Posted by: nancyisanders | November 20, 2009

Author Interview: Karen Branscomb Milam


Meet Author Karen Branscomb Milam!

I knew that I wanted to write from the time I placed my chubby little fingers around my great uncle Lawrence’s flat red carpenter pencil, to make my first mark on paper. White paper was scarce in my home, but I covered brown paper bag strips with the alphabet, poems and stories during my early school years.

Years later, after I had raised my family, and retired after 23 years of teaching elementary school, my desire to write for children has been rekindled.

Nancy I. Sanders, Shirley Shibley, and Jan Kern have shared their valuable expertise and encouragement with me. Their counsel has helped me to get published with Focus On The Family, The Kids’ Ark, and DCCC: developmental reading stories. Although I am beginning my writing career late in life––the journey is where my joy lives––so I’m never disappointed. I am excited by each stage.

Q: As a child, what were your favorite books to read?
Every book I read became my favorite, so I don’t necessarily remember the words, but the environments. My mother tucked me in with Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes, and I can remember I loved to “watch” the cow jump over the moon before I went to sleep at night. In the first grade, I learned about the concept of city life from the Dick and Jane books; the principal’s office of my small country school acted as a very small school library; and the Book Mobile brought to me a sense of wonderment like none other. Each book I checked out to read provided light to my forested pathway. They provided the light so I, a lumber mill camp kid, could journey out from under the dark shadows of the tall redwood and fir trees, to discover people and places awaiting me in the outside world.

Q: What inspires you most as a writer?
God and His creation inspire me. I think that people, and the complexity of the human spirit are beyond human explanation. I find the unique abilities, talents, mannerisms, attitudes, of each individual, as they relate to their environment, continuously filling my writing treasure box full of ideas. The magnificent animals, some stately and some humorous give me a variety of animal friends to write about, or to pair with human characters. This incredible universe is alive, and pulsating with settings both in this world and beyond. From these things, I am convinced that every story setting, every character, and every plot imaginable emerge.

Q: What is one of your most favorite topics to write about?
Conflict resolution. I love the story of redemption, restoration, and its healing power. To help a character resolve internal or external pressures to draw closer to God, and/or to function well in this environment provides a challenge comparable to assembling the most illusive pieces of a 3-D puzzle.

Q: Share one tip you would like to give to someone who wants to learn how to write a beginning reader.
Go on a discovery mission to determine your reader and market needs. There are many ways to do this. Read Chapter 11, in Nancy I. Sanders’ Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Children’s Books, Get Them Published, and Build a Successful Writing Career. This process can take many forms: Find your intended publishers, study their websites and read their beginning reader books. Interact with beginning readers at school, or at home with your own children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and neighbors, as you learn how they relate with ideas and words.

Read to them and discover what makes them giggle, or what makes their eyes widen in surprise. Find out what makes them pull away to hide under a pillow, or what makes them say “yum” or “ick.” You know when small children roll on the floor in delight, or mimic the character of an animal or person, that they have placed themselves into the reading process. These observations help you to develop interesting markers that will draw a child into the story. While you are making discovery observations, work diligently to discover potential markets for your beginning reader ideas.


  1. I enjoyed your interview, Karen. Best wishes to you as you continue on your writing journey, using the gifts God has given you to his glory.

    • Evelyn,
      Thank you so very much!

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