Monday, May 2, 2011

Karen Witemeyer's "To Win Her Heart"

We're happy to have Karen Witemeyer with us today talking about her book To Win Her Heart. To learn more about Karen and her book, read on!

Title: To Win Her Heart
Publisher: Bethany House, May 2011

Cover blurb: A blacksmith with a criminal past. A librarian with pacifist ideals. Do they have a fighting chance at finding love?
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?

1) How did this story come to you?
Have you ever wished there was an epilogue to Jesus' parable of the Prodigal Son? I have. When I decided to write To Win Her Heart, one question prompted the plot development: What happens after the Father welcomes the prodigal son home? So often we focus on the wonderful homecoming the lost son received, but have you ever asked what life was like for him after the celebration was over? How did he relate to his bitter older brother or the servants and townspeople who were only too aware of his past arrogance and wild living? My story plays on those questions.

2) Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
This was book 3 of a three-book contract, so the journey was a more direct route than my first book. However, every book takes its own path. I had to do extensive research into the blacksmith trade, 19th century literature and lending libraries, the use of convict labor in Texas, granite and limestone quarries, and the Victorian art of flower pressing. I wrote a synopsis encompassing the major plot points, received approval from my editors, then began the writing journey. Ten months later I had a finished manuscript that, of course, wasn't truly finished until it passed through the substantive and copy edit stages. Now, I'm enjoying the beautiful view toward the end of the road with To Win Her Heart sitting on the bookstore shelves.

3) Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
• I work full-time proctoring tests like the ACT and CLEP at a Christian university. (Exercising the left side of my brain so I can devote the right side to fiction writing.)
• I love old Hollywood musicals.
• I'm one of the few dinosaurs left in the world who doesn't own a cell phone. (Can you believe it? Although, I'm also about to have my first teenager in the house, so the no cell phone thing might be changing soon. But for now I'm living proof, that yes, you can survive and even be a productive member of society without a cell phone.)

4) What are you working on now and what's next for you?
I've been blessed to have signed another three-book contract with Bethany House, so you can expect at least three more historical romances from me over the next three years. Hopefully with more to follow after that.
The working title of my current project 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 cares 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.

7) Parting comments?
Thank you so much for having me here. It's been such fun. Please leave a comment or ask a question for a chance to win an autographed copy of Levi and Eden's story, To Win Her Heart. I'll try to respond to comments throughout the day.

8) Where can fans find you on the internet?
I'd love to have you visit me at my website: www.karenwitemeyer.com. 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.

31 comments:

  1. I'm SO excited to read Karen's latest book! Loved Head in the Clouds so much. Please enter me into win :) thanks for the opportunity.

    randomness.is.awesome@gmail.com

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  2. I have not read any of Karen's books yet and I really want to! :) Thanks to both of you for sharing more about Karen and her books.
    Blessings,
    Karen
    klange61(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  3. Oooh, this is on my "to read" list!! I'd love to win it!!

    afren07[at]gmail[dot]com

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  4. I would love to read this book. Please enter me.

    Blessings,
    Jo
    ladijo40(at)aol(dot)com

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  5. I love historical fiction and this sounds like a great book.

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  6. I love musicals, too! Looking forward to reading this book. angelmom1165(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  7. Would love to read Karen's new book! I really enjoyed Head in the Clouds. Thanks!
    jackie.smith[at]dishmail[dot]net

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  8. Blessing to have a 3-book deal these days. Also, someone wrote a story about a librarian and that's my degree and did the job here and there. Wish you success. Thanks.

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  9. So interested in reading this book! I have the other books by Karen, my favorite so far is a Tailor-Made Bride! Thanks for a chance to win this I'm already an email subscriber!


    kcmelone(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  10. I love historical fictions, and I love Karen's book. I have the first 2, I so much want this one too!
    Blessings.....Joy
    ibjoy1953{at]yahoo[dot]com

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  11. I love musicals too! I'm a follower by subscription and gfc.

    Posted to my blog: http://dancealertreads.blogspot.com/2011/05/k-dawn-byrd-author-register-to-win.html

    dancealert at aol dot com

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  12. I'm waiting for Mom to finish "Head in the Clouds" so I can read it. Until then, I'll think about this one :D

    Karen - I don't have a cell phone, either! And I work in sales...I'm a real hold-out. The great thing is that my teen daughter says she doesn't want a cell phone. Who knows how long that will last!

    Blessings always - and I hope someone who's never read a Karen Witemeyer novel wins this one - she'll be hooked!

    Tammy

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  13. Karen, you have just recently come on my radar. This one sounds good! I am looking forward to reading your books. :) I'd love to know how and why you started your writing journey. :) Thanks for the opportunity to win a book.

    wetalk2biz(at)q(dot)com

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  14. Put my name into the hat!
    Ann_Lee_Miller@msn.com

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  15. This sounds like the kind of book I enjoy reading. I would love to win this one.

    cgdinasia@yahoo.com

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  16. Great interview!

    Karen, no cell phone, huh? I wish I didn't need one :) You have terrific stories and I love reading your books. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy.

    homesteading[at]charter[dot]net

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  17. I'm a huge fan of the Prodigal Son story! Congrats on this newest release. I would love to read this book. Please sign me up!!!
    -Emily
    hendrickson_emily(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  18. What a blessing to turn on my computer this morning and find so many wonderful comments! You all are fantastic!

    I'm glad to find a couple of fellow musical lovers! Even though the story is completely different, my latest project, Short-Straw Bride, was inspired by the musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. I only have 4 brothers and they don't sing and dance while they do chores, but they are definitely a tight-knit group. Hopefully my story will be just as fun.

    And Tammy - I never thought to find another cell phone hold out. We should start a club or something. We'll even let your daughter join to boost our membership numbers. :-)

    Blessings to everyone today!
    ~Karen

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  19. Please enter me! Love Karen's books!

    dianalflowers@aol.com

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  20. Great concept for the story! Thanks for a chance to win.

    twinwillowsfarm at gmail dot com

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  21. I'm a big fan of Karen's work. I enjoyed A Tailor-Made Bride and Head in the Clouds and am looking forward to reading To Win Her Heart.

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  22. would love to read karen's latest masterpiece...thanks for the chance :)

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

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  23. I loved her 'Tailor Made Bride' so much I didn't want it to end! I think it interestind about not having a cell phone. My husband and I share one.
    I don't care for them either but I love my computer. At least you get to think a little before writing!

    Please enter me fot this giveaway,

    CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

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  24. Lady DragonKeeperMay 4, 2011 at 3:18 AM

    I've read Mrs. Witemeyer's first two books and they're both great! "Head in the Clouds" is my favorite so far. Thanks for the chance to win --I'd love to find out how librarians worked back then. I'm actually considering getting a Masters in Library Science (I have a lot of time to decide, though). =)

    My question for Mrs. Witemeyer is about the cover art process. How did it go? How much input did you have?

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  25. I'll be reading this one no matter what. Please include me!


    alekee02[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  26. Lady Dragon - Bethany House has an entire Art Department to devote to designing their covers, and they make som of the best in the business! I've been so happy with all of my cover art. I do get to give input about what the characters look like, the setting, the clothes they wear, etc. I even get to help brainstorm ideas sometimes. [It was my idea to have my heroine in Head in the Clouds so lost in her book she was about to take a tumble. :-)]

    For the most part, though, the Art team selects the models, does the cover shoot, and decides which cover to select with some help from Marketing. My project manager/editor had the tedious job of looking through countless portfolios in search of a male model to portray Levi who had the right physique. Such sacrifices she makes! LOL I think she picked a good one. Don't you?

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  27. This sounds like a great book! Thanks for the chance. I'm an e-mail subscriber.

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

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  28. Please enter me.

    Lourdes11743[at]gmail[dot]com

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  29. I love Karen's books and love the theme of mercy and new beginning in To Win Her Heart. I'd love to be entered!

    worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com
    I'm a subscriber.

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  30. I just finished reading her first book. It was soooo good!!!! Please enter me.

    Katy
    m.katy15[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  31. I used Random[dot]org to select the winner of To Win Her Heart, and the name selected was Jamie. Congratulations!

    Jamie, I've tried to contact you through your blog. Please contact me at karen[at]karenwitemeyer[dot]com with your address so I can get your book to you. Congratulations!

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