She was a sports writer for the Los Angeles Times and later wrote for the Los Angeles Daily News. Her first book, Missy's Murder (1991), was based on a murder story that she covered in Los Angeles. During this time, she had an article published in People Magazine.
She has written or co-written almost 100 novels or short stories, and (as of 2008) has nearly 13 million copies of her novels in print. She is a #1 New York Times and USA Today best selling novelist with the last dozen books published topping bestseller lists. Some of her novels are being developed into movies by The Hallmark Channel, including The Bridge, A Time to Dance (2015), and Maggie's Christmas Miracle (2017). Her Baxter Family series is being adapted into a television series. Lightworkers Media and Roma Downey have the rights to develop the series.
Kingsbury also does public speaking, and through national events she reaches more than 100,000 people each year.
Karen Kingsbury is the oldest of five children born to Ted and Anne Kingsbury. Her family moved around a lot because of her father's job with IBM; ultimately the family would finally settle down in the San Fernando Valley (relocating from Michigan) when Karen was ten.
She graduated with a degree in journalism from California State University Northridge in 1986. After she graduated she worked for the Los Angeles Times as a sports writer and also reported on the crime beat. She lost on the September 4, 1985 episode of the $25,000 Pyramid
She married her husband, Don Russell, on July 23, 1989. They have three children and later adopted three boys from Haiti.
In conjunction with Kingsbury, Liberty University announced in November 2017 the opening of the Karen Kingsbury Center for Creative Writing as part of its College of Arts and Sciences, where students can obtain a minor in Creative Writing. Kingsbury herself will teach several of the courses, both in residence at Liberty and online.
(*) denotes a book that is not yet released (if known the release date is shown).
Series involving the Baxter Family
These sets of series is by far her most popular, and comprise nearly a quarter of her work. The Baxters are either the main characters, or play key roles, in each of the books. The series is set mainly in and around Bloomington, Indiana (where the Baxters grew up and some of them still live in the series).
Redemption series (with Gary Smalley)
- Redemption (2002)
- Remember (2003)
- Return (2003)
- Rejoice (2004)
- Reunion (2004)
- Fame (2005)
- Forgiven (2005)
- Found (2006)
- Family (2006)
- Forever (2007)
- Sunrise (2007)
- Summer (2007)
- Someday (2008)
- Sunset (2008)
Above the Line series
- Take One (2009)
- Take Two (2009)
- Take Three (2010)
- Take Four (2010)
Bailey Flanigan series
- Leaving (2011)
- Learning (2011)
- Longing (2011)
- Loving (2012)
Coming Home, The Baxter Family (a standalone work originally planned to end the series)
- Coming Home (2012)
Baxter Family Collection
- A Baxter Family Christmas (2016)
- Love Story (2017)
- In This Moment (2017)
- To the Moon and Back (2018)
- When We Were Young (2018)
Angels Walking series
- Angels Walking (2014)
- Chasing Sunsets (2015)
- Brush of Wings (2016)
- Always and Forever (*)
Heart of the Story Series
- The Family of Jesus (2014)
- The Friends of Jesus (2015)
- The Followers of Jesus (*)
- First Hand Encounters of Jesus (*)
- One Tuesday Morning (2003)
- Beyond Tuesday Morning (2004)
- Remember Tuesday Morning (2008) 
Lost Love series
- Even Now (2005)
- Ever After (2006)
Red Gloves series
Forever Faithful series
- Waiting for Morning (1999)
- A Moment of Weakness (2000)
- Halfway to Forever (2002)
Timeless Love series
- A Time to Dance (2001)
- A Time to Embrace (2002)
Cody Gunner series
- A Thousand Tomorrows (2005)
- Just Beyond the Clouds (2007)
Treasury of Miracles Books
- A Treasury of Christmas Miracles (2001)
- A Treasury of Miracles for Women (2002)
- A Treasury of Miracles for Teens (2003)
- A Treasury of Miracles for Friends (2004)
- A Treasury of Adoption Miracles (2005)
- Miracles - A 52 Week Devotional (2009)
- Missy's Murder (1991)
- Final Vows (1992)
- Deadly Pretender: The Double Life of David Miller (1993)
- The Snake and the Spider (1995)
These four books were Kingsbury's first novels. They were re-released in 2014 and included a letter from Kingsbury to her readers, explaining how writing these types of stories became too much for her to handle emotionally due to the darkness associated with them, and thus she changed genres to writing more general fiction with a Christian emphasis (which she titled, and has trademarked, as "Life-Changing Fiction").
Standalone novels 
- On Every Side (2001)
- Oceans Apart (2004)
- Divine (2006)
- Like Dandelion Dust (2006)
- When Joy Came to Stay (2006)
- Where Yesterday Lives (2006)
- Between Sundays (2007)
- Shades of Blue (2008)
- This Side of Heaven (2009)
- Unlocked (2010)
- The Bridge (2012)
- The Chance (2013)
- Fifteen Minutes (2013)
- Let Me Hold You Longer (2004)
- Let's Go On a Mommy Date (2008)
- We Believe In Christmas (2008)
- The Princess and the Three Knights (2009)
- Let's Have a Daddy Day (2010)
- The Brave Young Knight (2011)
- Far Flutterby (2012)
- Always Daddy's Princess (2013)
- Go Ahead and Dream (with Alex Smith) (2013)
- Whatever You Grow Up To Be (2014)
- Forever Young (with Pat Williams) (2005)
- Be Safe Little Boy (2006)
- Stay Close Little Girl (2006)
- Forever My Little Boy (2016)
- Forever My Little Girl (2016)
- The Beginning (prequel to The Bridge) (2012) 
- I Can Only Imagine (2013)
- Elizabeth Baxter's 10 Secrets to a Happy Marriage (2015)
- Once Upon A Campus (2016, expanded 2018)
Karen Kingsbury co-wrote her first song, "Walls" with Gary Baker and Richie McDonald; it appeared on McDonald's inspirational album, I Turn to You and hit Christian and Country radio in January 2009.
Kingsbury also wrote Miracles Happen, a Christmas song sung by country musician Richie McDonald which now appears on McDonald's CD, If Every Day Could Be Christmas.
- Like Dandelion Dust (February 2009) - General Release
- Karen Kingsbury's The Bridge - Part 1 (December 2015) - Hallmark Channel TV Movie
- Karen Kingsbury's The Bridge - Part 2 (March 2016) - Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel TV Movie
- Karen Kingsbury's A Time to Dance (May 2016) - Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel TV Movie
- Karen Kingsbury's Maggie's Christmas Miracle (December 2017) - Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel TV Movie
- Mike Bailey, staff writer for The Columbian, February 5, 2008. The Columbian: Arts & Living feature
- Extraordinary Women site
- "About Karen Kingsbury | Karen Kingsbury's The Bridge | Hallmark Movies and Mysteries". Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
- "Karen Kingsbury". Simon & Schuster. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
- "Hallmark Channel Developing Pair of Karen Kingsbury Adaptations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
- "Roma Downey To Develop Kingsbury's "Baxter Family" TV Series - Alive Literary Agency". Alive Literary Agency. 2016-02-04. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
- "Karen Kingsbury's 'The Baxter Family' Novel Series Coming to TV!". itsawonderfulmovie.blogspot.ca. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
- "Karen Kingsbury". Simon & Schuster. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
- "Karen Kingsbury Biography". karenkingsbury.com.
- "Karen Kingsbury: The Queen of Christian Fiction Tells Her Story". CBN.com (beta). Retrieved 2016-11-30.
- Originally released under the title Every Now and Then
- There are inconsistent reports as to whether or not this was made into a television movie: YouTube features trailers for the movie; however, IMDB indicates that the movie is still in development.
- This was made into a television Christmas movie, Maggie's Christmas Miracle, shown on Hallmark Channel in 2017
- This was made into a television movie in May 2016 shown on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel
- "Booklist for #1 New York Times Times Bestselling Author Karen Kingsbury" (PDF).
- Although each novel is independent of the others, Kingsbury sometimes uses characters from one book in a subsequent one. For example, Ryan and Kelly from The Bridge later have key roles in The Chance, while Nolan and Ellie from The Chance make a later appearance (now as a married couple) in Fifteen Minutes.
- This was made into a television movie
- This, along with a prequel (see below) was made into a pair of television movies, the first in 2015 shown on The Hallmark Channel and the second in 2016 on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
- This, along with the novel (see above) was made into a pair of television movies, the first in 2015 shown on The Hallmark Channel and the second in 2016 on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
- The story, in its entirety, is also included within When We Were Young, as it plays a small role in the plot line.
- First in a planned series of short stories centered around Liberty University (where her sons attend and a creative writing center with her name is housed). Though not part of the Baxter Family series, she uses characters from the Flanigan family (friends of the Baxters) in the story. The original story is available on the Liberty University website; the expanded version was made available as a gift to purchasers of When We Were Young upon providing proof of purchase.
- "Tell Me to Breathe". Allmusic.com.