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Karen Halvorsen Schreck

Karen Halvorsen Schreck is the author of two previous novels, Dream Journal and While He Was Away. She received her doctorate in English and Creative Writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her short stories and articles have appeared in Literal Latté, Other Voices, Image, as well as other literary journals and magazines, and have received various awards, including a Pushcart Prize, an Illinois State Arts Council Grant, and in 2009, first prize awards for memoir and devotional magazine writing from the Evangelical Press Association. A freelance writer and frequent visiting professor of English at Wheaton College, Karen lives with her husband and two children in Wheaton, Illinois.
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My Life in 8 Words

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Karen Halvorsen Schreck
Q. What is your motto or maxim?

A. Open eyes. Open hands. Open heart. Open mind.

Q. If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?

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Jesus, and I would say hello, and then see what happens, listening and watching and using every other sense available to me as the moments passed.

Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?

A. Amazing Grace and all those many, other great hymns and spirituals. Any of Tom Waits’ ballads. “The Flower Duet” from Léo Delibes’ Lakmé. Just about all of Paolo Conte’s repertoire, and all of J.S. Bach's. A fair amount of Kate Bush.

Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?

A. Is there perfect happiness on this earth?  I don't think so—though we're granted glimpses of eternity.  For me, a deep experience of happiness comes when I'm with people I love and we are content, maybe walking by water (preferably a large and salty body of it) or sitting in comfortable chair by a fireplace (crackling with a fire made of cherry and birch wood).  Also something delicious to eat and drink—that's often a part of the experience, too.  Good conversation and companionable silence.  A great book.  Poems read aloud.  Music playing, and the quiet that comes after.

Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?

A. Not fiction, but Shakespeare’s villains take the cake. Also, for me, at least, Flannery O’Conner’s.

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