Karri Theis, LocalTies’ most recent addition to our editorial team, is an award-winning freelance writer and children’s book author. In addition to writing, Karri enjoys raising her two daughters and their mini Goldendoodle alongside her husband in Medina, Minnesota.
When the pandemic hit in 2020, Karri placed her 20+ year sales career on hold to assist in distance learning. At that time she chronicled her family’s time at home, while fulfilling a long-time dream of publishing a children’s picture book. “Little Miss Jean and the Time Machine” was inspired by her late mother’s legacy and her daughters’ curious and creative personalities. Having worked with Karri these last few weeks, it makes sense the storyline entails encouraging kids to use their imagination to create, build, learn, and help others. You can check out her website at Karri Chronicles.
Karri is especially fond of writing on parenting, motherhood, education, and grief. Stay tuned as Karri shares her insights with our readers in the time ahead! Until then, we asked her a few questions to learn about her backstory.
Karri, how did you get started with your writing career?
My passion for writing began at a young age, as I loved crafting stories and keeping journals as a child. As I entered the professional world, my experience in Sales & Marketing deepened my appreciation for the impact of storytelling. After nurturing a dream to publish a children’s book for over two decades, I was finally inspired to make it a reality.
My mother passed away right before my first daughter was born. Since then, I felt compelled to create a space where my heavenly mother and daughters could “meet.” I was especially inspired by my kids and family during the pandemic as well. So, I wrote “Little Miss Jean and the Time Machine,” a story combining the two concepts. The story encourages kids to use their imagination to create, build, learn, and help others. Essay writing is something I also enjoy–writing on topics that resonate with and connect parents, families, and communities. I’m a contributing writer for Her View From Home, and have other essays published in Zibby Mag, She Climbs Mountains, Medina Living and Noteworthy Parenting.
How do you develop story ideas?
Story ideas often stem from the desire to share messages of inspiration and hope with children and families. In today’s world, I believe it’s important to focus on themes of courage, perseverance, and creating joy even in difficult times. By delving into these topics through my writing, I hope to provide comfort, insight, and a sense of connection to my readers.
What topics are you most interested in?
I’m most inspired to write about topics that are close to my heart and that have the power to resonate with others. As a mother, topics such as parenting, motherhood, grief, and preserving childhood are especially important to me. I’ve always enjoyed themes that explore self-empowerment and want to share that message with kids by reminding them they have it within themselves to choose and create a joy-filled life. I’m deeply passionate about the importance of reading for kids, and mental health, so my goal is to create children’s books that help foster a positive reading experience, and positive life experience! For this column, I plan to focus on topics that might start positive conversations in homes and around the community.
You have also become involved as a community leader. Can you expand on that?
I’m more of a community contributor. I’m a literacy volunteer and PTA member for the Wayzata school district. I’ve organized parent workshops in our school and fundraisers in my neighborhood. I host story time read-alouds in local schools and community events to share the message of self-empowerment and am available to visit your school, church, or event! You can find more info on that and get in touch via my website: www.karrichronicles.com.
I’m also an ambassador for the “Wait Until 8th” movement. This organization encourages parents to wait until 8th grade to give their child a smartphone–and even longer for social media–to help protect their child’s mental health. They offer a ton of resources on their website:
What does writing “success” look like for you?
I’ve often turned to other people’s stories for healing, learning, and inspiration. My overall goals in writing are to bring people together, encourage kids and families, start meaningful conversations within a home or a community, or help someone feel understood. Community connections are crucial for all of us, and if I can play a tiny part in fostering that for people through writing, I’ve succeeded.
Any plans to publish more books?
Yes! The 2nd in the “Little Miss Jean” series will be published later this year or early 2024, with a third to follow and other books in the works.