Two-time RITA® Finalist and winner of the coveted HOLT Medallion, CBA bestselling author, Karen Witemeyer, writes historical romance fiction for Bethany House, believing that the world needs more happily-ever-afters. She is an avid cross-stitcher, shower singer, and bakes a mean apple cobbler. Karen makes her home in Abilene, TX with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at: www.karenwitemeyer.com.
Welcome back to the blog, Karen. I’m so happy to have you here today. Congratulations on your newest release, No Other Will Do. I’m really looking forward to reading this one!! 🙂
What was one of your favorite scenes to write in “No Other Will Do”?
Actually, I had a lot of fun writing the prologue. My hero and heroine meet as children, and throwing them together in humorous yet dire circumstances really gave me the opportunity to develop their individual personalities as well as lay the groundwork for their personal growth and eventual romance. Malachi is an orphan and runaway who is nearly frozen after being tossed off a train in the snow-covered plains of Texas. He takes refuge in a barn where Emma finds him. She’s a blend of bossy compassion, and he can’t believe an angel with a riot of dark curls would ever stoop to speak to him let alone give up her warm outer clothing in order to dress him up like some kind of human snowman. With a single act of kindness, Emma gains Mal’s undying devotion – a devotion that brings him back into her life a decade later.
Where do you get the names for your characters? I love the names Malachi and Emma!
I love using biblical names. Many of my characters have been named after people or places in the Bible. Jericho, Hannah, Gideon, Levi, Eden, Joanna, Darius, Jacob, and Daniel are all names I’ve used for major characters. Malachi is another fun Bible name. For me, it projects strength of character, and represents a man who will stand up for what is right no matter the personal cost. I chose Emma because it has that wonderful historical feel (Jane Austen, anyone?) and because it seems to have a touch of softness that plays off the strength of Malachi’s name. Emma’s character is anything but soft. She’s a banker by trade and the leader of a women’s colony. She’s in charge. Yet the weight of responsibility weighs on her, and she longs to share her burden. When Malachi arrives, she finally learns that she doesn’t have to handle everything on her own. It’s okay to be soft occasionally and lean on the trusted strength of another.
A full-length novel takes me about 35-40 weeks. I write at a very slow and steady pace. I try to write one polished chapter a week. This works for me because I’m one of those odd ducks that prefers to edit as I create. I basically write one draft, editing as I go.
Which of your books proved to be the most fun to write and why?
I would say To Win Her Heart. Everything just came together so perfectly for that one. The inspiration struck, then research turned up historical events I could use to fit my imagined plot together in a way I never could have pieced together on my own. Then, because of my hero’s speech impediment, I had a wonderful challenge of creating dialog that contained no “s” sounds. Talk about a crazy adventure! But all that effort brought me even closer to the characters and hopefully made them more real to the readers.
That one is definitely on my TBR list too! 😉 Have you visited any of the historical sites from your books? If not, what places are at the top of your list to visit someday?
I did visit the site of my imaged sheep ranch in Menard County (for Head in the Clouds) as I was writing that story. I turned down a little Farm to Market road, drove about ten miles, stopped and got out of my car to take some pictures of the land so I could describe it in better detail. Lo and behold, there were sheep! Right where my fictional sheep ranch would sit. That was such a fun, unexpected discovery. It was meant to be. 🙂
Even though all of my books are set in Texas, I do most of my researching online. It can take days to drive across this state. I do love forests, though, so one of these days, I’d like to spend some time exploring the piney woods of east Texas where my Archer brother books are set. I’ve driven past them on the highway, but I’ve never spent time there exploring. I would enjoy that.
I would like to let readers know that No Other Will Do is the beginning of a new series titled The Ladies of Harper’s Station. There will be two full-length novels interspersed with two novellas. Worth the Wait is the novella that follows No Other Will Do. It is already written and in development. I believe it will be released in January. As always, all of the stories can be read and enjoyed individually, but for those of you who enjoy series, I wanted to let you know there will be several connected stories to come. I’m working on the second full-length novel now, tentatively titled Down to the Wire, featuring a romance struck up over the telegraph—the 19th century version on Internet dating. Should be fun!
Oh, I can’t wait! They sound like such fun stories. Thanks for sharing, Karen!
Karen has graciously offered to give away a signed copy of No Other Will Do to one lucky reader! Enter below and it could be YOU!
Thanks for entering! Contest is open to US residents only and ends June 28, 2016. The winner will be notified by email. Happy Reading, everybody!