Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Be Sure to Google Yourself

This came out a year ago and I just discovered it online, because it's been awhile since I Googled myself. I really like how this piece came out. The reporter, Marianne Gillespie, was very nice and professional and easy to talk to, and I was happy with her article. I thought I'd share it on my blog.

I read the print version back when it came out, but didn't see it online until I Googled myself!

By Marianne Gillespie
Posted Mar 03, 2010 @ 03:00 PM
Last update Mar 03, 2010 @ 03:52 PM
Life was far from dazzling as a shy student at Chillicothe Township High School.

Karen Jones Gowen, a 1966 graduate, now spends her time writing novels in South Jordan, Utah, near Salt Lake City.

Her dad, Bill Jones, was the minister of First United Methodist Church for much of the 1960s. The Jones family, including mom, Lucille, older sister, Julie, and younger sisters, Jeri and Becky, moved to Chillicothe when Gowen was in eighth grade.

“I have great memories of the community, including the river,” said Gowen.

Once she graduated, she attended Northern Illinois University, the University of Illinois, and after converting to Mormonism at age 19, she transferred to Brigham Young University.

She met her husband while in Utah, and eventually they moved back to Illinois in Jacksonville. It is there that the stage is set for her novel, “Uncut Diamonds,” in which Chillicothe is specifically mentioned. She worked on the book for 10 years before it was published by WiDo Publishing.

With several titles for the book, Gowen said one day she looked down at her engagement ring. The diamond was lost for 20 years, but eventually was replaced after she and her husband kept saying they needed to replace it. They will celebrate their 40th anniversary this year.

Then it hit her. People are like diamonds,” said Gowen. “We’re so unpolished and so rough. As we live our lives, it polishes us.”

Loosely based on her life, the book follows the life of Shawn and Marcie McGill and their young family in the late 1970s. The couple opens a health-food store, which Marcie’s younger sister helps run. The story follows the family in their Mormon faith, financial issues during those years and the decisions the characters make.

She now is working on the sequel, “House of Diamonds,” and plans for a few more in the series.

Gowen said when she first starts writing, sometimes she has to make herself write for a certain length of time.
But once the rough draft is written, the revising and editing comes easily. Her work comes in handy, as she now is editing for WiDo Publishing.

When not writing, she spends time taking care of the house, gardening and reading. Her latest interesting read was “Nancy Drew Girl Sleuth,” which tells about the creation of the Nancy Drew character.

She is the mother of 10 kids, ranging in age from 38 to 18, and eight grandchildren, living in Utah, Colorado, Texas and California. “Someone once said, ‘We’re like our own country,’” Gowen said with a laugh.

With family at the forefront, it seems natural her first book would be about a family member. Gowen did not intend for “Farm Girl” to be a published book. She had written articles and had other stories published previously, however.

A few years ago, she was finishing her degree at Brigham Young and was in a folklore class. She chose her mom as her person to interview and write stories about her life. “At first I turned it in as assignments, but it was so fun,” said Gowen. Her mom, she said, had such a good recollection of her life.

The book follows her mom’s early years on a Nebraska farm, beginning in the 1920s, including remembrances of farming, country schools, the stock market crash in 1929 and more.

Gowen decided she would present it to her mom for her 90th birthday. While Gowen’s son was printing the collection of stories at Kinko’s, which also included photos from her grandmother, people commented that they wanted to buy it. In 2007, it became Gowen’s first published book.

Her dad is deceased, but her mom, now 92, lives in Aitkin, Minn.

Gowen’s books are available locally in Quincy and Nauvoo, and also by searching for her name on

“I never kept in touch with people from high school,” Gowen said, but added that she still thinks fondly of her friends and their part in her life. She wants those in town to know this: “Never give up on your dreams.

“It was always my dream to be an author, to write books, and finally at 59, “Farm Girl” was published, and “Uncut Diamonds” came out shortly after I turned 61. “House of Diamonds” is scheduled for publication next year  — I’ll be 63 — and I intend to keep on writing. So it’s never too late to realize a dream!”


  1. I love your young picture, Karen! It's beautiful!!

    How amazing this technology is. One can find everything in the world, it seems, online.

    Since I didn't see this in print, I'm glad I get to read it now. It's JUST wonderful!!!

    (Yes, it certainly IS never too late to realize a dream!)

  2. Great article!

    Do you have a google alert set up for your name, your novel's title, stuff like that? If not, google "google alert" they'll step you through the set up process and you'll get alerts to stuff like this automatically.

  3. Great article and the names of the towns look very familiar to someone who is a resident of Central Illinois! Haha.

  4. That's a darling picture! And what a great, in depth interview. Very nice.

  5. What a great article and so nice to learn more about you.--Inger

  6. Great article! That's quite a life you've had so far. :)

  7. Thanks guys, glad you enjoyed seeing this. I hesitated posting it because it says several things about me I don't normally advertise-- my age, my religion and my number of children-- but ah what the heck (you can tell I'm a Mormon because I say 'heck' but I will never say 'oh my heck' because I'm from the Midwest and I'd rather die first.)

    Magan, LOL!! Love central Illinois, how I miss it sometimes. But not the weather.

  8. Wow! This is so cool, thanks for showing us Karen.

  9. I so remember that hairdo. I wanted one just like it but my curly locks wouldn't cooperate. You've lived a rich life and I'm sure your stories will do well.
    N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium.

  10. It was a great article and really well written. You look so cute in that picture! :)

  11. What a great way for us to get to know you! Thanks!...:)JP

  12. This is a wonderful article about you! I learned more today about you and that is wonderful- never give up on your dreams!

  13. great article.

    it's always weird when i google myself.

  14. What a pic and what an article. EXCELLENT! So well written. "It's never too late to realize a dream!” Great stuff. Karen.

  15. Awesome! You deserve whatever kudos you get Karen.

  16. Beautiful picture.

    Loved the article too. :-)

  17. How cool! It's been a while since I googled myself too. I'll have to take a look.


  18. Great article Karen. I did Google myself once... it came up "Did you mean..." :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  19. Wow! What an amazing interview! You are an amazing woman, Karen :)

  20. I google my name a lot... but I'm very protective of it and it's not found in many places.

  21. Lovely article. And a lovely photo to match!

  22. The first time I googled myself, I was surprised to find me. It's fun! Loved this article on you and now I know you so much better. Congratulations on the next book coming out!

  23. How brilliant! What a great find :) I googled myself and found a whole bunch of other writers with my name lol

  24. KarenG - dontcha just look so lovely!! Yay!!! What a great article too - thanks for sharing it here!! It's great to read about you - I love your people are like diamonds quote!! Lovely!!

    Take care

  25. Excellent article. Now, how did you get this article in the paper? Did you contact them? You know I'm interested since I was writing about this topic last week.

    I Google myself now and then. Just yesterday I googled my pseudonym, Arlee Bird, and saw pages and pages of listings associated with my blogging activities. The reason why I use a pen name is that when I Google my real name I find millions of entries about thousands of people with the same name.

    Tossing It Out
    Twitter hashtag: #atozchallenge

  26. What a wonderful article Karen! Thanks so much for sharing it. I promise I'll never tell how old you are. *shhh*

  27. Anne, I should have gone in and changed the numbers :) Usually I lop 10 years off my age and no one is the wiser.

    Lee, The way I got this article was someone in Chillicothe who had read Farm Girl mentioned it to the reporter that it would make a good article for a series the paper has on Chilli H. S. grads. So she emailed me to set up a phone interview.

    Old Kitty, Here's to the uncut diamond within you--


    Karen Jones Gowen (This is how I sign copies of Uncut Diamonds hehe)

  28. Great article and pic! Loved learning more about you and your life.

  29. Googling yourself is so important for writers who are building platform. There are people who make snarky remarks about it as if it were an exercise in narcissism. Not at all. I've discovered a lot of my blog friends from Google searches. If somebody references my blog, you bet I'm going to go read theirs and make a comment.

    Everybody needs to sign with Google alert, too, but I'd say Google alert only snags my mentions about 20% of the time. The rest of the time I have to go searching for them.

  30. Karen this was wonderful; I love your photo~
    I love the background and the inspiration you exude~ Well Done!
    Really 10 kids...You are Wonder Woman~lol

  31. Hi Karen .. this was great .. my gosh ten kids .. crumbs - you are a country in your own right! Isn't that a brilliant story .. love it & your Mum must be so pleased to see your work and know her stories, and some of her mother's stories are there for posterity. I really want to read Farm Girl and will one day .. and the concept of the roughness of humanity being polished off as we gently age!

    Cheers - great read .. Hilary

  32. What a beautiful photo, Karen, and a wonderful photo.

    You should set up Google Alerts - it's an add-on in your account (where Reader, etc is). It will send you an email each day if something has appeared with your name. It does miss things, though.

  33. Duh, I meant 'wonderful article'. Sorry! :)

  34. Awesome interview of you. =D Love the photo.

    Hey, I'm working on the last two classes for my degree from BYU. (I went back after my youngest started school.) It's a great school. It's nice to have something in common with you. =)


Comments are welcome!