Welcome back to Writing for Christ Karen Witemeyer, I am excited to have you here for a second time. :- )
What has changed in your writing life since you were last here?
I recently renewed my contract with Bethany House, this time with four full-length novels and two novellas. After experimenting with novellas in the new collection A Match Made in Texas that I am in along with Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings, and Carol Cox, I found that I really enjoyed writing shorter pieces. I hope to incorporate more of them into my writing schedule. With three kids at home and a full-time job outside of writing, I know I'm not able to write more than one full-length project a year. However, I'd love to give my fans more content, so I'm hoping the addition of these novellas proves to be a good compromise. The next two novellas will probably be e-book only instead of being part of a printed collection, so this will be an experiment for my publisher as well to see if they sell well enough to justify the time and expense in producing them. I'm thankful to have a publisher who is willing to try new things. We'll just have to let the readers decide if they like it or not.
What recent read stood out to you as truly spectacular?
I love reading Christmas novellas over the holidays, and I found one this year from a western author who I am coming to really enjoy. The name of the story was Miracle in New Hope by Kaki Warner. It was about a scarred, reclusive man, a heartsick woman, and a lost little girl in a Colorado snow storm. Just the kind of story I love.
The most truly spectacular read I had lately, though, was a non-fiction book. Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman. I love books that challenge me to examine my spiritual walk in a new way. This book does that. It cuts through all the justifications and rationalizations to get to the heart of a person's Christianity. Are you a fan of Jesus or truly a follower? The book challenges you to strive for more than superficial Christianity, to find true discipleship. The author uses the lives of biblical characters who faced a crossroads where Christ demanded that they define their relationship with him – Fan or Follower – as well as contemporary examples from his own life and the lives of those around him. This book made me examine my faith in a brutally honest way. I would highly recommend it.
Do you have favorite authors?
I do have a handful of favorite authors that I return to again and again. In the Christian publishing world, some of these would include Mary Connealy, Margaret Brownley, and Dani Pettrey. In the general market, my favorites include Julia Quinn, Anne Gracie, Jodi Thomas, and the older historicals by Julie Garwood.
What do you find the most enjoyable part of writing or connecting with readers?
By far, the most enjoyable aspect of being a published author is hearing from readers. I love to hear the stories of how my writing has encouraged them or given them pleasure. The best stories, however, are the ones that come from readers who have been facing difficult faith struggles in their lives and who feel God connecting with them through the spiritual threads of my books. That is why I write – not just to entertain, but to bring glory to God and encourage his people to a greater maturity in Christ.
What do you find the most ideal atmosphere for writing? Do you ever get those surroundings? :- )
I dream of a mountain retreat, a remote cabin surrounded by forest and quiet (yet with remarkable Internet connectivity) where I can simply look out the window to find inspiration. Sigh. What I get instead is either a basement-level office with a window that allows me a crack of sky or a bedroom with pillows propped behind my back for support and a laptop. Frequent interruptions and not much scenery. Yet, I can't complain. In truth, all that gorgeous mountain scenery would probably prove too distracting. Perhaps it's better to have a dull writing space so that I will want to spend more time in the fertile fields of my imagination.
Okay, something fun for those writers out there: In what point of your writing career did you surprise yourself by writing the most words ever in the shortest amount of time?
I am a slow writer to begin with. I'm one of those odd ducks who insists on editing as I go. Everything must be perfect before I move on to the next section. There is no giant creative purge for me. My usual daily goal is to write two polished pages. Sometimes I've even managed three or four, but never more than that. Well, just a few weeks ago, I was writing at home, trying to finish a chapter that I thought would be done in about two pages. Wrong. Six pages and about four hours later, I finally finished it. That's my record so far.
Thanks for being here again! It has been a joy and we wish the very best with your novels.
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