. Joyce knowing the importance of the conference agreed to go and help me maneuver throughout the hotel and conference workshops.

Dara: There’s a real friend.

Kate: After a morning session, I was struggling with pain, barely able to move around the conference. I took a very fortuitous break sitting down right next to a stranger who would change my life.

Dara: Tell about that, who was it?

Kate: After exchanging some casual chitchat, I found us discussing my vision of a Kentucky conference. This stranger, Donna Goodrich, was a speaker at the ACW Conference. She understood me and what I was trying to do.

Dara: Wow! We know God’s hand was on this meeting.

Kate: Donna challenged me to follow her vision for a local conference. Together, we, along with my friends, Joyce and Brenda Loy worked diligently for thirteen straight months overcoming all the obstacles being thrown up to thwart the development of this Kentucky conference. There were so many, at times we wondered if it would happen.

Dara: It took you thirteen months to plan it, when did it start?

Kate: In June 1997, the first Kentucky Christian Writer’s Conference debuted in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. I opened a map trying to find a good location and spied E-town, which is called the “heartland” here in Kentucky.

Dara: This year then will mark the 12th consecutive Christian Writer’s Conference in Kentucky. Who is your keynote speaker this year?

Kate: Karen Moore Artl, who is the Senior Acquisitions Editor at Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Dara: That is very impressive, who have some of your past speakers been?

Kate: Let’s see, Donna Goodrich kept her promise to be the first speaker back in 1997. Since then, we have been able to have access to great authors and speakers like Marlene Bagnull, Jim Watkins, Cecil “Cec” Murphey, Susan Titus Osborne, Dr. Dennis “Doc” Hensley, Sally Stuart, Holly Miller, and Sandra Aldrich to come share their expertise and knowledge of writing with us.

Dara: Tell me how this conference is unique?

Kate: I believe it is big enough to attract these fabulous speakers, yet it is small enough ALL attendees feel comfortable.

Dara: Is it designed for the beginning writer in mind since it is small?

Kate: Oh goodness no. There are workshops for the new writer through the accomplished writer. Everyone wants each other to succeed. We all cheer when we hear of another’s accomplishment since the last conference.

Dara: That’s wonderful, sounds like everyone kicks in to help.

Kate: Yes, it is a real team effort. The committee is never satisfied with our past success. Even though we are happy the conference is over, we meet right after we are dismissed: one to thank everyone for a fabulous job; and two, to briefly discuss what went well and where we can improve. Attendees are very honest on the evaluations we pass out, which are looked at later. Our continuing goal for each new conference is to better meet the needs of each writer.

Dara: I understand you have multiple articles, devotions and several books. Can you briefly tell us about them?

Kate: Two of my popular books: Mother Duck Knows the Way is designed to enable children to learn about trust and overcoming fear; along with New Every Morning, now in its second printing, is a book of practical devotions enjoyed by adults and older youth. I also have a book, Grandparenting a Child with Autism: A Search for Help and Hope, which will assist those with specialized needs who are longing for some encouragement, hope and practical help.

Dara: Kate, with all your success with writing, what is your biggest joy?

Kate: I guess my biggest joy is seeing a conference attendee being published.

Dara: Thank you Kate, and congratulations to a real dreamer for following a seemingly elusive vision, and in turn, helping thousands of other writers achieve theirs goals.

For more information visit
Kate Thomas’ website: http://katerthomas.angelfire.com/

Kentucky Christian Writers Conference website: http://www.kychristianwriters.com/

Sunday, June 1, 2008

KCWC- Kentucky Christian Writers Conference

I want to share a bit about a wonderful conference and an even more fantastic group of people at the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference (KCWC) in Elizabethtown, Ky. The conference is in its twelfth year and was started by Kate Thomas and her devoted team of friends.

This year's keynote speaker is Karen Moore Artl, Senior Acquisitions Editor, Thomas Nelson Publishers. Karen is a talented and giving writer herself. She is happy to talk with you and always has sage advice and encouragement, too.

KCWC runs from June 20-21, 2008 starting around 8:30 for registration and check-in. See the KCWC website for all the details.

There are always many opportunities and workshops for new and veteran writers. This year the conference team determined to keep the conference fresh and innovative has established interest groups to explore.

There are also workshops for Spanish speaking/writing attendees. I personally have made many enduring friends and network contacts over the last several years by attending and speaking at KCWC.

I hope to post an interview here with the founder Kate Thomas in a few days.

In addition to myself, there is a treasure trove of talented speakers leading the workshops and interest groups. Check out their website to see the full complement of offerings. I will be conducting three workshops on photography, writing for children's magazines, and new writers' questions.

For more information or to register click on the above link or copy and paste from here:

If you can attend, please make it a point to introduce yourself.