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Charleston couple's engagement
published in Kingsbury "Love Story" novel
Trey led Kaylee,
blindfold over her eyes, to a spot next to two dozen red roses along the
boardwalk in Wilmington, North Carolina. An easel was strategically
placed between the two bouquets of flowers holding a small chalkboard. A
message handwritten in chalk read, "This will be the view ... each
brand-new day with you."
Trey took off her blindfold and began to kneel.
It was like something out of a novel.
To Kaylee's surprise, that's exactly what it was.
From the day she first picked up a Karen Kingsbury novel in middle
school, Kaylee Christian was hooked. She loved the stories and the
characters the Christian fiction author created. Kingsbury quickly
became her favorite author. Not only has Christian, who is from
Griffithsville, read each of Kingsbury's books, but she belongs to an
online community of other dedicated fans of the author's work.
As much of a fan as she is, getting engaged in a scenario crafted by the
famous author was something Christian had never imagined.
Newly engaged Kaylee Christian
(center) and her fiance, Trey Faber (right) pose for a photo with
author, Karen Kingsbury (left) in Wilmington, North Carolina,
after their proposal. The couple's engagement is written in her new
book, "Love Story."
Trey Faber, who is
from Charleston, had been dating Christian about two months when he sent
an email to Kingsbury with an idea in April 2016. Both are 20 and
currently undergraduate students at the University of Charleston.
"Dear Mrs. Kingsbury," he wrote, "You are my girlfriend's favorite
author. I love her very much and I'm going to ask her to marry me at
sunset on Sunday, May 21, 2017. I thought maybe you could help."
His hope was for
Kingsbury to write her next book about Christian. Karen was already in
the middle of completing her newest book, "Love Story," so she
couldn't craft an entire novel about her fan.
She did, however, write their engagement into "Love Story,"
working with Faber to create an engagement scene that she inserted into
The scene came to life on May 21 in Wilmington.
Kingsbury and her marketing team worked with Faber to pull the engagement
off. Faber's only request was to have red roses, which was already
written in the book.
They set up the scene along the boardwalk where the couple would have
dinner nearby and go for a walk afterward.
The scene was almost identical to what was described in the book.
Kingsbury hid herself from the couple and had a camera strategically
placed as though an interview was happening on the boardwalk. Instead,
it was filming the couple's engagement. Faber hid a microphone in his
shirt to pick up audio for the camera.
"I thought if I could write his real-life engagement into the book as a
scene ... and if I could get this romantic young man an early copy of
the book, he could use 'Love Story' to actually propose to her,"
And so she did.
"There had to be a dozen bouquets of red roses sitting along the short
block wall that separated the parking lot from the sandy beach," the
book reads on pages 177 and 178. "And one more message on an easel set
up between the block wall and the lifeguard station. The sign read: This
will be the view ... each brand-new day with you."
"Love Story" was released publicly on June 6. By May 21, an
advanced copy had been printed and was ready to be the prop for the
"He took me to dinner and we went to the riverfront in Wilmington and he
had me pose for some pictures to stall me," Christian said. "At 7:30, he
said, 'I have to blindfold you. I have a surprise.'"
Faber had her stand in front of the roses and easel and read from the two
pages of the book.
"Kaylee, will you marry me? Love, Trey" was the first line Christian
The book tells the past love story between the characters John and
Elizabeth as John shares it with his grandson, Cole. The book also
includes the story of a family friend, Cody, who is going through his
own heartbreak when he walks by and witnesses the engagement scene.
After Christian finished reading the passage, Trey went off script from
the book, declaring his love and asking for her hand in marriage.
Kingsbury's team uploaded the video to
and shared it on social media. As of July 27,
had been viewed more than 12,433 times.
The crew approached Christian after she said "yes."
"I'm still just amazed," she said. "I'm in a book. I'm still in shock. It
was the best proposal ever. If I didn't know he loved me before, there's
no doubt now."
The couple had about 30 minutes after the proposal to chat with Kingsbury
about life and marriage.
"She bought us a Bible and presented it to us and prayed with us,"
She and Faber met through a mutual friend in February 2016. They began
dating shortly after.
"We just hit it off and we pretty much knew," said the bride-to-be.
They plan to get married after they both finish pharmacy school at the
University of Charleston. They will graduate in May 2022. Christian said
they hope to get married in Wilmington. Christian said she loves the
Wilmington area, especially for its fame as a filming location for The
CW's past hit drama "One Tree Hill," and the film "A Walk to
Remember," among other films and television series.
~ from The Charleston Gazette-Mail
Read another feature from our
E-Blast Newsletter on
Karen Kingsbury -
Karen will be among the speakers at the Aspire
Women's Event on April 14 at The Church of Covington.
Joining her will be Shannon Hoffpauir, Amberly Neese and Mia
Koehne. Detail in the ad above.
See Karen Kingsbury's Interview about her
new book, "Love Story" with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb on The Today
Megabestseller Kingsbury on crafting
"life-changing fiction" that
"connects with the heart"
forgiveness, loss, redemption, and, of course, God are dominant themes in
her writing, Karen Kingsbury's work can't be pigeonholed as Christian
is important to me that people not of the Christian faith read my work,"
Kingsbury says. "When I hear that more than half of my readers are not
Christian believers, I smile. It tells me that I'm writing strong fiction,
stories that connect with the heart. That's my goal."
It's also why there are more than 25 million copies of Kingsbury's
80-plus books in print. She's a virtuosic chronicler of some of the most
universal subjects: the trials of complicated individuals and families.
Kingsbury's latest novel, "Love Story," about lost love and its
multigenerational effects, is the 25th book in the author's bestselling
Baxter Family series, which chronicles the lives of John and Elizabeth
Baxter and their six adult children. It's an epic drama that proves the
strength of faith and family.
As with most of Karen's
books, it immediately jumped to the top of the Christian Booksellers' Top 50
list, entering in August at #3 (click
This latest title has John reliving an old love story, while family
friend Cody Coleman works his way through a complicated relationship. Love
Story, though a classic Baxter Family book, can be read as a standalone
in many ways, a prequel," Kingsbury explains. "The book takes us back to the
beginning, to the dance where Elizabeth and John met - and reveals something
about their love that has been secret until now."
Kingsbury gives readers an abbreviated Baxter history and the complete
and very intricate family tree in the new book's prologue. This web of
characters, including all the friends who flesh out the Baxters' fictional
world, came to life when the author was on a cross-country flight in 2002.
"I boarded the plane
thinking 'family' and 'series,'" Kingsbury recalls. "By the time we landed I
had all their names, their back stories, their personalities. But more than
that, I could see them. They came to me complete. I don't need charts or
cheat notes to know them and remember where I'm at with them. They live and
breathe and laugh and love inside me."
The Tennessee-based author has a well-choreographed approach to her
writing. Before she begins each novel, she answers 150 questions about both
the protagonist and the antagonist. Then she outlines, so, as she puts it,
"I'm in love with the story."
Her prolific writing career began in the 1980s, when Kingsbury was a
sports reporter for the Los Angeles Times. Her first novels were true crime
books, but that genre didn't feel quite right. After her fourth true crime
book, Karen began focusing solely on what she calls "life-changing fiction."
What Kingsbury still keeps close from those early days as a reporter are
the writing skills she garnered. "I can't think of a better training ground
than journalism for my work as a novelist," she says. "When writing for a
newspaper, you need a catchy lead and an unforgettable tag. And everything
in between has to be written in a way that grips the reader. Now I do the
same thing with chapters. Every chapter has to have an ending that makes it
almost impossible to close the book."
It's a lively season for the Baxters. In addition to the new book, the
family will be coming to the small screen - LightWorkers Media, the faith
and family division of MGM, is at work on a Baxter Family TV series, which
will debut in spring 2018.
all believe the series will last a decade on the air," she says. "There's so
Karen Kingsbury's Inspiring Encounter
The High Line
A chance meeting even this beloved
novelist could never have imagined
By Karen Kingsbury
I've been writing novels for more than 15
years, and I'll admit it: My imagination can run pretty wild sometimes! I
see the stories come to life in my mind way before I ever get them on
paper-envisioning the characters and the twists and turns they'll take on
their personal and spiritual journeys.
Then last year something unexpected happened in my own life, something so
incredible that even I couldn't have imagined it.
I'd gone to New York City to meet with my publisher. My daughter, Kelsey,
and her husband, Kyle, came with me because they wanted to see the city.
It was a glorious autumn afternoon. Kelsey, Kyle and I were walking on the
High Line-a park built on a historic elevated railroad line above the
streets on Manhattan's West Side.
That morning I'd had a dream-come-true meeting with my publisher. My novel
The Bridge had become an overnight best seller and they'd signed me to a
10-book deal! I felt so blessed, especially to be able to celebrate with
Kelsey and Kyle.
Yet, standing there on the High Line, looking up at the bright blue sky,
all I could think was, I wish I could tell Dad about all this.
My father had passed away six years earlier. He was my rock. My very
first and biggest fan.
"Have I told you lately that I love you, Dad?" I whispered. That was
Dad's favorite song- the Rod Stewart version of "Have I Told You
Lately." He'd called me the first time he'd ever heard it.
"This song is how I feel about you, Mom, our whole family," he said.
"Whenever you hear it I want you to know that I love you." I was surprised.
Dad wasn't usually into pop music. But the more I listened to Rod's
distinctive raspy voice belting it out, the more I understood what Dad
"Have I told you there's no one else above you?
You fill my heart with gladness, take away all my sadness, ease my troubles,
that's what you do." When one of us heard the song, we'd call the other.
Sometimes we'd hear it when we were together and Dad would give me a wink.
"I can't say it any better than Rod," he'd say. The song was that
powerful for us. It connected us. So much so that my family had the title
engraved on Dad's headstone.
Not long after Dad died, I began to hear our song at odd but significant
moments. Like when my husband, Don, and I were driving home from watching
Kelsey and our oldest son, Tyler, in the opening-night performance of the
school play-the kind of occasion Dad wouldn't have missed for the world-and
the second we turned on the car radio, there it was.
Or when we took our first family vacation to the Bahamas without Dad. I
stepped out onto the balcony overlooking the sparkling sea. "Oh, Dad, you
would've loved this!" I said. Then I heard a familiar melody.
I looked down onto the deck below and the Bahamian band had switched
from playing island music to-yes, you guessed it - "Have I Told You
Now here I was, at one of those moments when I knew Dad would have been
so proud of me, and I couldn't share it with him. I missed him more than
ever. Lord, I prayed, please tell Dad that I love him.
"How 'bout we take some pictures?" I said to Kelsey and Kyle, hoping to
distract myself from missing Dad. "We've got this amazing view of the Hudson
from up here."
I pulled out my camera and took some shots of Kelsey, then of her and
Kyle together. I wanted to get one of the three of us. I was stretching my
arm out, trying to hold the camera far enough away so we were all in the
frame, when a man and a woman walked up.
"I can help take your picture," the man said to us. He was older than
me, dressed stylishly in a sweater and jeans. He had a slight accent.
Australian? English? He was a tourist like me, probably. "Would that be
"Yes!" I said. "Thank you so much."
"Just show me how to use the camera," he said.
Kelsey walked over and showed him which button to press, then we got
into place again.
He snapped the photo. "That's lovely!" he said, brushing a wayward
strand of blond hair from his eye. He handed me the camera. "God bless you,"
he said, then he and the woman went on their way.
When they were almost out of sight, Kelsey turned to me.
"Mom, did you hear what that man said when I was showing him how to use
"No, honey, I didn't."
"He said, 'I'm usually on the other side of this thing.
But this is fun too.'"
"Why would he say that?" I wondered aloud.
Then it dawned on me: the spiky blond hair, the fashionable clothes, the
lilt in his voice... Could it be?
I followed the couple, walking as fast as I could.
"Sir, sir! Excuse me, sir!" I called. The man stopped and turned around.
We were face-to-face.
"You just took our picture back there," I said.
"Yes," he said. By now Kelsey and Kyle had caught up to me.
"Can I ask you something?"
"Sure," he said.
"Are you Rod Stewart?"
"Sometimes," he said.
"No, really, I have to know," I insisted. "Are you Rod
He must have seen something in my eyes because he said quietly,
am." My knees went weak. If only my dad could have seen this!
"Can I tell you a story?" I asked.
I told him that "Have I Told You Lately" was my father's favorite song
and that just an hour earlier I'd been wondering if Dad knew how much I
Rod gently put his hand on my arm. I rested my hand on top of his.
now I'm meeting you," I said. "It's crazy. Your song's title is even on my
Tears came to Rod's eyes. "Can I give you a hug?" he asked. He pulled me
in tightly. "Thank you for sharing that. You made my day."'
When we let go, Rod clasped his hands together and pointed them
heavenward. Then he and his companion walked away.
Kelsey, Kyle and I looked at each other and sat down on a bench. We all
felt stunned. Just at the moment when I was missing my dad so badly, the
rock star who sang our song crosses my path? Really? You could never plan or
even imagine something like that!
But Someone had. Someone who orchestrates unforgettable encounters and
writes amazing moments into the stories of our lives. I looked up into the
bright blue sky. There really is no one else above him.
(Cody Gunner Series #1)"
"Like Dandelion Dust"
Above The Line Series #2"
Bailey Flanigan Series
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Side of Heaven:
Family Drama―Firstborn Series"
Bailey Flanigan Series
"Time To Dance:
(Timeless Love Series"
(Cody Gunner Series #2)
Bailey Flanigan Series #1"
(Sunrise Series-Baxter 3,
"A Treasure of Christmas
True Stories of God's Presence Today (Miracle Books Collection)
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"To the Moon and Back, The Baxter Family Series
In this continuation of the Baxter Family saga, Ashley Baxter Blake makes it her mission to reunite two people who, as children, shared a tragic moment - the loss of parents in the Oklahoma City bombing. Each year since they met, Brady Bradshaw has left a note at the memorial for Jenna Phillips, but she has never responded. It is Ashley-s hope that by bringing them together again, they may be able to help one another heal.
"In This Moment:
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury comes a brand-new Baxter Family novel about a beloved high school principal who starts a Bible Study to improve the lives of his struggling students, only to become the national focus of a controversial lawsuit.
Hamilton High Principal Wendell Quinn is tired of the violence, drug abuse, teen pregnancies, and low expectations at his Indianapolis school. A single father of four, Quinn is a Christian and a family man. He wants to see change in his community, so he starts a voluntary after-school Bible Study and prayer program. He knows he is risking his job by leading the program, but the high turnout at every meeting encourages him.
A Novel (The Baxter Family)"
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury comes a new book featuring everyone's favorite family-the Baxters, which tells the story of how John and Elizabeth first fell in love. From the day they met, John and Elizabeth were destined to fall in love. Their whirlwind romance started when they were young college students and lasted nearly thirty years - until Elizabeth died of cancer.
So when John Baxter is asked to relive his long-ago love story with Elizabeth for his grandson Cole's heritage project, he's not sure he can do it. The sadness might simply be too great. But he agrees and allows his heart and soul to go places they haven't gone in decades. Back to the breathless first moments, but also to the secret heartbreak that brought John and Elizabeth together.
of Undying Hope
(The Baxter Family)"
(Lost Love Series)"
(Lost Love Series)"
Line Series #1"
A Love Story"