Karen Spears Zacharias grew up in a military family. Her father was killed in 1966 in Vietnam’s Ia Drang Valley. Her father’s death propelled Karen into a career as an author and journalist. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, NPR, OPB and Newsweek. She is the author of several books, both non-fiction and fiction.

In 2018, Karen was selected the Appalachian Heritage Writer by Shepherd University in West Virginia, and awarded the Weatherford for Best in Appalachian fiction by Kentucky’s Berea College. MOTHER OF RAIN was named as the One Book One West Virginia Read by the West Virginia Library Commission, and was adapted for the stage by The Springer, Georgia’s Historic State Theater. A proud Oregon Stater, Karen lives in Redmond, Oregon, in a home with an orange door and a disturbed dog named Hemingway.

She has served on the national advisory boards for the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Fund and the Vietnam Memorial Wall Foundation. She is a member of Sons & Daughters in Touch and Daughters of the American Revolution. She stays active in programs designed to help veterans and Gold Star families.




CHRISTIAN BEND: A novel (MUP, 2017).

BURDY: A novel (MUP, 2015)

MOTHER OF RAIN: A novel (MUP, 2013)

KARLY SHEEHAN: The True Crime Behind Karly’s Law (Non-fiction, AMAZON, 2014) (Formerly, A SILENCE OF MOCKINGBIRDS MacAdam/Cage, 2012).


WHERE’S YOUR JESUS NOW? (Zondervan, 2008)

AFTER THE FLAG HAS BEEN FOLDED (William Morrow/HarperCollins 2006) (Formerly HERO MAMA, (HarperCollins, 2005).

BENCHED: The Memoirs of Judge Rufe McCombs (MUP, 1997)



“If this writer Karen Spears Zacharias should turn evangelist, the stadium will be full every night.”
Sonny Brewer, author of The Poet of Tolstoy Park

“If Fanny Flagg got religion she’d be Karen Spears Zacharias. Karen is trailer trash wonderful, a guilty pleasure: like eating chicken fried steak with mac & cheese during Bible study.”
Susan E. Isaacs, author, Angry Conversations with God

“At a time when authenticity seems to be in short supply, Karen provides a genuine voice for things that matter most. Faith, loyalty, integrity, compassion, and thoughtful patriotism are themes she weaves into a tapestry of transforming and inspiring stories. She can also make me laugh for days while making me think about things in a new way.”
Dan Morris Dothan District Alabama West-Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church

“Karen Spears Zacharias is not only entertaining and informative but has a message the church needs to hear. She has that unique ability to get us all to laugh and while our mouths are open, she gives us something to chew on!”
Pastor Kevin Lobello, First United Methodist Church – Griffin, Georgia

“Karen Spears Zacharias is the evangelical Anne Lamott. Reading her gives you instant commonsense as well as an infallible eye for tommyrot, and she wraps her gifts in humor, sass, spunk, and biblical wisdom. She’s golden.”
Scot McKnight, author of The Jesus Creed

“If the prosperity gospel had a heart, Karen has stomped that sucker flat…Whether you live in a mansion on a cliff, a shack by still waters, or in a single-wide on cinder blocks, this is a worthy read.”
Wm. Paul Young, author of The Shack

“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

“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

Is there a badge we could incorporate to designate “Weatherford Award” or
“Appalachian Heritage Award”?

The Appalachian Heritage Writer’s Award, Shepherd University,
Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

Weatherford Award for Best in Appalachian Fiction, Berea College, Berea,