'Queen of Christian fiction' Karen Kingsbury talks pointing readers to Heaven through storytelling

A Thousand Tomorrows
A Thousand Tomorrows | PureFlix

When Karen Kingsbury, the “queen of Christian fiction,” writes a story, her goal is not only to entertain but to point readers to Jesus and the hope of eternity amid the painful realities of life.

“Life is full of difficult moments,” Kingsbury told The Christian Post. “And just because you believe or have faith does not mean you're going to be exempt from that. And it's important to show people that. Otherwise, if we show them an unrealistic picture, they won't relate to it at all. So getting into some of the messier parts of life, whether it's anger, unforgiveness, a father that walks away, sickness, loss, death, it's important that we show that in light of eternity; this is not all that there is. There's hope.”

“It's important,” she added, “that we don't shy away from these things, but that we lean into them with the peace and the love and the mercy that we get from our faith.”

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A New York Times bestselling author, Kingsbury is the author of more than 70 titles, including several wildly popular series about the fictional Baxter family. She’s sold over 30 million copies and seen several of her stories turned into Hallmark movies.

Her bestselling novel, A Thousand Tomorrows, is her latest work to be adapted for the big screen. Written in 2005, the book tells the story of a cocky bull rider named Cody Gunnar who has a history of pushing people — except for his younger brother, who has Down syndrome. But when he meets Ali Daniels, a horsewoman who seeks to fulfill the dreams of her little sister, a girl who died before she had a chance to live, his world is upended.

The six-episode series, which premiered on PureFlix in February, stars Colin Ford, Rose Reid and Cole Sibus. Kingsbury both executive produced and co-wrote the series alongside her son, Tyler Russell. 

“Only God knows how many tomorrows they will have together,” the series description notes. “Can Cody and Ali make the most of their time in the dangerous and competitive rodeo world?

Though ultimately a story of unending love, the series touches on difficult topics like sickness, loss and abandonment, while subplots in the series surround the topics of Down syndrome and Cystic Fibrosis. It ultimately highlights God’s goodness in the face of difficulty.

Russell stressed the importance of honesty in storytelling, citing his mother’s ability to resonate with audiences as a key reason for the success of her books. 

“Only when we acknowledge our brokenness and our reality can we be united with each other, because everybody's broken in some way,” he said. “But also, we can accept the grace and the love of God, which is unconditional for everybody. When we're watching a show or reading a book, we want to see something that's real; we don't want to see something that is a filtered version of drama, but we want to see something that we can resonate with. I think people, whether you're someone who goes to church or not, want to see a story that is real.”

“‘A Thousand Tomorrows’ is creating a realistic picture that it doesn't always end pretty and perfect, but there can still be beauty in the brokenness.”

For the mother and son duo, “A Thousand Tomorrows” is a form of ministry. At the end of each episode, Kingsbury leads viewers in a brief devotional, which she told CP was written by a pastor. 

“I think it's the kind of show that we hope people enjoy that they binge together and watch it and that they fall in love with the love story,” she said. “But more importantly, we think it's a show that touches the heart and that begs to be discussed, whether it's with family or small groups or neighbors because it deals with things like unforgiveness, it deals with pain and illness, and how do we walk forward in life, given difficult circumstances? I think the Bible study series, really supports what we tried to write, and I think that's why it's resonating with so many people.”

“They might not have Cystic Fibrosis … but perhaps they have another burden to bear. And so how can they move forward in faith and in hope, trusting God with the days of their life?”

Kingsbury said God’s hand is on the timing of A Thousand Tomorrows hitting the big screen nearly two decades after she wrote the story. 

“God always waits till it's for ‘such a time as this,’” she said. “And I think there really are the beginnings of like a revival happening in our nation, and even around the world. So I think the timing is perfect. … I couldn’t be more thrilled. 

“A Thousand Tomorrows” is now streaming on PureFlix.

Leah M. Klett is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at:

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