I am so stinking excited! You won't believe who is on the Diamond Mine this week. Squee! Yes, I have Karen Witemeyer and the whole mine yards! Wow, am I on cloud mine or what?! (Warning: more eye-rolling puns ahead.) No, seriously, she's one of my fav authors. Yep, folks, I'm writing shotgun with one of today's best Christian authors! Karen was named #1 Reader's Favorite Christian Romance Author by Family Fiction Magazine not to mention she's a two-time ACFW Carol Award winner. Read on, my friends, like little Read Riding Hood, ready for adventure. (*wink*) I think you will love her too! Let's begin. Puns upon a time. . .
PT: Tell us, Karen, how you began writing and how you chose your genre.
KW: I'm not one of those authors who always knew she wanted to write. I was just a kid who grew up loving to read. And daydream. I never actually wrote any of my daydreams down. They just lived in my head. As I went through college, professors would complement my academic writing, planting seeds of an idea that maybe someday I'd try my hand at writing. God nurtured those seeds over the next several years where I never did more than jot a few ideas down in a journal. I completed two degrees and had three babies before God grabbed that dream out of the soil of my heart and forced it into the sunlight. My husband lost his job due to down-sizing while I was a stay-at-home mom with three preschoolers. I naively thought I could start writing and contribute to the family income while staying home with my kids, not realizing it would take six years to sign my first book contract. Six months later, my husband and I were both working full-time, but by then the writing bug had bitten, and I knew this was a path God wanted me to pursue. So I did. Genre was never even a question. Historical romance all the way. It was all I ever read and the only genre I wanted to write. From Little House on the Prairie to Anne of Green Gables to Christy, my heart has always belonged to historicals.
PT: Do you write on a laptop or PC? Office or random spots (and what ARE those random spots, J)?
KW: I have learned to be flexible with when and where I write, thanks to the day job and family. I'll use any computer readily available. At home, I use a laptop in its most literal form—in my lap while I sit on my bed with my back propped up against the headboard. Not the best for my posture, but the extra cushion provided by my memory foam mattress makes those long weekend writing binges possible.
PT: What’s on your screen-eyed monster right now? A new book? Editing? Marketing? Or all of the above? Or other?
KW: This interview question. Ha! Actually, I just turned in a manuscript on August 15 for the first book in a new series. The title is At Love's Command and it features an ex-cavalry officer and a female doctor. Lots of action and adventure in this one, with plenty of romance thrown in, of course. Since turning that in, I've been putting together two workshops that I will be teaching at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in September. One focuses on adding humor to your writing (the fabulous Regina Jennings is my co-presenter), and the other focuses more on the spiritual side—overcoming the darts Satan likes to throw at authors such as doubt, discouragement, pride, envy, greed, laziness, and burnout. Yes, I battle all of those at different stages of the writing journey. As for the next writing project, I'm about to embark on a new novella called The Kissing Tree Inn. It will be part of a collection that spans about 150 years centered around a majestic tree similar to the Century Tree at Texas A&M.
PT: Favorite color, food, and hobby/activity?
KW: Favorite color – Purple.
Favorite Food – Dove dark chocolate.
Favorite hobby – Counted cross-stitching.
PT: Introvert/Extrovert and how does that feed into your writing?
KW: I'm a big-time introvert. I can turn on the extrovert powers when necessary (teaching at conferences, interacting with readers, writing retreats, etc.), but my natural tendency is to hide myself away. This is helpful for a writer since it's hard to be productive with a lot of people around, but it can cause serious challenges with other aspects of the business, such as marketing and networking. In my novels, you'll notice I lean toward small towns or even remote ranches. I never thought about that until now, but that's probably a reflection of my introverted nature. Introverted does not equal timid, however. At least not in my imagination. All my heroines are feisty and brave and rarely afraid to share their opinions. Traits I like to imagine are in my own repertoire, at least to a modest extent.
PT: Favorite Bible verse and why.
KW: This is a hard one. There are so many. There is one that I made into a mouse pad that stays by my computer. Thessalonians 2:4. This verse speaks to my writing mission. God has entrusted me with a message, one conveyed through story. It is His message, not my own, and I must constantly test my heart to ensure that the glory goes to Him instead of trying to keep it for myself. And as much as we write to entertain our readers and please our publishers, ultimately, we write not to please people, but to please God.
PT: Will there be a third book in the Patchwork Family Series? Perhaps Rosalind is going places? Hmmm?
KW: You know I can't just leave poor Rosalind hanging without giving her a happy ending.J She will be featured in the novella, More Than a Pretty Face in the upcoming Harvey House Brides collection entitled Serving Up Love. The collection, featuring additional stories from Tracie Peterson, Regina Jennings, and Jen Turano, releases this November.
PT: Give five things about Karen Witemeyer that has nothing to do with writing. (This is my favorite equestrian, neigh!)
1. I was a band nerd through junior high, high school, and my freshman year of college until I met my future husband and switched to choir. Music is in my blood!
2. I love hiking to waterfalls.
3. My in-laws live right next door, and I LOVE it. J
4. I adore playing board games, especially when I win (my youngest had to get his competitive streak from somewhere).5. I love cracking "punny" jokes with my oldest son. If my husband and youngest son roll their eyes, we know we've accomplished our mission!