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Karen was born in Connecticut, and received her Master’s degree in deaf education. She has lived in Africa and in Haiti. Karen had an early dream to be one of the youngest published authors, starting a writing club at ten. However, Karen's published works came later in life, after extensive travels and family experience. Karen's ability to draw from personal experience and adapt into writing forms for all ages and interests expresses her true gift.

 

I was born in New Haven, Connecticut. We had birthday parties every year. This was a big deal for my Mom because she never had a party growing up.

 

In sixth grade I began a writing club with neighborhood friends. My goal was to become the youngest published author ever, until my father told me Anne Frank was about 12 when she wrote her diary. We read out loud and were read to as a family and my mother collected antique children’s books. I loved to read biographies. I started in alphabetical order, but must have skipped around because I know I read about the Wright Brothers.

In high school I was very shy and tried not to call attention to myself. I never read out loud unless asked. I still loved to read: Girl of the Limberlost, Story of an African Farm, long epic books by Mitchner, and Gone with the Wind. I didn't write much during this time because I doubted my abilities.

I attended the University of Connecticut. I loved reading and took many English courses. I wanted to work with children and majored in Speech Pathology. I was very interested in Psychology too. I loved children’s books—carried over from the passion of my Mother—and began collecting my own. My best friend and I thought she would write one and I would illustrate it. I enjoyed drawing and art even though I didn’t know anything about illustration. The book was going to be about how to stop the hiccups. We never finished it.

 

I completed graduate school in New Haven, Connecticut with a Masters of Art in Deaf Education. I married Steven Williams and began teaching hearing impaired children.

 

My son Peter was born.

I went to Malawi, Africa with my husband and Peter. I worked for the Peace Corps as a volunteer in a school for the deaf and later as an English teacher in a school for boys. I still dreamt I would write books for children. I had lots of free time and few things to clutter my life, so I began writing again, and took a correspondence course, Writing for Children, through the Institute for Children's Literature.

 

My second son Christopher was born in a district Hospital in Nsanje, Malawi during the time of the flying ants. I continued writing and published several articles and stories in magazines for children.

 
 

I returned to Pittsburgh where I continued writing. My daughter Rachel and youngest son Jonathan were born. I joined a writer’s group and we met once a week for more than 20 years. A writer’s group is a valuable tool. We are all good friends and trust each other to help make our writing better with comments and critiques.

 

My first book Galimoto was published. It became a Reading Rainbow Feature book. One of the most exciting moments in my life was when I heard my book would be published.

I lived in Deschapelles, Haiti at the Hôpital Albert Schweitzer. My husband Steve was a doctor in the district hospital. I continued to write and volunteer in the hospital. I also started a cottage quilting industry to help some of the village women and artists learn a skill and earn some money. Quilting is another one of my passions. I wrote Tap-Tap and Painted Dreams. Catherine Stock came to visit and to work on the illustrations.

 

I returned home to Pittsburgh and continued writing. I also started teaching writing, and visiting schools and libraries to do lectures. I also began teaching for the Institute for Children's Literature.

 

We returned to spend another year in Haiti. I wrote Circles of Hope, a picture book, that came out in 2005. I also wrote public relations material for Hôpital Albert Schweitzer. I studied writing for adults with the Long Ridge Writer's Group.

 

I volunteered for the Pittsburgh Refugee Center and several of my books grew out of this experience. My son Peter (When Africa was Home) was married in Taiwan and my family has expanded.

 

I became a grandmother this year and Peter (When Africa was Home) became a father. Ethan Jon was born in Taiwan.

 

In September of 2010 we moved to Chinle, AZ on the Navajo reservation where my husband Steve works for the Indian Health Service. I am still writing, visiting schools and libraries and attending writing conferences around the country. I teach online in the graduate writing programs at Seton Hill University and Chatham University. I enjoy meeting the people here and learning about the culture. Navajo weaving has become a new hobby and I enjoy hiking, biking snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing in the Southwest. Canyon de Chelly is at our backdoor.

 
   

© 2013 Karen Lynn Williams