Karen Cardno started out as Karen Huck, born and raised in Roseville, Michigan, a suburb to the north of Detroit. I was the youngest of four, two boys and two girls. We were raised by wonderful parents who encouraged us to play sports, read and pursue whatever it was that made us happy.
Growing up I always wanted to be a teacher but due to the cost of college I ended up working in a plastics factory and hating going to work everyday. I eventually enrolled in college and began going part time working towards my degree. In 1994 I married my husband Edward Cardno, and although he encouraged me to still take evening classes, I had to take a few breaks when our daughters were born, first Jackie in 1996 and then Stephanie in 1998.
After earning two associates degrees, one in General Studies and another in Early Childhood Care, I enrolled at Wayne State University and began working towards the teaching degree I had always wanted. I graduated in 2006 at the age of 39 and was hired into the school district I had been subbing in for years. I taught most grades, preschool, first, third, fourth and eventually ended up in a 5th grade classroom. If you ask me what grade I liked best, it would be whatever grade I was teaching at the time, I loved them all.
In 2011, my family suffered quite a setback when my husband passed away, leaving me a single mother of two teenage girls. Being a single mother is difficult, there is no one else there to go to banquets, sporting events, award assemblies or conferences, but I wouldn’t have traded the experience for anything. My girls are both now in college and excelling in life, which is exactly what I want for them.
So how did I begin writing? For that we have to go back to 2001 when I had the most amazing college class. The professor gave us our final exam the first week of class, trace your family tree back until you are out of North America, find the push and pull factors of why they left. Sounded easy to me. I began tracing my family genealogy and kept going back generation after generation and still couldn’t get out of Detroit. Come to find out 7 sets of grandparents obtained original land grants from Antoine Cadillac, but that still didn’t get me out of North America. I went back and talked to my professor twice, telling him I didn’t know if I was going to have time to get the project done. He encouraged me to keep going and write up whatever I could at the end of the semester. I then tracked down further records taking my family up into New France (Canada) where many were very early settlers there also. Finally, I was able to trace a large part of the family to France. Even though I wrote up my paper and turned it in, which ended up being 27 pages long, I was now hooked and wanted to know more.
Because I’ve always been a history buff I began looking for any historical information I could find on many of these early settlers. It was so interesting I just couldn’t stop and ended up with files upon files of printed out data that no one would be able to understand but me. I started thinking about how I could organize it so that future generations of our family would have it. The idea of a book came to me then, but there just wasn’t time in my schedule to organize the data and write it all out.
In 2016 something happened that gave me plenty of time, I tripped over a suitcase, tearing my achilles tendon. I had the tear repaired and should have been healed up in about 6 months. Three weeks after the surgery I went to get up and the whole incision tore open, which meant another rushed trip to the emergency room. Come to find out I had a serious surgical infection and had to have emergency surgery. During the surgery they had to take out the tendon and muscle leaving a large hole in my ankle, but I did get to keep my foot. I’ve now had 4 surgeries in the last year trying to repair the damage, with a couple more to go, leaving me with plenty of time to write. The first book “Etienne” was just going to be a short story, with other ancestor short stories to follow, but the book ended up being 150 pages long. So that’s how this whole writing journey began.
Hope you enjoy the books. If you have questions or comments feel free to comment here or email me at the link provided. I’d love to hear from you.