Monday, June 3, 2013

Karen Witemeyer, Writer of Historical Western Fiction

Winner of Janice Thompson's free book is Bonnie from Kentucky. Congratulations, Bonnie! Your book will arrive in the mail, signed by Janice.
Now, let's meet Karen Witemeyer......

Juanita: I’ve had fun this morning reading on the Internet about you and the books you have written and have found out some pretty interesting facts about you. You married a Texas cowboy, just like I did. Your man is a deacon, while mine is a retired preacher. You are a Texan (moving there from California), and I’m a displaced Texan (moving to Missouri away from my home state). And we both have a history in Abilene, though mine was long ago, shortly after my marriage in the mid-1950s. I’d say we have some things in common, besides our love of writing.

First, will you tell us about your faith, and why you write Christian books?

Karen: I grew up in a Christian home and came to know Jesus at an early age. My faith is an essential part of who I am, and when I decided to try my hand at writing novels, it was important to me that my stories honored God. I pray over my writing every day and try to infuse subtle nuggets of truth within the pages of an entertaining read.

Juanita: How hard was it for you to get started in your writing career? What was your first success that started you on the road to becoming an award-winning writer?

Karen: It took six years of learning and practicing the craft of fiction writing before I finally saw a book of mine on the shelves. My big break came at the 2007 American Christian Fiction Writers conference. I happened to be working as a pre-conference volunteer stuffing envelopes and next to me at the table was another woman whose name was also Karen. I had never met her, had no idea who she was, but we had fun connecting over the fact that we shared the same first name. It turns out that this lovely lady was none other than Karen Schurrer, an editor from Bethany House, my dream publisher. Not knowing what to do, I decided not to pitch my book idea at the volunteer station, but later at the conference, I sat at her table for lunch and was able to pitch it there. One brave lady at the table asked her if we could all send her our proposals. Karen graciously said yes, and the minute I returned home, I emailed my proposal. A few weeks later, she sent a request for the full manuscript. I was so excited, certain that God had brought this perfect storm of circumstances together for me. Then came the rejection. It was too similar to another book they recently published. However, God was indeed at work, for this rejection came with a request. They liked my writing enough that they asked me to submit again when I finished my next novel. By conference time the following year, I had a novel ready to go. We met again during the conference, and by January 2009, I signed my first three-book contract. Because of my experience, I am huge proponent of writers' conferences for authors seeking traditional publication.

Juanita: I can certainly agree with that. I have attended a few writers’ conferences, and while I didn’t receive a contract, some people of my acquaintance did, and I was happy for them. And six years is a comparatively short time, compared to many authors, so I commend you for that! 

I notice you write Western fiction. Tell us about the blog you share with several other writers of similar books, Petticoats and Pistols, and what you want people to take away from this site, where wonderful authors share their visions.

The Alamo in Texas

Karen: Petticoats & Pistols is a fun blog made up of western romance writers from both the Christian and general markets. We talk about some of the historical research that goes into our books, about our favorite TV and movie cowboys, about anything and everything with a western theme. We host guest authors on Saturdays and always have a great time. Some other Christian authors you might recognize who blog there are Mary Connealy, Margaret Brownley, Victoria Bylin, Winnie Griggs, and Renee Ryan. I blog every other Friday there and would love to have you stop by and visit. You can find us here:

Juanita: Thanks, Karen, I certainly will. I also perused the blog Writes of Passage to which you are a contributor, and enjoyed learning the history of some of the books I have read. (I also made of list of others I want to read after learning of this site.) How did this blog come to be? Tell us what you want to convey to readers through Writes of Passage.

Karen: I am a new addition to the Writes of Passage blog and have really enjoyed getting to know the wonderful ladies who blog there. All of us are Christian authors who write historical stories. We blog about historical things that interest us, but we also blog about our lives and welcome readers to get to know us more personally. The blog is made up of bestselling authors such as Tracie Peterson, Tamera Alexander, Julie Klassen, Lynn Austin, Robin Lee Hatcher, Jody Hedlund, and more. If you love Christian historical fiction, you would love this blog where many of your favorite authors hang out. You can find us here:

Juanita: Are your books stand-alones or do you write books in a series?  

Karen: My books tend to be stand-alone titles. My publisher prefers that style for me, especially since I only write about one book a year. However, my latest release, Stealing the Preacher, is as close to a sequel as I'm likely to get. I introduced the four reclusive Archer brothers in last year's Short-Straw Bride, and readers clamored to hear more about the other brothers. I had grown rather attached to them myself, so I was eager to write a story about Crockett. His book still stands alone; you don't need to have read Short-Straw Bride to understand what is going on, since his story takes place three years later and in a different setting. However, readers who enjoyed the Archer brothers in Short-Straw, will have fun seeing what happens with Crockett in Stealing the Preacher.

Juanita: I just finished reading your new book Stealing the Preacher, which released June 1 and was sent to me by Bethany. I loved it! I’ll be reporting on it on Amazon and here on my site this next Wednesday. Please tell us a little about it.

Karen: In Stealing the Preacher, Crockett Archer is abducted from a train by a gang of aging outlaws and must choose between either escaping to follow his own dreams or staying to help the daughter of his captor fulfill hers.

Since Crockett is no ordinary preacher, but a gun-toting rancher with a gift for doctoring . . . well, that meant a plot full of scrapes, trouble, and shenanigans. But amid the adventure and romance lies a heartrending tale of God's pursuit of a single lost soul.

 Juanita: What is next for you? Do you have your next book in mind?

Karen: My next project is actually a novella that features Neill Archer, the final brother in the Archer clan. I just couldn't let him go without giving him his own happily ever after. Away from the Archer ranch for two years to earn the money needed to start up his own spread with his childhood friend, Josiah, Neill takes a job repairing a little old widow's roof. Only the widow isn't old nor is she little. She's nine months pregnant with her deceased husband's child, and she meets Neill with a shotgun aimed at his chest.

Neill's story, A Cowboy Unmatched, will be part of a collection entitled A Match Made in Texas. It releases January 2014 and includes novellas by three other wonderful historical authors: Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings, and Carol Cox.

Juanita: That sounds wonderful. I’ll be waiting to read it. I truly enjoyed your writing style in the two books of yours that I have read—To Win Her Heart and Stealing the Preacher. Thanks so much for visiting with us today. It has been my pleasure to meet you and share some facts about you with readers of my blog.

Now, readers, it’s your turn. Comment on this interview and leave your email address. (It will not be shown to the public.) Starting today, June 3, Karen and I will be checking the comments and on June 16 a name will be randomly chosen (only US authors, please). The lucky winner will receive an autographed copy of Karen’s new book, Stealing the Preacher. Don’t miss your opportunity to possibly win this book. Believe me, you’ll have a hard time putting it down.


  1. Learned a little more about Karen. I have read all her books. My daughter and I haven't gottrn Stealing the Preacher yet. But have been waiting for it to be released. Not sure what we're waiting on!

  2. Thanks for your comment, Nancy. I've entered your name in the drawing. Thanks for visiting my blog! Hope to see you again.

  3. Excellent interview....there were a few things I didn't know about you, Karen. It's great hearing how you started out. I love your books!

    1. Saundra, please be sure to leave your email if you want to be in the drawing for the free book! And thanks so much for stopping by to comment today. I just recently met Karen and I love her books, too.

  4. Nancy and Saundra - Thanks for stopping by today! You've encouraged me today! Have a blessed week!

  5. Nice interview! I love your books:)

    1. Hi, Janita, we almost have the same name, don't we? Thanks for stopping by to read and comment. And please leave your email if you want to be in the drawing for the free book. I love to read the back of the book first--to know about the author and why the book was written, so that's why I like to do these interviews. Hope you will visit again.--from Juanita

  6. Can't wait to read this book! Would love to win it!


  7. Hey, Candice, and I know you'll love it when you do. Ms. Witemeyer is such a down-to-earth writer. I didn't want the story to end. Thanks for sending your email. I have you on the list.

  8. Lovely interview and lovely books! :) I would LOVE to win. I guess I am full of love today. :)

  9. Hi, Margo--so glad you're full of love. That's a lovely thing to have in your life! Thanks for stopping by.

  10. Great interview!!! I adore Karen's books and have re-read To Win Her Heart and Short-Straw Bride several times :) I can't wait to read Crockett's story, and I'm excited that Neill will have a story too!

  11. Loved the interview. Love those cowboys. Love to read this one, please inter my name.
    Diana Montgomery

  12. Hello, Heidi and Diana--
    Got you both on the list. Thanks so much for visiting my blog. Good luck in the drawing!!

  13. This was a good interview Juanita. karen is a good author. I would love to win her book A very interesting Title, and story I'm sure. Please put my name in the drawing. I have The Short Straw Bride and would love this one. MAXIE mac262(at)me(dot)com