Inspiring Stories birthed from worthy pursuits.
A Christy Award finalist, ACFW Carol Award winner, National Reader’s Choice Award recipient, and two-time RITA finalist. A two-blog contributor. A CBA best selling author of over 10 books and three series. Most of all, a beautiful woman, a Christian, and an inspiration to any writer. Meet, Karen Witemeyer!
1. The cover snagged me in Stealing the Preacher…I have to admit your cover’s are so wonderful! But, what truly stole my heart was the story. I just completed Stealing the Preacher and what a joy is was for me. You won my heart with that book and now the whole Archer Series. Silas has to be my favourite character. What inspired his character and background story?
Thank you for the compliment on the cover. The Art Department at Bethany House is phenomenal! They do such wonderful work. I’m not really sure where the inspiration for Silas came from. I think he just grew organically out of the plot. After writing Short-Straw Bride, I knew Crockett was going to leave the ranch to become a full-time preacher, but I wanted to derail his plans, take him in a direction that he never saw coming. How better to do that than to abduct him from a train? And who better to do the abducting than the father of the heroine? So much room for comedy and conflict there, I couldn’t resist. However, after that initial plot idea got me thinking, I knew I needed to deepen Silas’s character, give him backstory to explain his extreme distrust of preachers. This is not a man who would be easily won. If the wife and daughter he loved couldn’t do it after two decades, one sermon from a new preacher wasn’t going to hack it, either. This was a man who paid more attention to actions than words. Words could lie. Actions revealed the truth. Even after Crockett’s genuine faith began to garner the ex-outlaw’s notice, though, it took a near tragedy to shake his world enough to crack the walls of his heart and let the healing forgiveness of Jesus soak in. It wasn’t Crockett who won Silas’ soul, it was God. That’s how it always works. We may plant seeds and water, but only God can give the increase.
2. Absolutely! I couldn’t agree more. I also noticed that in each book of your Series, they are written like a stand alone novel. I love that. Was this your intention in the beginning?
Yes, this is intentional. My favorite series to read are those that pick up a secondary character for each subsequent book, so that is the type of series I write. This allows them to be read as stand alone novels. Part of the reasoning behind this is that I am a slow writer. I only put out one full-length novel a year. I’ve started augmenting that schedule with a novella in between each main release. This helps make series writing a little more viable. A year is too long to make a reader wait for the conclusion of a story. But if each book stands on its own, the wait is not a deterrent.
I read a series in the general market several years ago set in England where a small village far away from London became a sort of haven (or place of punishment) for spinsters. Women outnumbered the men, and males of marriageable age avoided the place like the plague. This clever idea got me thinking . . . what if we took that one step farther? What if there were no men at all? What if a female with a suffragette upbringing and heart for helping women started up a women’s colony in Texas?
After the death of her parents, Emma Chandler was raised by her two maiden aunts who taught her to believe that if women worked together, there was nothing they couldn’t accomplish. Feeling called to help women who have fallen on hard times, Emma follows in her father’s banker footsteps and starts a bank, in fact an entire colony, with the sole purpose of helping women get back on their feet. Women come to Harper’s Station for a wide variety of reasons. Some are widows with children who have nowhere else to turn. Some are escaping abuse. Some simply want to live in a place where they can practice a trade usually only acceptable for males. Emma welcomes them all. Everyone must work to earn their way, but all are welcome. And when the town is threatened, they all stand together to save their homes. Until they realize they are outmatched and need help. There is only one man Emma trusts enough to ask–Malachi Shaw. No other will do.
4. It sounds very intriguing and if this book is anything like the others you have written, I know I will love it! You recently did an extremely neat idea for a book giveaway, by allowing your readers to get in on writing the next part of your book! This was genius. How did you come up with the idea? And, will you be using any of the ideas in your next novella?
Ha! To be honest, I needed the help. I had a basic idea for what to do with my characters since they were major players in Emma and Malachi’s story, but all of my ideas seemed to take me down paths I had already traveled in other projects. It can be hard for an other to come up with fresh ideas that feel different from her previous works after she has several books under her belt. So I sought ideas from fresher minds. It was a rousing success! Several ideas sparked plot lines in my head that I immediately added to my synopsis. I might have to start doing this on a regular basis. *grin*
5. Yup! I read a few ideas and some were very close to ideas I came up with. They were well thought out too. Is it important for you to have your readers engaged with your projects?
Yes. Readers are the reason I do what I do. Without them, there is no reason to write. I want them to feel connected to the characters. How better to do that than to invite them into the creation process?
6. Speaking about readers… Will you ever venture into another genre (YA, Contemporary, Sci-Fi) or are you content with writing Romance Historical Fiction? If you did write in a different genre, would you use a different pen name and what would it be?
This is an easy answer for me. No. I don’t think I will ever venture into another genre. Ever since my childhood reading of Little House on the Prairie and Anne of Green Gables, there has been a special place in my heart for historical fiction. Especially romance. It is what I love to read. In fact, I rarely read anything that isn’t historical romance. And because it is my favorite to read, it’s hard to imagine writing anything else. It’s my passion. Where I fit.
I want my readers to be entertained, to be so swept up in the story that they can’t put the book down. But what is most important, is that they find a point of spiritual connection, something that speaks to their soul and helps them in their own faith journey. This is the main reason my characters are nearly always people of well-developed faith. Just like all of us, they struggle with sin, with fear, with worry. They sometimes allow pride to blind them or feel driven to control situations because they find it hard to trust a God they cannot see. Just because they are believers doesn’t mean they don’t still continue to struggle. I know I falter plenty in my life. In fact, my characters’ struggles usually mirror my own. And when they turn to Scripture, to prayer, or heed the wisdom of another believer, it’s my way of exposing my own soul and sharing what helps me get through hard times with the hope that it will help others as they fend off Satan’s attacks in their own lives.
Here is another one of Karen’s books that I am hoping to get my hands on!