I’m a California girl who moved to Texas to go to college, met a handsome Texan, married him, and never left the Lone Star State. So now I consider myself a Texan, especially since my three kids were born and raised here. They’re all teenagers now (17, 15, and 13), so it’s a little like a constant stampede around my house. Plenty of room for western inspiration.
Tell us about your new book, A Worthy Pursuit.
There is usually a single spark that gets a book idea started. For A Worthy Pursuit, that spark was the idea of incorporating gifted children—child prodigies, each having a gift in a different field. And the one who doesn’t consider himself gifted ends up being the one who saves the day, proving he is, in fact, remarkable.
I also wanted to play with the idea of opposites attracting. So I chose a refined, educated headmistress who doesn’t trust men and paired her with a man of action and intrigue who practically walks off the pages of a dime novel. Charlotte has to learn to trust the man who was sent to destroy her in order to protect the children in her care, and Stone must dig deep to unearth the patience it will take to win the heart of the plucky woman he comes to admire.
Which character can you identify with most?
I probably relate to Charlotte the most. I don’t have the same trust issues, at least not when it comes to men, but I do share several other attributes with my heroine. She loves music. In fact, she is a concert-level pianist. I always wanted to learn how to play the piano, but we never had one in my house growing up, so I never learned. I did play flute from 5th grade up through my freshman year in college. Then I met my husband and joined the choir to be with him. I’ve always loved music. It really speaks to my soul. And though I’m not a prodigy like Charlotte, I would be lost without music in my life. Charlotte is also dedicated to her three charges and loves them as if they were her own children. She takes in two boys and a girl. I have three children—two boys and a girl. So the mama in me made it into the story as well.
What draws you to the historical fiction genre?
From my early days reading Little House on the Prairie and Anne of Green Gables I’ve always loved escaping into the past in a good book. I don’t know if it is the long dresses or the simpler times, but historical stories capture my imagination. And when it comes to romance, they have more of a fairy-tale feel to them. I read historical novels almost exclusively. So when I decided to try my hand at writing, there was no question in my mind which genre I would choose.
Do you have a favorite scene or quote from your book?
It’s hard to narrow it down, but I think my favorite scene is when Stone comes riding to Lily’s rescue with all the tough-guy glory of his dime novel persona. It takes two to battle all the villains they encounter on the road, though, so Charlotte has to accomplish her own heroics while Stone rides after Lily. Both show tremendous courage, and respect between the two flourishes to new heights.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I enjoy cross-stitching, watching movies, and, of course, reading.
What’s next for you?
Two of the secondary characters in A Worthy Pursuit, Dan and Marietta, will be getting their own story next. I just couldn’t let Dead-Eye Dan go without giving him a happy ending. And because I had so much fun writing the dime novel snippets in Charlotte and Stone’s story, I decided to start every chapter of Dan and Marietta’s with a scene from a Dead-Eye Dan dime novel. So even though it’s only a novella, you’ll be getting two stories for the price of one! I believe it is set to release in January. It will be part of another fun novella collection with Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings, and Melissa Jagears. The title is: On Bended Knee: A Novella Collection of Proposals Gone Awry.
Two-time RITA® Finalist and winner of the coveted HOLT Medallion and ACFW Carol Award, 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.