Meet the Members: Karen Fort

“Texas authors are still valued by national publishers.”
– Karen Fort
A member of the Writers’ League for a few months, Karen lives in Edinburg, Texas.

Scribe: In what genre(s) do you write?

Karen Fort: All of the books I have written (eight published so far, none self-published) contain an element of Southern or Texas history.

Scribe: What author would you most like to have a drink with, and what’s the first question you would ask them?

KF: I would like to meet either Dewey Lambdin or Bernard Cornwell.  I would ask them how they developed the enormous story arcs they use for their novels.

Scribe: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what book would you want to have with you to keep you sane?

KF: The Holy Bible

Scribe: What have you learned from your association with the Writers’ League?

KF: I have learned that Texas authors are still valued by national publishers.  Years ago, I helped coordinate the Southwest Writers Conference held at the University of Houston.  Texas authors were in demand and their books were very popular with agents and editors, especially western and romance writers.  (Some agents and editors came to Houston expecting to find us all wearing boots, cowboy hats, and six-shooters.  I learned then that folks back east were not nearly as sophisticated as we and they thought they were. Yes, we had electricity and indoor plumbing, too.)

Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?

KF: I have one more non-fiction book to finish, then I will begin writing mystery novels.

Scribe: Here at the Writers’ League, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down?

KF: I can’t think of any Texas-related books I’ve read in the last year.

Scribe: Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world? An opportunity for blatant self-promotion!

KF: My book, A Feast of Reason, was published by State House Press last year.  Based upon a daily journal kept throughout the Civil War, the book tells the story of James Madison Hall.  A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Hall and his father came to Texas in the 1830s.  They settled in Houston County, where Hall served as county clerk in Crockett and owned a farm near his father’s on the Elkhart River.  He also lived at times in Liberty, where he was twice elected mayor.  Life along the Trinity River was busy, and the journal relates everyday happenings throughout the war years and through most of 1866.  Oh, did I mention that he was tried twice for murder?  The book is available through Texas A&M University Press.  My book, Bale O’ Cotton, is about the mechanical and social history of cotton ginning. It was re-issued by Texas A&M Press in 2015 (first published in 1992).  My book, Chasing the Bone Pile, is about the Strecker Museum at Baylor University. I also wrote five Image of America books about the Rio Grande Valley, which were published by Arcadia.

Thank you, Karen!

If you’re a Writers’ League member and you’d be interested in being interviewed for our Meet the Members feature, email us at member@writersleague.org for more information. It’s a great way for other members to get to know you and for you to share a bit about what you’re working on!

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