Sunday, June 27, 2010

BOOK GIVEAWAY with Karen Witemeyer

I'm so excited to introduce to you a WONDERFULLY TALENTED author and storyteller, KAREN WITEMEYER! I just had the privilege of reading her recent debut A Tailor-Made Bride. And I have to say, this story is as good as its cover!

When a dressmaker who values beauty tangles with a liveryman who condemns vanity, the sparks begin to fly!

Jericho "J.T." Tucker wants nothing to do with Coventry, Texas's new dressmaker. He's all too familiar with her kind--shallow women more devoted to fashion than true beauty. Yet, except for her well-tailored clothing, this seamstress is not at all what he expected. Hannah Richards is confounded by the man who runs the livery. The unsmiling fellow riles her with his arrogant assumptions and gruff manner while at the same time stirring her heart with unexpected acts of kindness. Which side of Jericho Tucker reflects the real man? When Hannah decides to help Jericho's sister catch a beau--leading to uproarious consequences for the whole town--will Jericho and Hannah find a way to bridge the gap between them?

Karen Witemeyer is an Abilene Christian University Alumni, and serves as a deacon's wife in Texas. Karen, thank you so much for stopping by my blog and sharing with us a little about yourself. Please tell us, how long have you been writing? How did you get your start?

I had always been an avid reader, and as I grew to adulthood, I toyed with the idea of putting my own stories to paper. I'd daydream romantic plot lines and jot down my ideas in a journal, but I never committed myself to writing. First, college kept me busy. Then kids entered the picture. But in 2003 when my husband learned his job was being cut, the urge to turn someday into this day became too strong to ignore. The busyness didn't disappear, of course. I started working full-time outside the home, and the kids were still young and in need of my attention. However, the Lord had sent me a wake-up call, and I knew I had to answer. I sold a couple of short pieces along the way, but my first contract for full-length novels came in January of 2009.

What made you decide to write fiction?

Fiction is what I most enjoy reading, and it's so much more fun to write the kinds of stories you enjoy reading. I also believe that story is a powerful tool to reach people. Jesus spoke in parables in order to reveal truth to his listeners. I hope to entertain with my books, but more importantly, I hope to minister through them, sharing nuggets of God's truth with my readers.

What made you choose this particular genre?

I am an historical romance reader through-and-through. It is all I read and, therefore, what I prefer to write, truly my passion. I love the 19th century American west, but I also enjoy regency stories, and medieval settings. Rugged cowboys, dashing lords, fierce warriors—what's not to love?

How did things change once you became a published author? Did you lose friends? Make friends? How did it affect your family?

Life as a published author is still very new to me. My first book has only been out a few weeks. My family has been wonderfully supportive. My husband, who is a sci-fi guy and wouldn't touch a romance book with a ten-foot pole, chats up my books to his online and work friends. And for the most part, my kids are taking it all in stride. My middle kiddo is the most enthusiastic. He grins and hugs me and tells me how proud he is of me every time we see something in a catalog or in a store. It's fun. And when my hubby took my youngest to Sams the other day, they cruised the book aisle. When the little guy saw my book, he asked if they could buy it. Never mind that we have a couple boxes of them at home. Too cute! My daughter just turned 12, and she's asked for her own autographed copy. I'm still deciding whether or not I want my little girl reading a romance novel - even mine. She's not supposed to be interested in boys yet, is she? Something tells me this denial technique isn't going to work for much longer. LOL I'm also making contact with readers, which brings great joy and encouragement into my life. So far, the blessings have been rich indeed.

Where do you spend your time writing? Do you have a favorite place? A favorite time of day?

I write whenever and wherever I can. I work full-time, have three kids, and am involved in many church activities, so finding time can be tricky. Thankfully, the Lord provides, and the books get written. When I'm at home, I usually write in my bedroom, sitting propped up on the bed with my laptop. Not very glamorous, but I can close the door and keep the kids out. Well – most of the time.

How did you come up with the story for A Tailor-Made Bride?

It all started with a question: What happens when believers disagree about what the Christian life should look like?

Hannah Richards believes she is being a good steward of the talents the Lord has blessed her with by turning her needle to creating dresses that are pleasing to look upon. She is imitating the Creator God who designed wildflowers, rainbows, and sunsets.

Jericho Tucker, on the other hand, believes that fancy dress goods encourage women to focus their attention on vain, superficial beauty instead of the inner attributes of a gentle and quiet spirit that Scripture promotes as true loveliness.

Both are right. Yet both see the other as wrong. By throwing Jericho's sister Cordelia into the mix, I forced these two characters to face their differences and learn from each other, to mend those tears of condemnation with threads of grace.

What are you working on now?

My second release, Head in the Clouds, will be hitting the shelves in October. Since I enjoy Regency romances as well as those set in the American West, I thought it would be fun to blend the two by bringing an English nobleman to Texas. In Head in the Clouds, a recovering romantic takes a job as governess for the mute daughter of a sheep rancher and soon learns her heart is not the only thing in danger.

My current work in progress is a story set in the late 1880s that asks the question – what happens after the prodigal son returns? So many times, we focus on the wonderful homecoming the lost son received from his father, 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?

In my third book, I play on those very questions. My hero is a man recently released from prison who has returned to his faith roots and rededicated his life to the Lord. The heroine is a woman who has been disappointed by men in the past and has little tolerance of those who don't meet her high standards. In an effort to make a clean start, Levi hides his past and Eden believes she has finally found a man of honor and integrity. But when his secret is revealed will both their futures be shattered?

What is your favorite scene in the whole book? If it's a reasonable length (not an entire chapter), feel free to share an excerpt!

Oooh – that's a toughie. That's like asking a mom to pick her favorite child. Ha! There's a fast-paced action scene involving a flash flood, a spooked horse, and an upturned buggy that I like quite a bit, but I also love the scenes where J.T. and Hannah are sparing. Here's a brief excerpt of one of my favorites:

"You really shouldn't criticize something you know so little about…Jericho."
He blinked then narrowed his gaze. No one had dared call him by that name in years. Not since his mother left. His pa's belt had kept him from back-talking when his mama insisted on using the name despite his protests, and he'd even bore up under his teacher using it. But not one of his peers dared go against his wishes. He'd pummeled the last fellow who tried—a twelve-year-old kid who didn't think a nine-year-old could thrash him. The smart aleck hadn't reckoned on how much J.T. hated the name. What boy wanted to be named after a city that crumbled when a bunch of nomads walked around it? Not exactly an image of strength or fortitude.
Besides, she liked it. If Mama could abandon him, he could sure as shooting abandon the name she tried to saddle him with.
J.T. silently worked his jaw back and forth. There was only one person who would've dared tell this woman his given name, and she was stifling giggles on the porch behind him. Choosing to ignore his sister for now, J.T. faced the impudent woman whose eyes issued challenges his pride could not ignore.
He prowled forward, jaw clenched so hard, his facial muscles ticked. "The name's J.T."
"No," she said, tapping her chin as if pondering some great mystery. "Those are initials. Your name is Jericho."
Wiggling his fingers to keep them from curling into fists, J.T. reminded himself that she was a woman. He couldn't deal with her the same way he had the boy in the schoolyard.
"Are you purposely trying to rile me?" His voice rumbled with menace, warning her against such a dangerous path.
An all-too-innocent smile stretched across her face. "Why, yes. Yes, I am. Is it working?"

THAT was one of my favorite scenes! Thank you for sharing that one with us.

Karen, it was great to have you join us today. Thank you so much for being willing to share a little bit of yourself, your life and your book!

For those that would like to enter to WIN a SIGNED COPY of A Tailor-Made Bride, just leave a comment below with your email address. And if you'd like to be entered into the drawing TWICE, then sign up to be a follower of my blog.

GOOD LUCK TO THOSE THAT ENTER! It's a book you'll thoroughly enjoy!

(Please forgive the strange formatting and font background colors. Blogger had its own ideas and didn't want to cooperate.)


  1. Thanks for the review. I read someone else's review of this also, and have to admit I've been keeping my eyes open for this one.

  2. Thisbook sounds wonderful and I would love to read it!


  3. Thanks for an informative interview. Sounds like a great read.
    Abundant blessings to you both,

  4. Reviews have been great for this. Karen, I love how you shared writing in your bedroom to keep away kids...I'm embarassed to say I've been known to bring my laptop into the bathroom for the same reason. I love the Victorian and Regency eras, I look forward to this book and your next 2.


  5. Thanks for the very interesting interview and review of this book. Love to hear about new authors and read their books. PLease enter me.


  6. Good review. I have read A Tailer-made Bride and enjoyed it.It's well written and I loved the setting of a steamstress in the old west. I can only imagine the fun you had, Karen, researching the fashions and fabrics. I look forward to your next book.

    Sandi don't enter me in your giveaway as I have a copy of the book.

    A J Hawke

  7. Sounds like a fun book. (I am also a follower.)

  8. Great interview..please add me to the contest.


    heidijohnjeff At verizon DOT net


  9. Thanks for the interview. I appreciate you letting us get to know this author. I would LOVE a chance to wing this book. Thanks for putting my name in the at.

    Nora St.Laurent
    The Book Club Network
    norafindinghope (at)

  10. Oh Sandi, now I really can't wait to do our interview!
    I'd love to win this book as I've been watching and waiting for it to come out. She does have a 'quality' about her writing and I'm anxious to see if it's as I suspect - a wonderful read!
    By the way, I really like the blog set-up. Is this your design or is it a Blogger stock? I'm trying to come up with one for my Blogger site but haven't been able to really get into it with all that's going on! Again, this is one great interview!

  11. Joy, it's great to see you here! I got the blog template from blogger, and the outside boarder is from They have a very simply way to set things up. :-)

  12. Sandi, thanks for bringing us this interview. Karen, I love that your kids are so enthusiastic about your book. How wonderful to have that kind of support from your own family. I have heard great things about this book in the last few weeks and the excerpt was wonderful. Congratulations! And I'd love to read the book.


  13. ++1 Please enter me in this contest. Wish my mother was alive to read this book. She made lots of dresses and suits. She was wonderful at all types of sewing.

    + 1 I am a new GFC follower. Total=2


  14. Thanks for all the positive comments. You guys are great over here!

    Julia, my kids are usually pretty good about staying out of the bedroom when the door is closed - for about the first hour. After that there are continual interruptions. But sometimes Mommy needs the reminder that family really is more important than writing.

    And Cindy, yes, it is a tremendous blessing to have a supportive family. It makes this writing journey a joy.

    I hope you all have a great week!

  15. Would love to read Karen's masterpiece...thank you for the opportunity :)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  16. I put Karen's book on my wish list after reading the first review. I know I will enjoy reading this one and the others also.
    Great interview and thanks for stopping by to chat..

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

  17. I would love to have a chance to read this one! Thanks for the opportunity.

  18. I would love to read this book. Please enter me in the drawing. Thank you!


  19. I just became a follower of your blog.


  20. Looks really great. I'd love to win a copy.

    rodgerandjody (at) hotmail (dot) com

  21. Karen,
    Yes, thanks...this mommy needs that reminder plenty of times, too. :)