Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Interview with Karen Witemeyer

What made you decide to become an author?
I had always been a bookworm as a kid. I’d go to the library and come home with a stack of books I could barely carry, devour them, then go back for more. I would daydream stories in my head with myself as the heroine, of course, while on bus rides to school or while lying in my bed at night waiting to fall asleep. However, I never really considered becoming an author myself. One of my college professors told me I had a talent for writing based on a research paper I turned in, but that was so far from the world of fiction, that I discounted it. Yet, he’d planted a seed, and a few years later, when I was a stay at home mom, I started toying with the possibility. Could I really write and sell a novel? But three kids in diapers kept me too busy to even try. Then in 2003, my husband’s position was downsized, and all of a sudden I felt pressure to contribute to the family income. I know! I’ll write! Ha! As if writing a book was that easy and selling it automatic. Boy, did I have a lot to learn. But learn I did. I went back to work and started writing on the side. Learned the craft, attended writing conferences, and educated myself on the industry. Then in 2009 I signed my first three-book contract. My first book, A Tailor-Made Bride, hit the shelves in 2010.

Is there someone whose writing inspired you to write?
All the books I ever read and loved. How’s that for specific? Actually, once I got serious about writing and knew I wanted to focus on Christian fiction, the author who inspired me the most was Deeanne Gist. She wrote historical romance with a witty voice and feisty characters, the same blend of humor and heart that I wanted to create in my own stories.

Out of all the female characters in your books which one is your favorite (and why)?
Picking a favorite is so hard. It’s like trying to choose among your children. I guess I’ll pick Adelaide Proctor from Head in the Clouds. My reason is because her faith journey mimicked my own in my writing life. I wrote her story before I gained my first writing contract. I was stuck in the limbo of waiting on the Lord’s timing and trying not to grow discouraged when things didn’t work out the way I’d hoped. Halfway into the writing of the book, I received a rejection from the publisher I most wanted to work with. Adelaide, too, dealt with myriad disappointments and was forced to wait on the Lord’s timing after making a mess of things when she took matters into her own hands. She eventually got her happy ending, and I did too. That publisher I wanted to partner with, asked me to submit another manuscript for consideration. I did. Adelaide’s story. And though they didn’t choose it as my debut novel, they liked it enough to sign me to a contract and include it as my second release. God’s timing really is best.

Out of all the male characters in your books which one is your favorite (and why)?
This choice is a little easier - Levi Grant from To Win Her Heart. There was just something special about him that grabbed my heart and spoke to my readers as well. I get more comments about him than any other of my heroes. He is the strong, silent type. An ex-prizefighter turned blacksmith who battles a lisp. In order to hide his speech impediment, he reads extensively to enlarge his vocabulary so he can avoid words with “s” sounds. That’s how he meets the heroine, Eden, who happens to be a librarian. But it is faith journey that really tugs on the heartstrings. He is a prodigal. A criminal who spent two years in prison after accidentally killing an opponent in the boxing ring. He finds his way back to God and vows to never fight again. For any reason. That vow nearly kills him, but he keeps it, and wins Eden’s heart in the process.

Out of all the different genres of books why did you choose to write Historical Romance?
Simple - Historical Romance is my favorite genre to read. I rarely read anything else. I enjoy a variety of time periods, but I almost never read contemporary. Maybe it’s the big dresses or the escape of traveling back to a simpler time, but the historical aspect adds more of a fairy tale feel to the story for me. And being a Disney fan and a huge romance sap, the fairy tale feel is exactly what I’m looking for in a novel. I’m a firm believer that authors should write what they love to read. It’s what gives a book passion.

 What are two things that people might be surprised to know about you?
  • I live next door to my in-laws and actually love it.
  • I love to crack “punny” jokes with my kids while my husband rolls his eyes.
What's your favorite book & favorite movie?
My favorite book of all time is The Secret by Julie Garwood. My favorite movie - hmm...I’m going to say Disney’s Enchanted. That one had me tearing up from laughing as well as sighing with fairy tale satisfaction.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I can remember going through many possibilities. Math Teacher, Athletic Trainer, Lawyer. I ended up getting a degree in School Psychology but I never made a career out of it. Now I work as a Testing Coordinator for Abilene Christian University and write novels. Only God could have figured this one out.

What three adjectives would your family/friends use to describe you?
  • Goofy
  • Task-Oriented
  • Nurturing
How does your faith influence your books?
Faith is an integral part of each story I write. It is why I write. My characters are usually mature believers who still struggle with temptation, patience, worry, trust - all the things we as Christians continue to struggle with even after years of walking with Jesus. In fact, most of the spiritual issues my characters battle mirror what I’m battling in my own life. My goal is to tell an entertaining story . . . but deeper than that, I want my stories to touch readers in such a way that they gain encouragement in their own faith journeys.

What's the next book you're writing?
My next book is called A Worthy Pursuit and it will be out in June. Here’s the official blurb:
Be on the lookout for my review on A Worthy Pursuit.
It will be posted in the next couple of days.
Thank you so much, Karen for taking the time to do this interview. I know for myself I totally enjoyed learned more about the person behind some of my favorite books. :)

12 comments :

  1. I look forward to reading a Worthy Pursuit. I'm sure I'll love it.

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  2. I read "Stealing the Preacher" by Karen Witemeyer and totally loved it! It's among my favorites. Joanna's faith is inspiring. I found her birthday request funny ~ yet it was sweet that her father granted it. Thanks for suggesting I read it Rebecca!

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    1. It was a great book, huh?! I have more suggestions for you too. :D

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  3. Thank you for sharing with us a glimpse into Mrs. Witemeyer's life.

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  4. I love when you do author interviews! It is so fun to learn about the person behind the pen...thanks so much for sharing!

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  5. I especially enjoyed this author interview!!! I always love learning about what has inspired authors to write what they do. A big thanks to Karen Witemeyer for doing the interview as well as to Rebecca for sharing! I'm always excited to see what's new on The Booklover's Tranquility!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! I love learning more about authors as well...obviously :)

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  6. So fun to see all the comments. Sorry it didn't make it over yesterday. Got swamped at work.

    Thank you, Rebecca for hosting me. Such a fun interview!

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    1. No problem! I'm glad you found the time to stop by. Thanks for everything!!

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