Tag Archive | Karen Witemeyer

Inquiring Minds Want to Know (Part 1 of 4)

I asked some of my Facebook friends to ask me questions . . . so the next few weeks, I’ll be answering!

Why romance fiction? How long have you had the passion to write?

I’ve always enjoyed sweet romances. In my late teens early twenties, I was enamored of Georgette Heyer and Marion Chesney’s Regency romances. Clean stories without the explicit sex. I guess you could say I’m a romantic at heart and I long for that. My characters get the love and romance I don’t.

What made you choose writing? What keeps you writing? What motivates you?

I believe God led me to writing by telling me in a dream to do write for National Novel Writing Month (www.nanowrimo.org) in 2009. I think I had always been afraid to try and once I started the dam broke and I found out how much I love the process of writing a story. I haven’t stopped. Once the characters start forming in my mind and that first scene or general story concept and I start writing, I can’t stop until I’ve come to the end. It becomes like an obsession for me.

Which writers inspire you?

I admire the wit and whimsy of writers like Jen Turano, Mary Conneley and Karen Witemeyer, Brooke Williams, Sandi Bricker and Jan Thomson. I love the characters that Dee Henderson, DiAnne Mills, Ronie Kendig paint in her writing. Combined with suspense it is amazing. Becky Wade, Melissa Tagg, Loree Lough, and Lisa Lickel . . . I wish I could write like all of them, but I’ve had to learn that I have my style and I need to be okay with that.

How is fiction writing a reflection of your Christianity?

I love to encourage others. Jesus told parables and there is power in telling stories that can show the process of sanctification which I hope my characters will go through. I also believe we need to grow emotionally as well as spiritually. I hope I encourage others to persevere in their own journeys, spiritually, emotionally and relationally. And hopefully the reader will see biblical truths in a new light based on the journey of the characters to motivate them to persevere through the trials that come their way.

Pothole road damageWhat inspired the idea for this story?

For Pesto & Potholes I actually started with the concept of the potholes based on something I learned in my undergraduate studies. The idea that healing—whether emotional or physical—can be a rocky journey out of the pit and not necessarily an upward smooth trajectory. I labeled it potholes, my prof was a little surprised but to me, it stuck.

For the entire Orchard Hill series, for which Pesto & Potholes is the first book, I wanted to explore one of the things I didn’t understand early in my faith journey was why the church was so important. Especially when so many young adults walk away. Beyond worship and teaching, I realized it was about the relationships. While I agree that the theology of origins and understanding how science supports Scripture is important, but I believe the disenfranchisement of younger adults is deeper than that.

Peter Scazzero wrote a book called Emotionally Healthy Spirituality and he posits that when we come to Christ we are born into a new family and need to learn the new rules. Not the “do’s and don’t’s” but how to relate to others in a way that honors God and His other image-bearers. Many times the way we’ve been raised has not been as healthy as the design God has for us in relationships. We are not mature if we only grow spiritually and not emotionally. So . . . I hope that my stories show the value and importance of the new “family” how valuable those relationships are for us to grow up in Christ as well as cope with the ups and downs of life.

More questions will be answered in the weeks to come. If you have some, please write them in the comments below!

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Full Steam Ahead (Book Review)

full steam aheadI’ve enjoyed Karen Witemeyer’s books and when the opportunity came to read a galley for a review, I jumped at the chance. Full Steam Ahead is a slightly different turn for Karen’s historical romances, but one that is enjoyable none-the-less.

The story’s heroine is Nicole Renard, the only child of the owner of Renard Shipping. She’s been raised on shipping and fully capable, in her eyes, of being the heir her father needs for his business. If only he saw it that way.

A dagger that has been in the family for centuries has the superstition that the holder of it prospers. Renard’s competitors, the Jenkins, are eager to take possession and that desire has bordered now on an evil obsession that threatens the health and well-being of Nicole’s already sick father, and the safety of her and her mother.

In an attempt to save her family and the business, Nicole agrees to travel to find an acceptable heir to run the business. She will have the choice of the business associates of her father for the role. Unbeknownst to him, she secrets the dagger with her. To avoid capture by the evil Jenkin’s brothers, she takes a detour which deprives her of the majority of her funds. To continue on her journey she needs a job.

Darious Thornton has seen tragic things that have motivated him to pursue safety for steam travel. He desperately needs a secretary and in spite of the distraction of a female, he hires Nicole. Not only can she read his writing, she can correct his errors and he finds his work is moving along faster. Not only that but the delightful young woman who doesn’t fear challenging this crusty bachelor, saves his life. But he learns Nicole is keeping secrets, deadly secrets. He’s determined to protect her.

As the Jenkin’s brothers come searching for her, perhaps he can save her life well. And maybe gain a wife in the bargain. As both lean on God and face their own weakness in their faith and challenge each other to growth, love blooms. Can it overtake the evil? Would the eccentric inventor ever be a person Nicole’s father could accept as an heir? Can she trust her future to God instead of an old useless weapon?

I loved this story and had no trouble finding time to read it. This lacked some of Karen’s whimsy although a bit is there. The romance heats up in a tasteful and delightful way. The faith element is real and not in your face but an honest and authentic expression of the struggles the characters face. If you like western romances, you’ll enjoy this story rooted in serious issues of the time period that plant it solidly in history.

As usual, Bethany House has done a superb job on the cover art as well.

Head in the Clouds (Book Review)

Head in the CloudsI’ve enjoyed several of Karen Witemeyer’s historical romances and when I stumbled across Head in the Clouds, I couldn’t resist.

Adelaid Proctor wears yellow as her dad told her she was his sunshine. But dad is gone and all she has left now is a beautiful horse and the ability to teach.  She longs for a home, a family of her own. Through a series of strange events she finds herself in the middle of Texas working for an English aristocrat turned sheep farmer, Gideon Wescott.

Gideon hires Adelaid with some misgivings. She was the only governess who seemed capable of connecting with Isabella, his ward who had become mute at the death of her mother on the voyage over. Gideon’s heart ached to hear the little girl’s laughter and chatter once again, but he had a ranch to run and couldn’t be there for her all the time.

Unfortunately for everyone, Isabella’s uncle has traveled from England to try to gain access to Isabella’s trust tht had already been contested in court. As they found out from Isabella’s mother’s journal, the death of the little girls’ parents were not accidental. Gideon fears for them all, and vows to keep “his girls” safe.

Together they work to keep the little girl safe, fighting terrible odds. Will Adelaid lose it all or gain the happily-ever-after kind of love she reads about in her novels?

This was a delightful story to read and tense at times as the suspense built. I love the pluck that all her female heroine’s have and their willingness to stand against the odds. If you like Karen’s historical romances, you will enjoy this one as well.

Stealing the Preacher (Book Review)

stealing the preacherI have loved Karen Witemeyer’s writing and looked forward to reading Stealing the Preacher. I was not disappointed.

This book is a follow up to Short Straw Bride and looks at Crockett a few years after Travis and Meridith tie the knot. Crockett Archer is now a preacher looking for a church and headed to candidate for one. He is kidnapped from his train to fulfill a birthday wish for an ex-outlaw’s daughter.

Joanna Robbins loves God and has not only mourned the passing of her godly mother, but the departure of the pastor who once shepherded their small flock.  She has taken on the burden of seeing her father come to know the Lord. Can she possibly convince Crockett that his kidnapping was within God’s perfect plan and that the church he is to pastor is right across the field and not in a city further away?

Crockett is a great example of modesty, passion and purity as he takes on the various challenges laid before him and makes a great hero. Joanna is his biggest cheerleader but fearful that no one would love someone like her but falls in love with her father’s new ranch hand who also stirs her heart on Sunday mornings with his powerful preaching. Will  the two finally be able to come together as one with Joanna’s father so opposed to the man and another woman bend on having him for herself?

This book was a great read. If you like lighthearted western romances then this tale of Piney Cove, Texas will be a fun adventure for you. I enjoyed every moment. Thank you again, Karen!  Enjoy this cute trailer: Stealing the Preacher Book Trailer

To Win Her Heart (Book Review)

I’ve become a fan of Karen Witmeyer so when I had a chance to nab another free Kindle download of hers, I jumped. To Win Her Heart didTo Win Her Heart not disappoint.

Now, let’s just be clear. This is fiction. FICTION. Not real, let’s pretend and have some fun doing it. Karen does a good job of pairing two unlikely souls, a wealthy but jilted young woman and a blacksmith with a violent and criminal past. They bond over their love of books, but their budding romance is not without challenges. Between their differences in social background, wealth and secrets, there also lies someone who is out to destroy Levi to eliminate competition for Eden. The town Sherriff turns out to be a bit of a bully.

The coolest part of this story is Levi, along with his less exalted roots and his foray into fighting, landing him in prison, has another strike against him, he has a speech impediment. Karen does a masterful job of accommodating for this in giving Levi a love of literature and an unusual ability to use words that avoid the “s” sound. Perhaps this is not as significant a problem for someone who just enjoys a good book, but as a writer myself, I found myself in awe of her willingness to tackle that kind of task and the effort is enjoyable as no one would expect a man of his background to use the kinds of words he does, and she makes it believable.

Now, if you don’t like historical, western, romantic fiction – then pass this one buy. But if you have read any of Karen’s other works, I encourage you to give this one a go. I enjoyed the time spent in those pages.

Short-Straw Bride (Book Review)

I had seen promotions for Short-Straw Bride on Facebook and was intrigued. I saw the trailer and it whetted my appetite, which is unusual.  I went to Amazon to put the book on my wish list.  Then the opportunity came up with Bethany House to review it and I leapt at the chance. When I found out I would be mailed a copy I waited impatiently for it to come. I hesitated to read other things because I was so eager to read this story.

Short-Straw Bride is a historical romance written by author Karen Witemeyer. Karen has a gift for making fictional characters come alive.  This story, set in Texas, introduces a young girl, Meredith Hayes with a childhood incident with Travis Archer that spurs  myriad  dreams of love. All grown up and on the verge of a possible marriage, Meridith hears of a plot against the Archers and in desperation flees to their ranch to warn them of the impending danger.  Trouble does come and Meredith’s reputation ends up in shreds. Four Archer men need to determine which one will wed her.  After drawing straws, Meredith finds herself wed to the man of her childhood dreams, Travis, but wonders if he will ever come to really love her as she loves him.

The book goes beyond this initial development in their relationship to follow the rocky course of love and misunderstandings and is filled with adventure, hope and yes, romance. All the characters are well-developed and believable. Headstrong, feisty Meredith struggles to comply with a man who is used to being entirely in charge of everyone and everything around him, supplanting God in the process. A woman on Archer land changes everything for this solitary band of brothers and all of it for the better.

I look forward to reading more from this author. I loved Short-Straw Bride and had to re-read the last chapter again so I could sigh once more at the beautifully written ending. It was a book I had a hard time putting down and I enjoyed every minute spent in its pages.  Beautifully done, Karen. Ms. Witemeyer and Bethany House get two thumbs up for not only creating in me an appetite to read this book and by not disappointing me when I finally did.