If you enjoy the the wind on your face and open sky before you, you have come to a good place to find the romance and flavor of the West.

Karen Witemeyer ~ To Win Her Heart ~ Book Giveaway

Welcome to Karen Witemeyer
She 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.

What is your favorite season of the year? Why?

I love spring. The magenta blossoms on the redbud trees, the bluebonnets along the roadways, temperatures that seduce this indoor gal outside—spring is a reminder to me of how beautiful life can be if you persevere through the hardship of winter.

What does the act of writing mean to you?

I view writing as an act of stewardship. Like Jesus' parable of the talents, I believe that God planted a desire and a talent inside of me with the intention that I use it for his glory. That is what I strive to do. I nurture his gift, cultivate it, and do my best to produce works that will bring him pleasure and encourage his people.

Were you conscious when you were writing your books of other writers who have set books in the same milieu recently?

I read historicals as well as write them, so I am somewhat aware of what other authors are doing. However, I'm more concerned with unique plot lines and characters than setting. All of my books to this point have been set somewhere in Texas. Since I live in Texas, this setting is easy for me to research as well as being dear to my heart. Thankfully, it's also rather popular with readers. Because of that popularity, though, many authors choose to set their stories within this great state. But, hey, Texas is a big place. I'm sure there's room for all of us.

Do you outline your books or let the story go where it wishes?

I do a little of both. I am a detail-oriented person, so I need to have a clear direction in mind before I set out to write a story. This usually means several weeks of research and brainstorming as I plot. I need to know the inciting incident, the climactic conflict at the end, and a handful of pivotal events along the way. I write out a detailed synopsis that can be anywhere from 5-10 pages, containing not only the main plot points, but key aspects of characterization for my hero and heroine. I do not make extensive outlines, however, or plan out individual chapters. Once I have that general synopsis in place, I type Chapter One and let the story evolve from there.

What gave you the inspiration for this story?

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.

How did you choose your characters’ names?

Choosing my character's names is one of my favorite parts of starting a new novel. I love using biblical names, both from characters and places in the Bible. Like Hannah and Jericho in A Tailor-Made Bride. I have a similar situation in To Win Her Heart. I wanted a strong, masculine name for the burly blacksmith who was built like a mountain. I also needed a name with deep spiritual connotations to represent his return to faithfulness after wandering away. I decided on Levi for its strong sound and the fact that it represented the Israelite tribe who took on priestly duties. For my heroine, I chose the name Eden. Not because she was perfect, but because she had a tendency to expect perfection. Also, she had a passion for flowers, especially the wildflowers that bloomed in the spring and summer near her home. One field in particular bloomed with such radiance, that she came to think of it as her own personal Garden of Eden. 

How do you choose your settings for each book?

As I mentioned earlier, I tend to set my stories in Texas. Sometimes I use a fictional town, and sometimes I use areas surrounding actual places. In To Win Her Heart, I created a fictional town loosely based on the history of the real town of Marquez in Leon County, TX. Marquez sprouted up in 1871 along the International-Great Northern railroad line and was named in honor of MarĂ­a de la Marquez who owned the land grant on which the town was platted. In similar style, my fictional town of Spencer was named for the town founder, Calvin Spencer, whose daughter decided to make her home there after a scandal drove her away from the family's primary residence in Austin.

I chose this location because it was relatively close to Huntsville, where the state prison resided. There was also evidence of limestone quarries in the region, and I knew I needed a quarry for one of the pivotal scenes in the book. All in all, it was the right size town, in the right place, at the right time.

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

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)

Give us the backcover of To Win Her Heart.

A blacksmith with a criminal past. A librarian with pacifist ideals. Do they have a fighting chance at finding love?

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?

What’s next after To Win Her Heart?

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. All Travis Archer has 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.

Where to find you on the Web.

I'd love to have you visit me at my website: www.karenwitemeyer.com. I host a monthly giveaway of historical Christian novels from a variety of well-known authors as well as post interesting tidbits about my characters and the research behind their stories.

You can also find me on Facebook. Send me a message sometime. I'd be honored to chat with you.

Karen, thank you for stopping by and sharing with us. To have the possibility to receive a copy of To Win Her Heart:

  • Leave a comment with your email (name at domain name dot com). 
  • To make it a little more fun, go to Karen's blog or web site and find out something of interest that is different from all other comments about Karen or one of her characters. 
  • Giveaway closes Sunday, May 15, 2011 at midnight (CST). Only US postal codes.
  • If you're reading this on Feedburner, Facebook, or Amazon please come to www.AJHawke.blogspot.com to leave your comments.

Karen's three novels are:

A Tailer Made Bride

Head In The Clouds
To Win Her Heart


Meredith said...

Karen has a page where she talks about the flowers in Victoria-era homes.

meredithfl at gmail dot com

Karen Witemeyer said...

Hi, Meredith. Thanks for strolling through my website. Aren't those pressed flowers beautiful? Eden, my heroine in To Win Her Heart, presses flowers as a hobby. I had fun researching this Victorian pastime.

Jackie S. said...

I would love to read this book!! I read Head in the Clouds and loved it. Karen is a fantastic writer.

Karen Witemeyer said...

Thanks, Jackie. I appreciate you stopping by today!

Maureen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maureen said...

I went to Karen's site and see that she grew up in CA and move to Texas to attended Abilene Christian University.
I have read Karen's other two books and have blogged them as 5 stars...absolutely loved them.
Thank you Karen!


Karen Witemeyer said...

Hi, Maureen. Thanks for blogging about my books! What a difference that makes. I hope you enjoy Levi and Eden's story equally as well.

karenk said...

Thanks for the opportunity to read Karen's latest novel...it sounds fabulous!!!

Karen, I loved your debut novel.

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Courtney said...

I am going to keep trying my hardest to win a copy of this book!! I have the other two books and this one just sounds great and I would to win it! :-) I went to Karen's website and was surprised to read about the struggles on woman and fitness in the 1800's. The fact that with the revolution people no longer endured hard farm work is fascinating! Glad finding time to exercise isn't a new issue. Thanks for a great interview!
I really hope I win!!

kcmelone at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

Hi Karen, Your first 2 book are awesome, and I know this one will be. I would love to have a copy. Thanks for the great interview!

Wendy said...

I would love to win a copy of to Win Her Heart.
I like to read Christian Historical Romance.
Please enter me into the drawing.
Thank you for the chance.

Ann Lee Miller said...

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

Jo said...

Great interview, Karen. We have been in Abilene many times driving from Arizona to Florida and back again. Nice area. Your books sound very interesting and have them on my wish list.


Coan Payne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diane said...

There is bonus material that is available to view from her first book that was deleted. I've read her second book and it is wonderful. I've ordered her first book from the library. She is a wonderful author. :O)

estrella8888 at roadrunner dot com

Jan Marie said...

Great interview! It is always interesting to learn about the methods that writers use to draft masterpieces like the ones that Karen writes.

I have always preferred contemporary fiction and Head in the Clouds was the first book of historical fiction that I read and enjoyed. Since then, I have expanded my reading material to include other books of historical ficion, and it is all thanks to Karen.

I would love to win To Win Her Heart - I tried to get on the influencer list but was too late, much to my chagrin.

Thanks for the opportunity to win this book.


Charity said...

I would love to be entered in this giveaway! Karen writes books that are humorous but thought-provoking. I learned that Karen has lived in Texas after she got roped in by her husband:) I love the research that goes into your books Karen! Please enter me in this giveaway. Thanks!


Nancye said...

This sounds like a book i would enjoy. Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

I learned that Karen grew up in California and then went to Abilene Christian University in Texas.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Amanda said...

Wonderful interview! Karen, your books are so unique and special – sweet romance that melts your heart, wonderful names choices that make your memorable, layered characters even more so, and of course how you so effortlessly and naturally weave God’s Word into the story! Gosh, you really put your heart into your books and that really translates with the reader and is probably why everyone I know that has read your books LOVES them!! As do I :) I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to win your new one!! Thank you both for the chance :)




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I love the wind in my face, the open sky before me, the romance and flavor of the West, but, most of all, our loving and living God, who created it all. I love how He works out His plans in the realm of human events, which is His Story. I have been blessed with a gift: a compulsion to write Historical and present-day novels set in the American West that demonstrate His power to transform ordinary people into true heroes and heroines. I am just a scribe really. I find the joy of participating in the creation of inspirational fiction indescribable. May our Lord Jesus Christ receive all of the credit and be glorified.

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