Village Artists


Karen Emilson - Author

Karen Snively was born in Hamilton, Ontario in 1963. She grew up along the Niagara escarpment, attending elementary school at Tapleytown then graduating from Winona High School in 1981.

"One thing I regret is that I didn't immediately pursue writing as a career. I thought I'd never be able to earn a living as a writer and worried that turning my favourite past time into work might take the enjoyment out of it. So, I put the typing skills I learned in school to use and joined the workforce as a secretary. My former typing teacher, Mrs. Gibson, was very strict so I learned to type properly (wrists up) and can type close to 100 words a minute. This really comes in handy during the first draft of a manuscript."

In 1981 Karen met Mark Emilson from Winnipeg and following a whirlwind romance, the two were married in July 1982. In 1985, following the birth of their son, Laurie, they moved from Winnipeg to the family ranch at Vogar, Manitoba.

"Meeting Mark changed my life forever. I absolutely love Manitoba and am quite content to live here on the ranch. We run a good-sized cow herd and spend 95% of our time at home. I'm fortunate that he supports me wholly in my career choices. He was especially encouraging when I proposed the idea to write a book about the cattle industry. I can't say enough good things about my husband and in all honesty, would be lost without him.

After moving to the farm, Karen began teaching fitness classes in Ashern as a way to stay in shape and meet people. She worked as the postmaster in Vogar until 1988, when she became part owner of a newspaper/printing business in Ashern.

"I was young and enthusiastic when I joined business partners Bill and Louella MacPherson and we began a small print shop. Like most things I've done in my life, I went with my gut instincts and dove in, feeling somehow that it was the right thing to do at that stage of my life. I learned a lot from the MacPhersons, took over the business soon afterwards and put a tremendous amount of energy into it. I learned so much about life from that experience that I wouldn't trade the difficulties I encountered for anything."

In 1993 she began working as the local reporter for the Interlake Spectator regional newspaper. Two years later, she was contacted by the Pischke brothers and she wrote a feature about their abusive childhoods which sent shockwaves across the province. In 1996, "Where Children Run" was published and became a Canadian bestseller within six months of its release.

"I was never able to compete with the larger regional paper, so I shut down the newspaper end of the business and started a local newsletter that took off and is still in print today. While still running the printing business, I went to work for Merv Farmer at Interlake Publishing as a reporter for the Spectator. That's when my writing career began. Merv taugh tme a lot about th ebusiness and the editors I worked with were excellent. Roger Newman was editing the Spectator at the time and he cut me down to size pretty quick. Like most new writers I was outwardly confident but inwardly insecure about my writing. He was hard on me and I learned a lot. One day he said that I was a good writer and it meant a lot to me.

The Pischke brothers came along soon after that and once again my life changed in ways I never imagined then. I talk more about this in "Behind the Book."

In 1997 Karen sold the printing business to pursue a full-time writing career. She began working as Communications Coordinator for the Manitoba Cattle Producers Association (MCPA) in 1998, developing a trade paper for the Association called "Cattle Country." In November 2001, Karen released a sequel to the first book titled, "When Memories Remain."

"So many people called me asking what happened to the twins after they left the farm. A lot of things happened to the twins that warranted another book so I wrote it. See "Behind the Book" I had to leave my job at the MCPA to finish the sequel, but felt the time was finally right to pursue writing full time. I'd floundered a bit after selling the printing business so the job with the MCPA was perfect at the time. Like all jobs I've held though, it didn't quite fulfill that need in me to write creatively."

Karen has written numerous freelance articles over the years but has set aside her freelance career while she pursues a career in fiction.

"When I turned 40 I decided that I was no longer prepared to work just for the money. That milestone year helped clarify for me that a life is best spent doing work you love. I love writing books and telling stories. Now with "Just a Matter of Time" finished, I can go back to the fiction manuscripts that were put on hold this past year, plus keep my eyes open for another great non-fiction project."