It’s been said that there’s nothing stronger than a mother and son bond, and if that’s the case, then author Karen Kingsbury and son Tyler Russell live up to the mantra. Although their bond as mother and son is undeniably strong, they also have a working relationship as author and co-author of their Baxter Family Children Series.
For most family members, working together can be difficult; however Tyler is clear in explaining what working relationship he and his mother share is positive..
“It’s been honestly an amazing collaboration. It started a little rough on my part. I’m not gonna lie. I came in with a little bit of an ego. I thought, you know, I know everything. I’m gonna be awesome. I’m gonna knock it out of the park, and then the Lord humbled me and said you have a lot to learn.
“I have learned over these few years just to stay humble and know that she’s obviously been doing this way longer than I have. We both want to serve the story. We both want to also steward the story that God gave us. And so her ideas might be stronger than mine, and occasionally every now and then my idea might be stronger than hers. And so it really is a fun ping pong match where we get to collaborate and go back and forth and dream up these series together.
“I’ve learned so much from her, being my mom growing up and now as a collaborator, professionally, just learning how she conducts herself and how she stays disciplined. It’s been really cool.”
Karen shares her son’s enthusiasm for the partnership.
“It’s incredible knowing that the Lord would raise up one of my children. I mean, all our kids have different gifts. They all just love the Lord and they love each other and they’re fantastic people. But to know that there’s one who I can write with is a blessing.”
In addition to the book series, the two currently are working on screenplays for a couple of television series that should be out next year, she reported.
The mother-son writing partnership builds on a project that Tyler watched his mother write as he grew up. Now, they’re adding to the story line together.
“I’ve written over 26 books about the Baxter family,” she explained. “And when the publisher came to me and said, ‘Hey, we would love to do a series that goes back when the kids were growing up before cell phones, before computers, you know, just really get to see what this family was like,’ I thought what a great idea, but honestly, I didn’t have time to do that with the two other novels I write every year. And so that’s when I reached out to Tyler.”
This is especially meaningful because she was writing about the original Baxter books as he was growing up. “A lot of what was going on in our family was put into those books, (so) seeing Tyler bring back edits has been a blessing to watch.”
The two also seem to know each other’s strengths.
“Mom writes a lot faster than I do,” Tyler explained.
Karen, like any good mother, quickly came to her son’s defense: “His strength as a screenwriter is like, I couldn’t screen write without him. So we’re a great team with that.”
The fruits of that partnership will be seen in the two yet-to-be-announced series from Sony Pictures.
During the interview, the two almost finish each other’s sentences, which may explain why they seem to enjoy working together forming sentences for their audience to read.