Bio:Two-time RITA® Finalist and winner of the coveted HOLT Medallion, CBA bestselling author, Karen Witemeyer, writes historical romance fiction for Bethany House, believing that the world needs more happily-ever-afters. She is an avid cross-stitcher, shower singer, and bakes a mean apple cobbler. Karen makes her home in
with her husband and three
children. Learn more about Karen and her books
Readers, I’m reading this book right now. You’re going to love it. Now welcome, Karen. What are some of the spiritual themes you like to write about?
My spiritual themes tend to be influenced by my own struggles. In my newest release, Short-Straw Bride, my hero and his brothers have isolated themselves from the rest of their community. This originated from necessity since they were orphaned as young boys and had to fight to stay together and protect their land. But when the need for isolation passed, their habits had become so ingrained that the Archer brothers failed to reintegrate. Until Meredith Hayes breaches their solitude.
I tend to be introverted and love to hide myself away. However, the Bible calls us to live a life of community, of hospitality, of ministering to our neighbors and carrying each other's burdens. I can't do this if I barricade myself away. By tackling this spiritual theme in my novel, I was forced to face it myself. I tend to step on my own toes most of all when I write.
What other books of yours are coming out soon?
I only write one book a year, so Short-Straw Bride is the only one arriving in 2012. However, I recently learned that my 2011 release, To Win Her Heart, won the 2012 HOLT Medallion for Best Long Inspirational Romance, so I guess I'll brag on that one a bit. It is also a finalist for the RITA and the National Reader's Choice Award. Those results will be announced at the end of July at the RWA national conference.
Those awards are wonderful. My 2011 release recently won the Selah award for historical fiction. If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person (not a family member of yours), who would it be and why?
Now, I just confessed to being an introvert, and now you want me to meet up with a complete stranger? Ha! I guess I need to keep working on that hospitality thing. I'm going to pick Josh Groban. I love his voice, and if I could somehow convince him to let me sing a duet with him (no audience, of course), I think I would float around in a delighted haze for weeks.
What historical person would you like to meet (besides Jesus) and why?
Elizabeth Blackwell. I remember reading a book about the first woman doctor when I was in 5th grade, and it made a huge impact on me. Plus, I would love to ask her a ton of questions about medical treatment in the 1800s for research purposes. I'm writing a scene right now where my hero has to remove a bullet from another character, and having her input would be a tremendous help.
How can you encourage authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
Publishing with a traditional house can be a difficult journey that requires perseverance and tough skin. Rejections are a big part of it. I wrote for 6 years before signing a contract. And that contract came after the same publisher rejected my first manuscript. Thankfully, they saw enough potential in me that they asked me to submit again. Even after publication, rejection is still part of the game. The last time I was up for a new contract, my publisher rejected 2 out of 3 of the story ideas I proposed. I had to go back to the drawing board and start again.
Do your best to learn and master the craft of writing, read extensively in your genre, study the market, find critique partners or freelance editors to help you discover problem areas, enter contests and listen to the feedback you receive, attend workshops and conferences to meet and network with industry professionals, but most of all, just keep writing and submitting.
Tell us about the featured book.
Here's the official blurb:No one steps on Archer land. Not if they value their life. But when Meredith Hayes overhears a lethal plot to burn the Archer brothers off their ranch, a twelve-year-old debt compels her to take the risk.
Fourteen years of constant vigilance hardens a man. Yet when Travis Archer confronts a female trespasser with the same vivid blue eyes as the courageous young girl he once aided, he can't bring himself to send her away. And when an act of sacrifice leaves her injured and her reputation in shreds, gratitude and guilt send him riding to her rescue once again.
Four brothers. Four straws. One bride. Despite the fact that Travis is no longer the gallant youth Meredith once dreamed about, she determines to stand by his side against the enemy that threatens them both. But will love ever be hers? Or will Travis always see her merely as a short-straw bride?
Please give us the first page of the book.
Ten-year-old Meredith Hayes balled her hands into fists as she faced her tormentor.
"Hiram Ellis! Give me back my lunch bucket this instant!"
"Oh, I'm sorry, Meri. Did you want this?" His voice dripped sarcasm as he dangled the small pail in front of her.
She lunged for it, but her hands met only air as the older boy snatched it away then tossed it over her head to his snickering brother. Meredith ricocheted between the two, never quite fast enough to get more than a finger on the tin.
Why was she always the one to get picked on? Meredith stomped her foot in frustration. She thought she'd gotten enough of a lead today after school, but Hiram must have been watching for her. He'd had it out for her ever since her family moved to the area last spring. Probably because the land they bought used to belong to his best friend's family.
"Meri, Meri, quite contrary," Hiram sang in a ridiculously high pitched voice, skipping in a circle around her and swinging the lunch bucket back and forth. A group of girls came around the bend and stopped to giggle behind their hands. Meredith asked for help, but they just stood there smirking and whispering behind their schoolbooks. Even Anna Leigh, her desk mate, and the one girl Meredith thought a friend. Angry tears pooled in her eyes, but Meredith blinked them away. She'd not let Hiram win.
You can read the entire first two chapters on my website, here: http://www.karenwitemeyer.com/excerpt_straw.html
How can readers find you on the Internet?
I love to connect with readers. The best place to do that is through my website: http://www.karenwitemeyer.com Here you can learn about my books, find deleted scenes, background on my characters, and a chance to enter my monthly giveaways.
I'm also fairly active on FaceBook. I'd love for you to send me a friend request.
Thank you, Karen, for visiting with us today.
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Short-Straw Bride - paperback
Short-Straw Bride - Kindle
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