Monday, April 25, 2011

TO WIN HER HEART - Karen Witemeyer - Free Book

Author Bio:

Karen Witemeyer 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.

God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?

It still amazes to me to think that I am a multipublished author. I thought the newness would wear off, but the thrill returns each time a new book releases. I recently signed another three-book deal with Bethany House, so I will continue to write historical romance for them—one book a year, which is a pace that suits me since I work full-time and have three school-aged kids at home. My dream is to continue writing my passion, historical romance, for Bethany. They have been a wonderful publisher to partner with, and I couldn't be happier.

Tell us a little about your family.

I met my husband, Wes, in college. He's the Texan that roped this California gal into leaving the beaches and mountains behind for a rugged landscape of scrubby mesquite and glorious sunsets. He's a wonderful supporter of my work and word-of-mouth marketer even though he's never read more than the dedication page of my first novel. He's a sci-fi guy and has no interest in romance novels, but I love him anyway.
We have three children, a daughter and two sons. My daughter is twelve and is just old enough to enjoy reading Mom's books. She is an avid reader, and I manage to sneak a few classics like the Anne of Green Gables and Black Stallion series into her steady literary diet of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson's Olympians. My sons are ten and eight and are video gamers like their daddy. They enjoy soccer and baseball and anything Star Wars.

Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?

My writing has only reinforced my reading habits. I write historical romance because that is all I ever read. It is my favorite genre, and even before I started writing, it dominated my TBR pile. I love escaping into the past with a strong hero and a feisty heroine. The only thing that has truly changed about my reading habits is that now I will occasionally pick up a book on writing craft and add that to the mix. My pleasure reading, though, has remained the same.

What are you working on right now?

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.

What outside interests do you have?

I love to cross-stitch. If you look around my house, you will find many pieces adorning the walls. It's relaxing and a fun, creative outlet that makes me feel artistic even if all I'm doing, really, is following a pattern. Watching the picture take shape is much like watching a novel come together, and I get the same sense of satisfaction when the piece is completed.
I also enjoy singing with my church, teaching ladies Bible class, and watching my kids in whatever sport or musical pursuit they are engaged in. Sitting back and getting lost in a good movie is also a favorite way to unwind.

I love most all kinds of handcrafts. My daughter did me a cross-stitch angel for Christmas one year. I tried my hand at making a different style one. Hers is even, mine not so much. I don't like to do all the counting while I work. How do you choose your settings for each book?

So far, all of my settings have been in Texas. Since I live here and have access to much first-hand research, it works well for me. Also, Texas is such a large place, there are a wide variety of landscapes to choose from. Though, I must admit the eastern and southern sections are prettier, so I tend to veer in that direction even though I live in what is considered West Texas. 

The characters and plot really come into play when I choose a setting. For example, in Head in the Clouds, I needed a sheep ranch for my Englishman hero, so I chose a fictional ranch in Menard County, in the heart of sheep country.

In my current release, 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 María 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. This location was relatively close to Huntsville, where my hero had been incarcerated, so that fit as well. 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.

If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?

Abraham Lincoln. The man was such a humble, godly leader. I would love to benefit from his wisdom. 

What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?

I can't seem to settle on any one thing. Somehow, I think that if I had known information about the outcome of my journey or been aware of certain skills that would need to be gained, I wouldn't have continued along the writing path. I would have either grown lazy and self-assured that all would work out well, or I would have agonized over how little I truly understood about fiction writing and marketing, growing disheartened until I gave up. I think the Lord knows just how much to reveal to us to keep us going—not too much, not too little.

What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?

It seems that the underlying themes of my stories always consist of lessons I need to learn. In my current project, my hero and his brothers have secluded themselves from the rest of the world on their ranch. This was born out of necessity for their protection when they were too young to stand on their own among ruthless men. However, it became a habit that now keeps them from ministering to their neighbors or others in need. When the heroine comes on the scene, the Lord compels her to help these men get out of their rut and become more hospitable.
Hospitality is something I struggle with. I am comfortable with my family and close friends, and feel little need to reach farther than that immediate sphere. I'm ashamed to admit that I don't know more than one or two families who live on my street. I rationalize about how little time I have and how busy I am, and my inward focus becomes habit. We are called to be Good Samaritans, to welcome strangers and entertain angels. I might not live in physical seclusion, but I struggle with involving myself in the lives of others. As I write this story, I feel the Lord tugging on my sleeve and reminding me to "look not only to [my] own interests, but also to the interests of others."

What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?

Master the fiction-writing craft.

Writes stories you would love to read.
Have a humble, teachable spirit and follow where God leads.

Tell us about the featured book.

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?

Since I love your writing, I know I want to read this book. Please give us the first page of the book.

Chapter One
Spencer, Texas - 1887
After two years, they finally cut him loose. Gave him a new suit of clothes and everything. Funny, though. The shame of the convict stripes still clung to him, as if they had been tattooed horizontally across his skin. Levi Grant rolled his shoulders under the slightly-too-tight coat he'd been issued and wondered how long it would take to get re-accustomed to civilian clothes.
Or to get the smell of turnips out of them.
A farmer had let him ride in his wagon bed for the last ten miles or so of his journey from Huntsville. Levi's feet had welcomed the respite, but now, standing outside the parson's small, box-shaped house, second thoughts needled him.
His future hinged on making a good impression. The Bible and recommendation letter in his knapsack fueled his hope, but his past dragged behind him like the lead ball that used to be shackled to his leg. The Father might have forgiven his prodigal ways, but the world was full of parabolic older brothers who would either resent the second chance he'd been given or condemn him outright. Not that he would blame them. Christian charity could only be expected to stretch so far.
A gust of cool, February wind jarred him from his thoughts and pushed him forward. The Lord had led him here. The least Levi could do was knock on the door.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

I'd love to have you visit me at my website: 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.

Thank you, Karen, for the interesting visit with you.

Readers, here's a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 6 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


EJ said...

So enjoyed a Tailor-Made Bride & look forward to reading more of Karen's books. I so agree that our lives are so busy it's so much easier to stay in our own little circle, instead of reaching out to others as God commands us to do.

Elaine in Iowa

Karen Witemeyer said...

Hi, EJ. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who struggles with reaching out.

Thank you for your kind comments on Tailor-Made. If you're interested, there is an epilogue to Hannah and Jericho's story posted on my website at karenwitemeyer[dot]com. You can find the link on the books page.

Have a great week!

Sylvia said...

Oh, I've been looking forward to reading this book after enjoying her other two. It will be fun reading about a librarian since I love books!

I'm from NC.


Karen Witemeyer said...

Hi, Sylvia. My last two heroines have been book lovers, and this time I even got the hero in on the action. LOL. Book lovers unite!

Ginger said...

I would enjoy reading this book. Please enter me.

Ginger in AL

Lorna Faith said...

Karen your books are so have a great storytelling gift:) Thanks for sharing your heart...I needed the reminder!

Would love to be entered for a chance to win your new book:)

Lorna from Alberta
lornafaith at gmail dot com

Karen Witemeyer said...

Hi, Ginger. Thanks for stopping by today.

Lorna - I so appreciate your comment. Thanks for sharing your heart with me as well.

windycindy said...

I like the name Spencer, Texas!
Our oldest son's name is Spencer...
I would enjoy reading her historical
romance and could use an uplifting story!
Many thanks, Cindi

Jackie S. said...

I really enjoyed Tailor Made Bride so would love to read this book by Karen! I live in GA.

karenk said...

i loved karen's first novel...thanks for the chance to read her latest one ;)

karenk...from PA
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

rbooth43 said...

I checked out Karen Witemeyer's website and joined her newsletter. I also loved her telling about Kate Chu's Pressed Flower Art Gallery. Beautiful!
I would love to read TO WIN HER HEART!
Rebecca in NC

Karen Witemeyer said...

WindyCindy - I love the name Spencer! Of course I think I fell in love with it because of the old TV show Spenser for Hire. Loved that show.

Jackie and Karen - So glad you enjoyed Tailor-Made Bride! Hopefully you'll have fun with Levi and Eden in this one, too. Thanks for stopping by.

Karen Witemeyer said...

Rebecca - Thanks so much for signing up for my newsletter! Aren't those pressed flowers gorgeous?! I fell in love with those pictures. My heroine, Eden, in To Win Her Heart presses flowers as a hobby and researching this Victorian pastime was a lot of fun.

Michelle said...

I absolutely loved A Tailor Made Bride, and Head in the Clouds was wonderful too. I've had To Win Her Heart on my wishlist for months. Would love to win it.

mchapman (at) windstream (dot) net


Pam K. said...

I lived in Texas for a few years so enjoy reading books set in that state. The beginning excerpt left me wanting to read more so I'd love to win.


Ann Lee Miller said...

I agree, the world needs more happily-ever-afters. :)
Ann Lee Miller
Gilbert AZ

Linda Kish said...

This sounds like an interesting story.


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Karen Witemeyer said...

Michelle - So glad you've enjoyed my other books. Levi and Eden would love to get to know you, too, I'm sure. :-)

Karen Witemeyer said...

Michelle - So glad you enjoyed my previous books! I'm sure Levi and Eden would love to get to know you, too. :-)

Karen Witemeyer said...

Hi, Pam. I am a native Californian, but I moved to Texas to go to school when I was 18 and never left.

Ann and Linda - I love happily ever afters. You're both in the drawing. Best of luck!

scottsgal said...

I'm from Illinois and I'd sit down with Abraham Lincoln as well.

msboatgal at

Countrysunset said...

I am so enjoying this genre of books. They are becoming my fast favorites!! I am out in "God's country" as they call it here in part of the Ohio valley. Thank you for the chance to be in this giveaway.

countrysunset40 at aol dot com

Ausjenny said...

Dont enter me I have just ordered this book and its winging its way to Australia.
cant wait to read this book

Judy Cooper said...

Even tho I live in Louisiana, I love books set in Texas and really enjoy historical novels. Karen Witemeyer is the best of storytellers. Thanks for the chance to win the book.
Judy C. in Louisiana.

Brenda said...

Would love to win this book. I like to read books based in this era.

I'm an email subscriber and a follower gfc. dancealert

Brenda R from Michigan

dancealert at aol dot com

Patsy said...

Oh, I believe in happy ever afters too. Really like reading when a book ends that way. This book sounds really good. Would enjoy reading it.
From the Bible Belt


Robyn said...

Sounds like another fantastic book. I enjoy seeing how others deal with questionable pasts when confronted with them.

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

Anne Payne said...

I just love Karen's books! She draws you right in to the story and it's wonderful. Thank you for the giveaway. Look forward to reading this one.

Anne, rural NC

Karen Witemeyer said...

Thanks so much for all the wonderful comments! You all are the best.

scottsgal - You and me with Abe all the way. What a fun evening that would be!

AusJenny - Thanks so much for ordering the book. I hope LEvi and Eden make the crossing down under in record time for you. :-)

Karen Witemeyer said...

countrysunset - I have family in the Dayton area. Ohio is definitely beautiful country.

Judy - Thanks you so much for the lovely compliment. I wish you luck in the drawing!

Brenda - Thanks for dropping by. You're definitely entered!

Karen Witemeyer said...

Patsy - My Bible Belt sister! I can't live without my happy endings. I'm addicted. Glad I'm not the only one!

Robyn - We all have things from our pasts we'd like to hide, don't we? Having compassion for someone else's past misdeeds can be tricky. I pray we all can find that forgiveness and offer it freely.

Karen Witemeyer said...

Anne - You are such a sweetie! Thanks for the kind comments about my books. I know Levi and Eden will adore you! :-)

kylady717 said...

Please enter me for this book, just read the first page and it sounds great.....haven't read any books by Karen Witemeyer yet, but love to read this one.. Thanks

Mona G./Ohio

Karen Witemeyer said...

Hi, Mona. Thanks for stopping by. If you'd like to read the entire first chapter, stop by my website and follow the link on the books page. Enjoy!

kristen said...

oh!! What a great premise. I love Levi already, and look forward to walking the journey with Eden.
Kristen from WA

Courtney said...

I would LOVE to win "To Win Her Heart". I have read all of Karen's books, think they are just great! My favorite is a Tailor-Made Bride. I am now going to have to go check out the epilogue you mentioned!
Thank you for a chance to win this!


Anonymous said...

Wow! I really want to win this book....sounds like a great book. Thanks

Angela C./Ohio

cheryl c said...

This sounds like a lovely story of forgiveness and second chances!

Cheryl in GA

Karen Witemeyer said...

Kristen - I have to admit to falling a little in love with Levi while writing his story. That always seems to happen with my and my heroes. One of my favorite author perks! LOL

Courtney - Hope you enjoy the epilogue. I can never get enough of the happily ever afters!

Angela and Cheryl - So glad you stopped by today. You're in the drawing!

Abigail said...

Enter me in the contest.
Abigail Richmond
Blanch, N.C.

Anonymous said...

Would love to win this book. Please enter my name in the contest. Thanks

Shirley T./Illinois

Wendy said...

I can't wait to read this book. It sounds like my cup of tea!!!
wendy in buffalo, mn

Anonymous said...

I love the cover of this book and I would love to win a copy.

AC from KY

diana said...

I recently did a review for Karen on her book Head in the Clouds, I was so impressed with her writing. Would love to read this one as well!

Diana from SC.

Karen Witemeyer said...

Hi, Diana. I'm so glad you enjoyed Head in the Clouds. I hope you enjoy To Win Her Heart equally well. Blessings!

Anonymous said...

I'm Lisa from a small town outside of Tulsa,OK called Catoosa (there is also a Catoosa, Georgia). CAtoosa means on a hill. We are also known for our large Blue Whale on Route 66. I loved Tailor Made Bride and Head in the Clouds. To Win Her Heart is on my wishlist; so I would really really like to win it. Even if your husband doesn't read Westerns, me and my friends at church are fans. So please keep writing.
Lisa (

Sue said...

I have read Karen's precious two books and they were fantastic. I would love to be entered to win this one. Thank you.

I live in Oregon

Cynthia said...

I totally enjoy Karen's books.
She is a wonderful addition to
the Christian fiction scene.
-Lovely from upstate NY

amber said...

this looks good!! please enter me!!

afren07[at]gmail[dot]com from TN

Julia said...

I would really like to read this one. I have heard rave reviews even before its release.

I live in upstate NY.

peachykath said...

This sounds like a really good read. I love reading books by authors that are new to me. Please enter me in the drawing for this book.
Thank you


Katherine from Northern California

Charity said...

Please enter me! I LOVE Karen's books and have this one on my wish list:) Thanks from IL!

Sarah said...

I have read A Tailor-Made Bride and am now in the middle of Head in the Clouds! It is great so far! I bet this one will be too!

Sarah from Ohio

Karen said...

You gals have made my morning! Thank you so much for all the kind comments. I wish you all well in the drawing!

Bakersdozen said...

I just purchased "A Tailor-Made Bride" two days ago because I read such great reviews regarding it and I would love to read this one. Thanks so much for the interview and the chance to win. I live in S. California.

Maureen said...

I love your books...don't know when you find the time to cross stitch? Keep on to get lost in them!

Karen Witemeyer said...

Baker's Dozen - Thanks for giving Tailor-Made Bride a try. I hope you enjoy Hannah and Jericho. They sure lead each other on a merry chase.

Maureen - Thanks for your kind comments. As for cross-stitching, it comes and goes in spurts. Sometimes a project will collect dust for months before I pick it up again. Sometimes I can't seem to put it down. Usually, I cross stitch while I watch TV with my hubby. On the rare occasion when we find time to sit still for a while.


Kym said...

Your town in texas sounds great, I am really looking forward to reading your new book :)

All the best with its release !

Kym in Rhode Island


Merry said...

I am loving Karen's books! Please add me for To Win Her Heart. Thanks!
Merry in TX

Brenda Maris said...

My names Brenda and I love your books so much. Head in the clouds is one of my favorite books ever. Whenever I read your books I love how whenever they do something, they always look to God before there decision. And I remember that I need to do that in my own life. I really want to read this book.
I'm from California