Katie Powner is an award-winning author who lives in rural Montana where cows still outnumber people. She is a two-time OCW Cascade Award and ACFW First Impressions Award winner. Katie is a biological and adoptive mother of three and foster mother to many more. She and her husband have been in youth ministry for over a decade. She earned a Library Journal starred review for her thoughtful debut The Sowing Season. Katie has won over audiences with her immersive and emotionally provocative novels.

Katie explores deeper questions about grief and loss in her latest release, Where the Blue Sky Begins. Let’s see what she has to share about her latest novel.

FF: Please provide a brief summary of your new novel Where the Blue Sky Begins.
When a shallow but charming financial advisor from Seattle and an eccentric terminally ill woman in rural Montana are thrown together for the summer, their unconventional friendship will produce surprising results. Eric and Eunice couldn’t be more different, but they each must learn lessons about themselves, what friendship really means, and how to let go. When the end of summer comes, neither of them will ever be the same.

FF: Can you tell us a little more about who or what inspired you to write this story?
I had been thinking about what I wanted to write next for several months when I was driving to an appointment one day. I turned onto a certain road and found myself steering carefully around a woman on a scooter driving on the shoulder. She was wearing an oversized helmet and a trench coat and just puttering along as if it were perfectly reasonable for her to be on a busy high-speed road with her scooter. I couldn’t help but wonder: Where is she going? Why is she driving a scooter? Why is she wearing a trench coat in summer? And the next thing I knew, the storyline for Where the Blue Sky Begins was born.

FF: Where the Blue Sky Begins is the third book you’ve published with Bethany House. What do you think your novels have in common and what sets this latest release apart?
All three of my novels so far feature small-town settings and focus on ordinary people. All three contain a mix of both humor and heart. What sets this release apart, I hope, is its willingness to venture into some pretty uncomfortable territory.

FF: What did you enjoy most about creating an eccentric yet complicated protagonist like Eunice Parker? What did you find the most challenging?
I loved writing Eunice because she was unpredictable. Nothing about her life was “normal,” and she had no way of being prepared for what she was facing and experiencing, so there was no telling what she might do next. Her moods changed frequently; her health influenced her decisions. Those same things also made her difficult to write because I’ve never been in her shoes. Though I couldn’t necessarily relate to her, I just tried to imagine what I might feel in her situation and write as honestly as I could.

FF: Without giving away any spoilers, what makes Eric Larson and Eunice Parker such a compelling duo?
They’re a very unlikely pair, which I think makes them interesting. But more than that, I think it’s compelling that they aren’t looking for each other. Not at all. They would both be happy if they could be left alone to do their own thing, but of course that’s not possible.

FF: Where the Blue Sky Begins bravely addresses the realities of facing terminal illness. How did you approach creating Eunice’s character in light of her circumstances?
I’ve been around a lot of death and dying in my life. My own father faced a terminal illness when I was a teenager. Those experiences didn’t necessarily give me the insight I needed to create Eunice, because every situation and person is unique, but they did give me the conviction that her story was important and shouldn’t be shied away from. So I was determined to approach Eunice head-on without turning away from the hard and messy and scary.

FF: What do you hope readers will take away from reading Where the Blue Sky Begins?
This is difficult to answer without giving too much away, but one thing I hope readers are encouraged to do after reading this book is give people, especially people who seem hard to love at first, a chance. Don’t be too quick to judge based on outward appearances or first impressions. You never know what someone else is going through.

FF: What are you working on next?
I have a couple of stories in the works. They’re both small-town stories, which is my thing, but they have big aspirations. I enjoy challenging myself and exploring new territory.

Where the Blue Sky Begins
Katie Powner
Bethany House
Genres: Contemporary, Family Life Fiction
Release Date: October 11, 2022

ISBN-10: ‎ 0764240390
ISBN-13: ‎ 978-0764240393

Book Summary:
Sometimes the hardest road of all is the road home.

When confident and handsome Eric Larson is sent to a rural Montana town to work in the local branch of his uncle’s financial company, he’s determined to exceed everyone’s expectations, earn a promotion, and be back in Seattle by the end of summer. Yet nothing could prepare him for the lessons this small town has in store.

At forty-six years old, eccentric and outspoken Eunice Parker has come to accept her terminal illness and has given herself one final goal: seek forgiveness from everyone on her bucket list before her time runs out. But it will take more courage than she can muster on her own.

After an accident pushes Eric and Eunice together, the unlikely pair is forced to spend more time with each other than either would like, which challenges their deepest prejudices and beliefs. As summer draws to a close, neither Eric nor Eunice is where they thought they would be, but they both wrestle with the same important question: What matters most when the end is near?


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About The Author

Katie Powner lives in Montana, where cows still outnumber people. She loves Jesus, red shoes, and candy. Katie is a mom to the third power (biological, adoptive, and foster) who believes every child deserves a loving place to call home.