Ball, Karen (M.) 1957–
Ball, Karen (M.) 1957–
PERSONAL: Born 1957; married; husband's name Don.
ADDRESSES: Home—Southern OR. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Multnomah Publishers, P.O. Box 1720, Sisters, OR 97759.
CAREER: Writer and editor.
The Hazardous Homestead (juvenile novel; in "Choice Adventures" series), Tyndale House (Wheaton, IL), 1992.
The Overnight Ordeal (juvenile novel; in "Choice Adventures" series), Tyndale House (Wheaton, IL), 1994.
Reunion, Palisades (Sisters, OR), 1996.
(With Jennifer Brooks and Annie Jones) Fools for Love, Palisades (Sisters, OR), 1998.
Wilderness, Multnomah Publishers (Sisters, OR), 1999.
The Breaking Point, Multnomah Publishers (Sisters, OR), 2003.
A Test of Faith, Multnomah Publishers (Sisters, OR), 2004.
Shattered Justice, Multnomah Publishers (Sisters, OR), 2005.
(With Karen L. Tornberg) Family Traditions That Last a Lifetime, Tyndale House (Wheaton, IL), 1993.
(With Barbara Jean Hicks and Lorena McCourtney) Mistletoe (stories; contains "Unlikely Angel"), Palisades (Sisters, OR), 1996.
(With Barbara Jean Hicks and Diane Noble) Heart's Delight (stories; contains "Valentine Surprise"), Palisades (Sisters, OR), 1998.
(Compiler) The Storytellers' Collection: Tales from Home, Collection Two, Multnomah Publishers (Sisters, OR), 2001.
(With Liz Curtis Higgs and Carolyn Zane) Three Weddings and a Giggle (novellas; contains "Bride on the Run"), Multnomah Publishers (Sisters, OR), 2001.
(Contributor) Lively Bible Lessons for Preschoolers, revised edition edited by Cindy S. Hansen and Mikal Keefer, Group Publishers (Loveland, CO), 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: For more than twenty years, editor and writer Karen Ball has worked in the Christian book publishing industry. In addition to compiling and editing collections of stories, she has published nonfiction, short fiction, and novels for both children and adults.
Ball's novellas appeared in Heart's Delight and Three Weddings and a Giggle. In the former, which Library Journal reviewer Melissa Hudak called a "lighthearted collection of novellas," Ball gives readers a variation on the blind date with "Valentine's Surprise." In like manner, Three Weddings and a Giggle contains Ball's "Bride on the Run," the tale of a woman who escapes from her own wedding. Although a Publishers Weekly contributor noted the formulaic nature of the pieces in this collection, the critic praised the "impressively developed" characters, adding that the "lively collection raises the bar for Christian romance." Library Journal reviewer Melanie C. Duncan concluded that the stories in the volume "are the perfect romp for a spring day."
Ball based her novel The Breaking Point on her own struggle-fraught marriage as well as on research about marriages under stress. Despite years of prompting by friends to write a book like The Breaking Point, it was, as Ball wrote on the Let's Talk Fiction Web site, only after "hearing about more and more marriages, even Christian marriages, falling apart" and "story after story of pain and loss, anger and disappointment, [that] God nudged me—and I knew it was time." In the novel Ball portrays Gabe and Renee Roman, who while struggling in their marriage, also then find themselves struggling against the elements when they are caught in a blizzard in the mountains of Oregon. Flashbacks provide background about the couple and their relationships, while the present action is a "delightful cliffhanger," according to All Readers.com critic Harriet Klausner, who called the book "a powerful contemporary tale." Reflecting on the novel at Let's Talk Fiction, Ball stated she hopes "it will help others discover what Don and I did: that marriage isn't so much about being happy as it is about being obedient to the One who calls us together."
Ball's 2004 novel A Test of Faith is, to quote a Publishers Weekly reviewer, an "uneven story" that revolves around the ever-changing relationship of a diabetic mother and her strong-willed daughter.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, January 1, 1998, John Mort, review of Heart's Delight, p. 772.
Library Journal, April 1, 1998, Melissa Hudak, review of Heart's Delight, p. 74; April 1, 2001, Melanie C. Duncan, review of Three Weddings and a Giggle, p. 84.
Publishers Weekly, February 5, 2001, review of Three Weddings and a Giggle, p. 68; August 16, 2004, review of A Test of Faith, p. 43.
AllReaders.com, http://www.allreaders.com/ (March 11, 2005,) Harriet Klausner, review of The Breaking Point.
LetsTalkFiction.com, http://www.LetsTalkFiction.com/ (April 4, 2005), "Karen Ball."