Friday, April 29, 2011

My Friend Karen - Interview & Giveaway


Today I'm happy to welcome Karen Witemeyer to my blog to talk about her latest book, To Win Her Heart. She's been generous enough to offer a copy to one lucky reader, so to be entered to win, please leave a comment below with your email address.

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About To Win Her Heart


Having completed his sentence for the unintentional crime that derailed his youthful plans for fame and fortune, Levi Grant looks to start over in the town of Spencer, Texas. Spencer needs a blacksmith, a trade he learned at his father’s knee, and he needs a place where no one knows his past. But small towns leave little room for secrets. . . .
Eden Spencer has sworn off men, choosing instead to devote her time to the lending library she runs. When a mountain-sized stranger walks through her door and asks to borrow a book, she steels herself against the attraction he provokes. His halting speech and hesitant manner leave her doubting his intelligence. Yet as the mysteries of the town’s new blacksmith unfold, Eden discovers hidden depths in him that tempt her heart.

Levi’s renewed commitment to his faith leads Eden to believe she’s finally found a man of honor and integrity, a man worthy of her love. But when the truth about his prodigal past comes to light, can this tarnished hero find a way to win back the librarian’s affections?

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About Karen

Karen Witemeyer is a deacon's wife who believes the world needs more happily-ever-afters. To that end, she combines her love of bygone eras with her passion for helping women mature in Christ to craft historical romance novels that lift the spirit and nurture the soul. Her debut novel, A Tailor-Made Bride, recently claimed honorable mention in the 2010 Best Western Romance contest. Karen makes her home in Abilene, TX with her husband and three children.

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What's your latest book?

To Win Her Heart (Bethany House, May 2010) pairs a blacksmith with a criminal past with an uppity librarian who holds lofty ideals. But attraction definitely sparks between these two opposites.

Oh, an unlikely pair is so much fun!  What inspired you to write this book?

Have you ever wished there was an epilogue to Jesus' parable of the Prodigal Son? I have. When I decided to write To Win Her Heart, one question prompted the plot development: What happens after the father welcomes the prodigal son home? So often we focus on the wonderful homecoming the lost son received, but have you ever asked what life was like for him after the celebration was over? How did he relate to his bitter older brother or the servants and townspeople who were only too aware of his past arrogance and wild living? My story plays on those very questions.

You know, I hadn't really considered that question, but it's an awesome one to fuel your book! What do you hope your readers will get out of the story?

The underlying theme of this book is one of forgiveness and of learning to view others through God's lens instead of our own. Just as Jesus encouraged the Pharisees to only cast a stone if they were without sin, we must learn to set aside our self-righteous pride in favor of mercy and forgiveness. It is human nature to keep records of wrongs and to view others through our own hurts and prejudices. And while our God is certainly concerned with justice, when one of his children repents, his mercy and forgiveness know no bounds. We must learn to exhibit the same grace to our brothers and sisters in Christ, extending them the mercy we ourselves would wish to receive. After all, love keeps no record of wrongs.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
(1 Peter 4:8)


Beautiful. What's your favorite genre to write? To read?

I'm an historical romance gal, through and through. It's all I read and all I write. I like to think of myself as focused, though others might consider it stuck in a rut. However, within the historical romance genre, I'm open to all types of stories and settings—medieval Scottish warriors, dashing earls in regency ballrooms, rugged cowboys riding the range—give me a manly, historic hero, and I'm there. Oh . . .umm . . .a feisty heroine is nice, too.

Now, come on. It's the hero all the way. ;-) I share your love of all things historical romance, that's for sure. Is there any one thing or reference you keep handy when writing? Anything you kept around for this particular book?

My two favorite resources for To Win Her Heartcame from books that gave me greater insight into the personal lives of my characters. Levi Grant is a blacksmith, and Aldren Watson's book The Blacksmith: Ironworker & Farrier gave me wonderful information from how to set up a forge to which tools to use for which job, to common blacksmithing tasks. I couldn't have written Levi's story without it. And for Eden, creating art out of pressed flowers is her hobby and an expression of her personality, so I bought a copy of Sandy Puckett's Fragile Beauty: The Victorian Art of Pressed Flowers. The fabulous pictures and instructions in this book gave life to Eden's passion.


Let's move onto a fun question. =) If you could take your family on a vacation anywhere in the world, where would you go?

If money was no object, I would love to tour the castles of Germany. I love mountain settings, romance, and fairy tales. What could be more romantic than the castle that inspired the home of Disney's Sleeping Beauty situated in the Bavarian mountains? I get dreamy-eyed just looking at pictures of Neuschwanstein. I'd also like to see elegant Eltz Castle and historic Wartburg Castle. Wartburg is one of the oldest preserved castles as well as a place where church reformer Martin Luther lived and translated the Bible into German. How awesome would that be to see? My daughter would love touring the castles and my husband would dutifully ooh and aah, but I might have to bribe my boys with a ski trip or something to get them to tour the castles with me.

You're speaking my language there! What are you writing right now?

I'm currently working on my fourth historical romance for Bethany House. The working title is Short-Straw Bride. Four brothers draw straws to see who will marry the heroine in this twist on a marriage of convenience story. Here's the tagline: All he’s ever cared about is his brothers and his land. But when a good deed goes awry, he’s stuck with a bride who endangers both.

One fun tidbit about the brothers in this story – they are all named for heroes from the Alamo. Travis is the main character, the next oldest is Crockett, the kid brother is Neill (for the Alamo's commander who missed being at the fight because of a family illness that called him away), and the third brother's given name is Bowie, but he refuses to answer to anything except Jim. I don't blame him. Poor guy. What we authors do to torture our characters.

Oh, that's a fabulous premise!!

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Thanks so much for visiting, Karen! Readers, be sure to check out her website at
http://www.karenwitemeyer.com. You can find her book at ChristianBook.comChristianbook.com.

Void where prohibited. Entry into the contest is considered verification of eligibility based on your local laws. Chance of winning depends on number of entries. Contest ends 5/6/11. Winner will have two weeks to claim prize.

18 comments:

  1. I would love to win this one. I love the historical romances and if there is a suprise there it's even better. Thanks for the chance to win! ybutler(at)oppcatv(dot)com

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  2. Grannyvon - Thanks for stopping by. You are definitely in the drawing!

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  3. Sounds like a great book!! :) I love historical romance books.

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  4. would love to read karen's latest novel...thanks for the opportunity =)

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

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  5. It will be torture waiting for Short-Straw Bride to come out after reading that premise!!! Karen's books are always great. I'm in for the draw on To Win Her Heart ♥

    homesteading[at]charter[dot]net

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  6. Jolanthe and KarenK - Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Best of luck in the drawing!

    Anne - I'm so glad you like the premise of Short-Straw Bride. I'm having a lot of fun with my Alamo men!

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  7. I agree with the world needing more happily ever afters! As an avid reader and a SLIS student, I love a "bookish" heroine. This title has been on my TBR wishlist since I first read the summary. I would love to win this :)

    kathryn.clewell[at]gmail[dot]com

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  8. I love historical romance books. Please enter me.

    Blessings,
    Jo
    ladijo40(at)aol(dot)com

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  9. I really want this book of Karens to go with my other 2! I love her books! Thanks for the interview,
    Blessings.....Joy
    ibjoy1953{at]yahoo[dot]com

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  10. Happy endings are a must! Glad to know you agree, noseinanovel.

    Hi, Jo. I'm an historical romance junkie. Love them!

    Splashes of joy - I'm so happy to hear that you enjoyed my other two books. I hope you have as much fun with Eden and Levi.

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  11. I love the idea of exploring beyond the prodigal's homecoming. I am enjoying Karen's books so much, she is a new must read author for me! Please include me in the drawing. Thanks.
    worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

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  12. I love Karen's books so much, she is such a great author!! I love that you would tour the castles in Germany if you could go anywhere for vacation. That sounds so wonderful and I'm such a romantic junkie also that would be a dream come true! Thanks for the interview and the chance to win this great book!

    kcmelone(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  13. Just started reading christian romance and can't seem to get enough. This sounds like it would fit into my liking.

    prshea@mac.com

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  14. I would love to read "To Win Her Heart".
    I like to read historical romances. Especially Christian based.
    Please enter me into the drawing.
    Thank you for the chance.
    wdesirees[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  15. I'd love to read one of Karen's books. :)
    Ann_Lee_Miller@msn.com

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  16. I'm glad your settings are in Texas. I loved your first books and can't wait to read the new one.


    Lisa/Oklahoma
    sugarplumtree032000@yahoo.com

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  17. Hi, Merry. I'm glad you like the premise. I've read quite a few prodigal stories, but most of them ended like the biblical parable, with the character returning to God. I thought it would be fun to start a story there instead and see where it went. Hope you enjoy the adventure!

    Courtney - I have to admit that this dream vacation never occured to me until Roseanna asked the question in the interview. But now that it's on my radar, I can't think of any place more perfect. Too fun!

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  18. Shea and Wendy - Christian romance is a wonderful alternative, isn't it? I'm so glad to have such a wide variety of choices, too. There are some really great authors out there. If you haven't read Francine Rivers's Redeeming Love, move that to the top of your list. It's the most powerful story I've ever read.

    Ann and Lisa - Thanks for stopping by today. Texas is my home and dear to my heart, so I'll probably continue setting my stories here, at least for a while. Thankfully, it's a big state with a lot of options for settings.

    Thanks so much for all of the encouragement, everyone!

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