Karen Spears Zacharias is an American writer whose work focuses on women and justice. She holds  an MA in Appalachian Studies from Shepherd University and an MA in Creative Media Practice from  the University of West Scotland. She lives at the foot of the Cascade Mountains in Deschutes County,  Oregon, where she volunteers with the League of Women Voters. Zacharias taught First-Amendment Rights at Central Washington University and continues to  teach at writing workshops around the country. Learn more about her at 

Advance Praise for No Perfect Mothers

“In No Perfect Mothers, Karen Spears Zacharias makes sure that the story of Carrie Buck doesn’t disappear behind the details of  the evil forces that converged to bring about her wrongful sterilization, a procedure some called the ‘Mississippi appendectomy.’ In  heartfelt and carefully rendered prose, Zacharias imagines the life a woman whose name is often only thought of within the confines  of a famous legal case related to the eugenics movement. This is a book for our times, since it is hard to read No Perfect Mothers 

and not think of the hard choices women are being forced to make today.” 

—W. Ralph Eubanks, author of A Place Like Mississippi: A Journey Through a Real and Imagined Literary Landscape 

“This story is important because it is history that isn’t history—women still don’t have sovereignty of their reproductive rights. This  story is propulsive because it gives us a character to root for. This story is memorable because of Zacharias’s command of language  and insight into human nature. No Perfect Mothers is a book that provides all the pleasures of a great novel and then some.” —Beth Ann Fennelly, author of Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs 

No Perfect Mothers brings to life the tragically true story of Carrie Buck, a young woman victimized by the eugenics movement  of the 1920s. With deft narrative skill and careful attention to historic detail, Karen Spears Zacharias takes us back to a place and time  when the voices of poverty-stricken, helpless women were silenced by those in power, their freedom of reproductive choice forever  denied. Carrie Buck’s story is as important in today’s world as it was then—and will haunt you long after the final page.” 

—Cassandra King, author of Tell Me a Story: My Life with Pat Conroy 

“From a century-old knot of injustice, Karen Spears Zacharias pulls a thread of story that speaks to injustice now. No Perfect  Mothers joins a true story richly imagined to both local kin and the U.S. Supreme Court in a case that dealt misery to thousands.  But it is the immediate tale of Carrie’s struggle for dignity that will catch you. How can a girl child, judged and wronged, deprived  of all she loves, ultimately prevail? She can wait for this book, as this book now waits for you.” 

—Kim Stafford, author of As the Sky Begins to Change 

On front cover— 

“Seventeen-year-old Carrie Buck changed American cultural history; she’s the 1920s girl you’ve never heard of but will never forget.” —Patti Callahan HenryNew York Times bestselling author of The Secret Book of Flora Lea 

1501 Mercer University Drive • Macon GA 31207 • (478) 301-2880 • 

What people are saying about The Murder Gene: 

“Karen Zacharias relies on her dogged pursuit of facts to produce a dramatic and deeply reported account of seemingly disconnected murders. She weaves in science and psychology in a way that propels the story and pulls you along to see where her trail leads. The attention to detail and the resort to careful sourcing makes The Murder Gene a notable addition to the annals of crime reporting.” — Les Zaitz Publisher/editor, Oregon’s Malheur Enterprise, Founder/editor, Salem Reporter

“In a world of dime-a-dozen crime stories, Zacharias unearths one like no other I’ve read. This exhaustively researched book is deep in its linking of two murders to nature as well as nurture, wide in its piecing together thousands of pieces to create a single puzzle, and chilling in its reminder that evil, unfortunately, abides. The result is a book that will make you reconsider the insidiousness of murder in an all-new way.” — Bob Welch, author of Boy in the Mirror: An Athletic Director’s Struggle to Survive Sexual Abuse as a Child

“Karen Spears Zacharias’s page-turner The Murder Gene shines on a number of levels. We know who executed these murders and assaults, but why? And what are the odds a young man would commit nearly identical gruesome, unpredictable crimes as that of his grandfather? Is there something in DNA that could forewarn us? Written with compassion and insight, The Murder Gene comes off as a cross between Forensic Files and In Cold Blood. I love this book.” —George Singleton, author of You Want More: Selected Stories

Other Works:

“A relentless narrative, brilliantly written and paced.” – Pat Conroy

“A brilliant gem of a novel…Karen is a wonderful writer.” – Lee Smith

“Prepare to be captivated.” – Karen Karbo

“Prose as clear as spring water, and as lyrical as an old-time reel.” – Wiley Cash

“Thrums with real life and the beating heart.” – Silas House

“It’s all here: Tragedy, love, redemption, spirituality, and beauty .. and
the intricacy of mountain life. A beautifully vivid and authentic rendering
of Appalachia.” – Patti Callahan Henry

What people are saying about Karen:

“I have been a ‘have’ and a ‘have not’ in my life. I have found my walk with the Lord, as Karen illustrates so well in these beautiful stories, that the riches he desires for us have nothing to do with money. I love a writer that’s not afraid to walk with real people and speak the truth in their lives. Keep shining your light, Karen!”
Jeff Foxworthy, comedian

“You have a huge fan in the Allman Brothers Band of heathens. Thank you for being brave enough to stand up and be one of our prophets. We desperately need you.”
Oteil Burbridge, bassist and vocalist, Allman Brothers

“Karen Zacharias is the rarest, most valuable kind of speaker and writer. Not only does she transport her audience to real-life scenes she describes through storytelling, but she also explains the technical details of creating nonfiction work in a clear way, so that fellow writers can follow those blueprints and begin to achieve better results as essayists, memoirists, journalists, and other chroniclers of events and lives. Thanks to Karen’s guidance, her audience is able to convey what happened and what it all means.”
George Weinstein, Program Chairman of the Atlanta Writers Club

“I recently had Karen Spears Zacharias as one of my hand-chosen speakers for my annual Pulpwood Queens Book Club Author Extravaganza and her speech was one of the highlights of the event. Of the thirty authors features, Karen was by far the crowd favorite! Everyone was inspired.”
Kathy L. Patrick, Founder of the International Book Club, Pulwood Queens Beauty & the Book