Karen Witemeyer’s “Cold Call” Interview
Welcome Karen, to your “Cold Call” interview!! For those of you who don’t know what the “Cold Call” feature is, at the beginning of the month I have a poll, the winning author YOU then get to interview!! Karen Witemeyer won this month’s vote and I am thrilled to present her here with YOUR questions. Without any further ado, heeeerrrre’s Karen!
First off, we are all dying to know what awesome book you are working on next for all us diehard fans.
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.
Do you have any say in your book covers—they are awesome!
Thank you! I love them, too. The Art Department at Bethany House has to be one of the best in the business. I do get a little bit of say in the covers on the front end. I submit character sketches with details about the hero and heroine's physical appearance, their clothing, the setting, etc. They also solicit my input for ideas. With my second book, Head in the Clouds, it was my idea to have Adelaide so absorbed in her book that she was about to take a tumble. They executed that beautifully. For To Win Her Heart, it was important to me to have a muscular hero on the cover since such a strong point is made in the story about Levi's physique. My dedicated project manager took it upon herself to wade through countless male model portfolios until she found the right man for the job. Such an act of selfless sacrifice, don't you think? J
Are any of the romantic scenes in your books inspired by real life experiences with your own real life hero? ;-)
My wonderful husband, Wes, is certainly the inspiration behind many of the romantic moments in my books. I try to create each hero with his own special way of relating to the heroine, but I'm sure there are certain movements and glances that carry over since they are the ones that stir me the most. Wes and I are celebrating 19 years of marriage next month, and I couldn't imagine living out my happily ever after with anyone else.
You don’t blog and aren’t on Twitter, I’m curious why not and what other ways of staying connected in today’s online world you have chosen.
Being an introvert, I am lousy at chit chat, whether it be in person or online, so the idea of finding something to say to the world on a regular basis stresses me out. I'd never get my next book written because I'd be fretting over what to write in my blog. So instead of hosting my own blog, I arrange blog tours with some lovely hostesses, like Casey, who allow me to make a guest appearance on their blog when I have a new release to promote. This scenario preserves my sanity and keeps my name in the blogosphere at release time.
I do have a Facebook page and love to interact with readers there, but I'm not one of those authors who comes up with fun gems to post every day. I post maybe twice a month. However, I still use it for relationship building because every time someone sends me a message or posts on my wall or tags me in a photo, I immediately respond with a personal comment.
Another reason I've chosen this path is for time management sake. I work full-time in a day job, write full-time, and have three young kids who need me to be Mom. Time is precious. Blogging and Twitter could easily suck me in and cause me to lose time that should be spent on my family or my writing. I definitely want to interact with readers, though. So I choose to do that in the most personal way possible. Instead of reaching out to hundreds at a time through FB or blogging, I spend time one-on-one answering e-mails and messages with personal responses.
My website is where I splurge. I pay to have my site professionally designed and maintained, and I update it regularly. I try to remember the golden rule of marketing—give stuff away for free. I give away free content like an epilogue for my debut novel and character vignettes that delve into the hobbies and backgrounds of the characters from my novels. I give away a free download of a biblical fiction piece and Bible study based on the life of Rahab for everyone who signs up for my newsletter. I also enter everyone on my newsletter list for the drawings I host each month for free books by other Christian historical fiction authors. I invite readers to dialog with me through e-mail and respond immediately to their messages. This is my favorite marketing venue. It has the comfort of welcoming someone into my home instead of the anxiety of mingling at a party where I can't seem to find a familiar face.
Is there a woman in the Bible whose life and testimony has encouraged you in your faith and walk with Christ?
I love studying the women of the Bible. In fact, the first manuscript I ever wrote (which is still sitting in my computer), was a collection of biblical fiction pieces based on the lives of lesser known biblical women. I think one of the most powerful testimonies is the story of Jephthah's daughter. When you get a chance, read Judges 11. This young girl had such a selfless, courageous spirit. Her father was an outcast who suddenly found himself in a position of leadership, and in a bid to gain success in battle he bargains with God to offer on the altar whatever first comes out of his house upon his return if the Lord would grant him victory. What comes to greet him? His beautiful, beloved daughter. He is distraught, but his daughter comforts him and never once lays blame at his feet. She encourages him to keep his vow to the Lord, and after a short time of mourning with her friends, she willingly climbs upon the altar. It is all too easy for me to lay blame and to look out for my own interests when perhaps I should be looking for ways to live more sacrificially. This story reminds me of the call of Romans 12, to offer our bodies as living sacrifices—our spiritual act of worship.
Do you lead any women’s studies at your church?
Yes, I am the ladies Bible class leader at my church. We are a small congregation and our ladies class only meets once a month, but I treasure those times. It is such a blessing to gather with sisters in Christ and delve into God's Word together. I always come away learning so much from those ladies.
What was your favorite book as a girl?
Two of my favorites were the Little House on the Prairie series and the Anne of Green Gables series. Although in junior high, I can remember devouring the Sweet Valley High series. Anyone remember those from the 80's? Two twins, one sweet, one mischievous. That was my first young adult romance series.
Why did you choose to write historical over contemporary?
I write historicals because that is all I ever read. Escaping into the past heightens the fairy tale aspect of the story for me. And there is something about those historical heroes that I love. From the highland warrior to the regency gentleman, to the rugged cowboy, they are all so appealing. Sigh.
And for all those “die-hard” fans out there…where can readers connect with you?
I love to hear from my readers. You can contact me through my website at: www.karenwitemeyer.com or on Facebook.
I'm so honored to have been voted your cold call interview this month. Feel free to "call" me anytime.
The winner of Karen Witemeyer's To Win Her Heart is...
Thanks everyone for making the giveaway a success!