Thursday, June 7, 2012

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Karen Witemeyer


I'm SO excited to host the amazing Karen Witemeyer on The Writer's Alley today! She is quickly becoming one of my favorite Historical Romance authors. I've read every one of her novels, and am tapping my foot, waiting for the next one to come out. A mix of humor and romance and fantastic characters, you just can't go wrong with that!

I just finished her most recent novel, Short-Straw Bride, and yeah, she didn't disappoint!

A quick synopsis of this fabulous book:


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?


Without further adieu or gushing by me... my interview with Karen!
 
Krista: If you were secluded on a modern day Archer ranch… what would you miss most about the “outside” world? Or would you miss nothing and bask in the secluded-ness and leave your manuscript in a little mailbox for your editor to pick up twice a year?

Karen: I'd definitely miss take-out. Unless I was secluded with my own private chef. That would be heaven. I'd have to have Internet access and my family, of course, but I could live very happily in such seclusion. I think that was one of the reasons I related to Travis so well. I'm introverted enough to love hunkering down by myself with only family around me. My husband is more social. So, just as Meredith pushed Travis out of his comfort zone and encouraged him to start trusting others, my husband pushes me to interact with others when I'd rather just ignore the outside world.

Krista: We all need cheerleaders on our writing journey, those who swear that we hung the moon and that we are the best writers on the planet and think, “Move over Karen Kingsbury and Francine Rivers, here comes Karen Witemeyer!!!”  So… who are your MVC (Most valuable cheerleaders)?

Karen: My mother-in-law is one of my most vocal cheerleaders. I should probably hire her as my marketing manager. She carries bookmarks in her purse to hand out to people she meets and is never shy about talking up my books to random strangers or acquaintances.

My husband gets the award for most supportive. I tease him because he's never actually read one of my books, but then romance is not his genre of choice. Throw in some Star Wars characters or some dwarves and elves and he might consider it, otherwise—no, thanks. But the fact that he hasn't read them doesn't keep him from talking them up. He proudly displays all my books in his office at work and has hooked many of his female co-workers on them. He even talks them up to his online gaming friends. 

And guess what? Computer nerds have mothers and wives who actually like reading books! He's hand-sold several that way. But most of all, he believes in me. Even through those years of being unpublished, he never once suggested I not spend money on a writer's conference. He believed in my dream and supported me all the way. Having that emotional support means more to me than any award or sales number.

Krista: Since as we all know, Twitter has been taken over by people who actually post “relevant” content (so overrated) instead of what it was meant for, a moment-by-moment synopsis of the riveting details of our every day lives (you know, like hey, just brushed my teeth, love me some Colgate!), I like to include a true Twitter-worthy question in my Interviews, so here it is:
What were you doing exactly 20 minutes before reading this interview question? Must describe in 140 characters or less… of course!

Karen: Must…escape…inbox vortex! It's sucking me in…

Krista: What is your most-often given piece of writing advice for newbie writers?

Karen: RUE - Resist the urge to explain. I constantly remind myself of this one. So many times I want to make sure the reader understands my intent, and I'm tempted to explain the meaning of what just happened in the story. However, the rule of RUE has helped me edit out those unnecessary words. Trusting the reader to understand is a leap of faith. Yet we have smart, savvy readers. They don't need the message spoon fed to them. A few might miss my subtle imagery, but others will see it and appreciate it. A heavy hand just comes off as preachy. A joke explained is no longer funny. And dialog rehashed is boring. If I RUE as I write, I won't rue my wordiness later.

Krista: If God said, “Karen, you’re going to write ONE MORE BOOK, then you’re done writing for publication forever,” How would it change how/what you write, or would it?

Karen: Wow. Tough question. I'm not one of those writers who has dozens of ideas constantly running through my head. I usually only have one or two ideas percolating for my next project. Because of that, I rely heavily on the direction God provides for each manuscript. I would do the same, even knowing it would be my last book. I would continue to pray over my writing daily and ask God to shape the story into what he wants it to be. Knowing me, though, I'd probably stress a lot more, figuring that if it flopped, I'd never have the chance to redeem myself.

KRISTA’S POP PLOT BRAINSTORMING QUIZ: Here are the rules: I give you three things and a genre. You think of a quick story plot in that genre that features each of the three things integral in the plot, and give it to us in back-cover-copy synopsis form. Let’s just see how creative Karen can be…. *evil sinister Krista-laugh* 

Guitar Hero for the WII
A half-empty Pepsi can
A lost tooth from an 11-year-old-girl

Genre: Hen-lit

GO! 

Karen: Desperate to get her 27 year-old engineer son to finally move out of her basement and settle down with a nice young woman and start producing grandchildren, Eloise Stanton plots his romantic downfall.

Step one – accidentally drop a bowling ball on Mark's Wii to break him from his Saturday addiction to Guitar Hero.

Step two – dig out one of her daughter Betsy's old molars from her collection of baby teeth, the big one she lost when she was 11, and smear it with blood. A finger prick should suffice.

Step three – lie in wait for Mark in the kitchen with some peanut brittle and the bloody tooth. Holler until he comes running then beg him to take her to see the lovely dental hygienist down the street. Pour half a can of Pepsi on him if he starts looking at her mouth too closely.

Step four – arrive promptly at 4:00 p.m. when Jessica jams out to Guitar Hero in her living room and let nature take its course.

Krista: THANKS Karen!!! That was amazing!!! Well done!

Anyone have any questions for Karen today??

And how about answering one of your own? If God told YOU you'd only publish ONE BOOK... and it was the one you'd write next, would it change what/how you write, and how?


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 Abilene, TX with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at: www.karenwitemeyer.com.   

10 comments:

Sarah Forgrave said...

Oh my word, Krista, your interviews are the best! So fun! And Karen, I want to see that hen-lit book in print someday. :) Great getting to know you better!

Mary Vee said...

Krista,
Fun post. Always love your interviews.
Karen, welcome to the Alley. Thanks for letting us get to know you:)

Karen Witemeyer said...

I'm excited to be here at the Alley. And I have to admit that Krista's questions were the most original I'd ever answered. Made them tough but so much fun!

Sarah - LOL. I'll have to run that synopsis by my editor. :-)

Krista Phillips said...

I always have a goal to ask questions that someone has never been asked before:-) Otherwise readers are just reading the same interview over and over;-) I think I succeeded, no?

:-)

OH! And I also updated the post just a wee bit... I'd meant to yesterday before it post and yesterday kinda went wacky on me.

Anywho, I added a question for blog readers to answer. If Karen has to work hard to answer a question, you all should too:-)

Sherrinda said...

I keep hearing about this book and it is all good! And the cover!!! LOVE it!

And may I say, the answer to Krista's outrageous question was BRILLIANT! So creative. :)

Now...I have no idea what I would write if I only had one book to write. I feel like I already did write it. (my first)

Casey said...

I LOVED it! So much fun and a great end to an exhausting day or edits. But good edits. ;-)

Karen, I have a question...it seems you kind of burst onto the literary scene. Were you a contest winner/finalist before selling or rather acquiring your agent?

Thanks for being on the Alley!

Krista Phillips said...

Casey, that is a GREAT question!

Krista Phillips said...

For the record, if I only had one book left to write, I'd be Annabelle's story.

Susan Anne Mason said...

Had to pop in and say I LOVED this book. I've read all Karen's so far and this I think is my favourite.

So get on out there and buy it!

(I didn't get paid a dime to say that either!)

Cheers,
Sue

Eesti said...

I am huge fan of Ms. Witemeyer's other novels, and my love of her historical fiction continues with this one. The characters are so likable from Meredith & Cassie, to all of the Archer brothers. I was sad to turn the last page. I hope this will be the first of a 4-part series (one book for each of the brothers). Each brother is so wonderfully unique and and need his own story. The plot is somewhat predictable, but absolutely wonderful. I smiled and laughed out loud throughout this book.