Author Spotlight: Karen Witemeyer

Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.

The winner from last week’s Author Spotlight with Tracie Peterson is Penny McGuire! Please email my assistant Christen with your mailing address (ckrumm@litfusegroup.com).

This week please welcome Karen Witemeyer in the spotlight! To win a copy of her new book Stealing the Preacher (Bethany House, 2013), leave a comment on this post.

Share a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester? Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in?

I’ve been married to my college sweetheart, Wes, for 20 years. We have three kids, ages 15, 13, and 11. They keep us very busy with soccer, tennis, band, math competitions, and church activities. I have a full-time day job as well, working as the Testing Coordinator for Abilene Christian University. It’s great for exercising my left brain—giving ACTs, CLEP exams, and other proctored tests—leaving my right brain free for the creative demands of writing.

And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest . . .

I write historical romance because it’s my very favorite genre to read. From my teenage years to current day, I’ve read historical romance almost exclusively. When I decided to write, there was no question in my mind what genre I would choose. If you can’t write what you love to read, what’s the point, right?

How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author?

I’d always been a bookworm, but for years I never even dared to dream about being a writer. It seemed so mysterious and far removed from normal life. After college, though, I began keeping a journal of story ideas inspired by daydreams. The dream had been born, but it was still abstract and out of reach. Then, when I was a stay-at-home mom with three kids under five, my husband learned his position was being eliminated. Suddenly I was faced with needing to find a way to contribute to the family income. Now was the time to take that dream off the shelf and try to make it real. Little did I know that it would be years before I saw any significant income from my efforts. Six months later, I took that Testing Coordinator job, but by then the writing bug had bitten hard. I continued pursuing the dream.

After you started writing seriously, how long was it before you were published?

I started writing with intent for publication in 2003. I published a few short pieces in magazines and Cup of Comfort collections along the way, but I signed my first full-length novel contract in 2009. My first book hit the shelves in 2010.

What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?

Writers’ conferences by far have made the biggest difference in my career. I started attending the ACFW conference in 2005 and started learning how the publishing industry works. In 2007, I met an editor from Bethany House while stuffing envelopes during pre-conference volunteering, later at the conference I sat at her table during lunch and pitched my story along with the other 9 authors at the table. That pitch led to permission to send a proposal which led to a request for the full manuscript which led to a . . . rejection. But that rejection came with an invitation to send something else and a request to meet again at the 2008 conference. I met with two Bethany editors that next year, they started talking about a contract, so when I met with an agent later at that same conference, she ended up offering me representation. By January 2009 I had an agent and a 3-book contract all because of the opportunities available at this conference.

ACFW has earned my loyalty and my gratitude. I’ve never missed a conference since I began attending in 2005. And since I first met my editor while volunteering, I have done some kind of volunteer work every year as well. This year, I’ll be on faculty for the first time and will be teaching a workshop on Author Voice. It’s my turn to give back and teach/encourage young writers who are following their dreams.

What are your biggest distractions?

My kids! I’m not willing to give them up, though, so I guess that means I’ll just have to continue praying for patience and for creativity that can endure through interruptions.

Pretend I’m a customer at a bookstore looking for a good book. Give me a one or two sentence promo to convince me to buy your book.

Abducted from a train by a gang of aging outlaws, Crockett Archer must choose between either escaping to follow his own dreams or staying to help the daughter of his captor fulfill hers.

What’s on the book horizon for you?

My current release, Stealing the Preacher, focuses on Crockett Archer, one of the famous Archer brothers readers might have met in Short-Straw Bride. Crockett’s story stands completely on its own, but there are a few cameo appearances by other Archers, especially the youngest of the clan, Neill. After growing so attached to the Archers, I wasn’t about to let Neill go without giving him his own happy ending, so I came up with a novella project that will feature Neill. Neill’s story, A Cowboy Unmatched, will appear in the anthology A Match Made in Texas which is scheduled to release in January 2014. The other contributing authors are Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings, and Carol Cox, so you can tell this one is going to be a lot of fun!

Last question, how can readers find you and your books?

The easiest place to find information about my books is on my website at:
www.karenwitemeyer.com

I also love to interact with readers through Facebook and the two group blogs I contribute to. My author page on Facebook is:
www.facebook.com/KarenWitemeyersAuthorPage
If you like my page, you can gain access to the first three chapters of Stealing the Preacher for free.

I blog with a group of western romance authors on a site called Petticoats & Pistols. This group features both Christian and general market authors.
www.petticoatsandpistols.com

The second group I blog with is called Writes of Passage. This group is made up of bestselling inspirational historical fiction authors. Some names you might recognize are Tracy Peterson, Tamera Alexander, Julie Klassen, and Lynn Austin. We have so much fun together and love to interact with readers.
www.writespassage.blogspot.com

About Suzanne

Suzanne Woods Fisher writes bestselling, award winning fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books. Her interest in the Plain People began with her Old Order German Baptist grandfather, raised in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne's app, Amish Wisdom, delivers a daily Amish proverb to your phone or iPad. She writes a bi-monthly column for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine. She lives with her family in California and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you can't take life too seriously when a puppy is running through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth.

Comments

  1. felecia says:

    This story looks good.

  2. Patty H says:

    Love all of Karen’s books! Historical fiction is my favorite genre, but I have been checking out some contemporary fiction lately…

  3. Thanks, Suzanne, for inviting me into you blog home. I’m delighted to be here.

    Felecia – Thanks for you comment. I hope you get a chance to meet Crockett and Joanna soon. 🙂

  4. Shirley Blanchard says:

    I cant wait to win this book and read it, yep im hoping and believinh im the winner.
    jcisforme@aol.com

  5. Karen says:

    I have only read one of Karen’s books so far, but, I must say, I was hooked at the very beginning. I can’t wait to read more!!

  6. Hannah Peasha says:

    I LOVED Short Straw Bride and have had my eye on Stealing the Preacher for a while. It looks great!

  7. All of Karen’s books have been wonderful! Being a pastor’s and now missionary wife…I’d like to see how SHE stole the preacher! I stole my cowboy when I ordered lamb fries and I heard someone say…a woman after my own heart….29 years last week!

  8. Kym McNabney says:

    Love your writing. Thanks for sharing. Unfortunately, I’ve only attended one writing conference, and it was such a bad experience, I haven’t had the desire to attend, again. Things seemed to go downhill from there. Hopefully that will change in time. For now I look at it as God telling me it’s not my time.

  9. amyc says:

    Fabulous interview with Miss Karen. I love her books and she’s so much fun to read about too!

  10. Kathie from Ca says:

    A good friend reads only historical romances so I would like to try one too and then pass it on to her!

  11. Karen – Thanks for the kind comment. I hope you get the chance to read some others as well.

    Hannah – I just got too attached to those Archer brothers. I HAD to write Crockett’s story. Hope you get to read it soon. 🙂

  12. Melody – What a wonderful story!!! I love it. I don’t even know what lamb fries are, but they seemed to work some lovely romance for you. 🙂 29 years is a fabulous accomplishment. Congrats on roping such a winner!

  13. Kym – I’m so sorry that you had a bad writing conference experience. They can be hard sometimes. Especially pitching to editors who don’t seem to be interested in your work or hearing harsh feedback from others. I suffered through both of those experiences as well. Whatever happened with you, I’m glad that it didn’t cause you to give up on your dream. There is more than one road to publication. Conferences are only one. Keep writing and submitting and hopefully one day you’ll have a publishing story to share. 🙂

  14. Cyndi W. says:

    Recently read ‘Stealing the Preacher’ and LOVED it! I loved all the characters and thought you had a really unique and engaging storyline!

  15. Amy – Thanks for the cheerful comment. You brought a smile to my face this morning.

    Kathie – Your friend sounds like my kind of gal! I hope you both get a chance to enjoy the book.

  16. Cindi – Thanks so much! I struggle over developing my plots, so hearing that you found the story engaging is a true blessing.

  17. Cyndi W. says:

    Melody— love your story! 😉

  18. Wendy M says:

    I have read all of Karen’s books and am eagerly awaiting reading this newest book. I think Short Straw Bride has been my favorite, but they are all great reads.

  19. Bonnie G says:

    So I would love to read Stealing the Preacher, but the ones being released Jan 2014 sound so good to.

  20. Molly Loggins says:

    Hi, Karen,
    Thanks for sharing your story about how you became an author. I would love to win Stealing the Preacher!

    Thanks!

  21. Lorraine Alexander says:

    I’ve only read one of Karen’s books but I really loved it….Short Straw Bride…would love to win this one…thank you for the opportunity!

  22. Sheri says:

    Great interview!! I have read several of Karen’s books and always enjoy them. I would love to read her newest one. Thanks for the chance!!

    Sheri

  23. Robyn L says:

    I’m pleased to have met you through this interview; I will look into reading Historical Romance more (have read a tiny bit) now that I have heard of your books.

  24. Randi L. says:

    I want to win this book! I have very much been looking forward to reading it, and would love to win a copy! I haven’t yet had the opportunity to read any of Karen’s books, but they sound great. Thanks for the giveaway!

  25. Carole says:

    I am intrigued! Being a Pastor’s Wife for 37 years this sounds fun… I enjoy seeing photos of Lindsey & Josh’s kiddos. Stacie & Brad’s girls tell me of times with them. To Railey, Natalie, & Audrey I am “Gramsie”.

  26. Debby Kulchar says:

    Looks like an exciting tale with lots of romance and intrigue – great job!

  27. Everyone is leaving such wonderful comments. It’s raining here in Texas, today, but I feel like the sun is shining. Thank you all so much! I wish you all could win a copy! 🙂

  28. Pam K. says:

    Thanks for this interview with Karen; it is always fun to learn more about our favorite authors. I’ve read all but one of Karen’s books (still haven’t been able to get a copy of Head in the Clouds) and loved them all. I’m looking forward to the novella that tells Neill’s story.
    Please don’t enter me in the drawing since I already have Stealing the Preacher. I just had to comment since I loved it so much! This was one of two books I told my daughter she had to read when she came home for a weekend this summer (the other was A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund). She loved it as well.

  29. Lisa Stifler says:

    Hi Suzanne, Thank you sharing your time with Karen. I have not read any of her books as of yet. I have just started reading the Amish fiction books and have been introduced to a whole new world of reading. These sound like wonderful books to read Karen and have enjoyed reading about you on a more personal side. I hope to win a copy of your new book it sounds wonderful. Blessings to you both and may God continue to bless you!

  30. Mel says:

    More glimpses into the long, winding, detour-filled, path to be a published author. Thanks for hanging in there and persevering. Stealing the Preacher is definitely on my list to read.

  31. Karen–
    I’m so glad you persevered with writing! I loved Short Straw Bride and can’t wait to read this new one. Great story about getting oh-so-close to a contract…I’ve been there, too! Wonderful inspiration to aspiring authors.
    Thanks for sharing your story with my readers! Warmly, Suzanne

  32. Stacey Zink says:

    Suzanne, thanks for hosting Karen! I read Short Straw Bride a few months ago and loved it. It is one of my favorites from this year. As an aspiring author, I love to read about published authors and their journey to publication. I have young children, so I can understand about that loving distraction! I attended ACFW last year and loved it. What a blessing to be surrounded by such encouraging people. God bless you both on your writing journey.

  33. Jennifer C says:

    Stealing the Preacher!!! Oh my goodness I’ve been seeing this title everywhere. I’ve been sloooooowly walking by it at the book stores. I have to read it! It seriously sounds good.

  34. Melissa says:

    This looks like a very interesting read!

  35. Rebecca Dewey says:

    I love Karen Witemeyer books. They are always full of humor and adventure and I would love to get my hands on a copy of Stealing the Preacher!

  36. Cindi Altman says:

    Very nice interview. Ü
    The book sounds like one that I’ll enjoy.

  37. Erin Reed says:

    I loved Short Straw Bride. I have been an avid reader for years and only dream of adding my own stories to the world. Your story gives me hope!!

  38. Merry says:

    Great interview. Karen is a new author to me and I would love to read this book. Sounds fun!

  39. I loved getting to know Karen Witemeyer through this wonderful interview. I can’t wait to read Stealing the Preacher!

  40. Looking forward to reading this book. Love the cover!!!

  41. Andrea Williams says:

    This book is already on my list from other reviews. Would love to win! 😉

  42. Sarah Fox says:

    I’m yet to remember reading any of Karen Witemeyer’s books; However, I look forward to being introduced to them. I enjoyed learning more about the author, Karen Witemeyer and her writing journey.

  43. Kathy Jacob says:

    I love being introduced to authors I haven’t yet read. This book sounds interesting.

  44. Claire Anderson says:

    I am what one might consider a literary addict and I have fallen in love with all the characters that Karen has written, and it all started for me with Addie and Gideon. I have not been as enthralled with others as I have been with hers. I’m so excited to read more about the Archers as the next books come out 🙂

  45. ELIZA ELLIOT says:

    I love Karen’s books – so witty and lighthearted…really fun to read and hard to put down once you start. would love to win!

  46. sharon miller says:

    Enjoyed your interview. Noticed it took 7 years for your first book to be published! It seems to be a long, long road for authors.
    Love to win Stealing the Preacher. sharon, CA

  47. Hello Karen. First let me say I love this cover. Reminds me of the grooms cake topper when my youngest daughter got married. I thought it was so cute and have never saw another one in wedding pictures. Of course we still have it. Thank you Suzanne for having Karen as a gift. Both are great writers.
    GOD bless you both. MAXIE mac262(at)me(dot)com

  48. Joannah Cotta says:

    Please consider me for this book give away. I’m an adventurer through books. I love going back in time and historical places. I also like reading anything Amish and books with faith Christianity in them. The cover of your book is lovely and makes you want to pick up the book. 🙂

  49. Tonja S. says:

    Great interview! I love to read your books, Karen.

  50. Deb Forbes says:

    I have put these books on my TBR list the sound great. I love historical fiction

  51. Great interview! I love reading and reviewing historical romance fiction and interviewing the authors. Hope Karen will consider getting in touch with me.

  52. Barbara Thompson says:

    Great interview!! I love your books. Would love to win this book. Thank you for sharing your God given talent. It brings joy and pleasure to many people. Thank you for entering me in your giveaway.
    Barbara Thompson
    barbmaci61(at)yahoo(dot)com

  53. KayM says:

    I am so intrigued by the storyline of Stealing the Preacher. I would love to win a copy. Thank you for offering an opportunity.

  54. I’m so looking forward to reading this! I loved Short Straw Bride!

  55. Sandi Ansell says:

    I would love to win this book. It’s a great way to “meet” new authors. Thanks for the opportunity. God bless

  56. Dedra says:

    I haven’t read any of her books, but I’m always willing to give a New Book a READ, do you think she’s willing to share?

  57. Mary Dean says:

    My SIL just introduced me to your books. She says you are a wonderful writer. I can’t wait to read your books!

  58. Iris says:

    I’m really curious about your books, I’ve een reading reviews on Goodreads and it sounds very promising 🙂

  59. Amanda T says:

    I’ve been wanting to read this book. Thanks for the chance to win it!

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