Two-time RITA® Finalist and winner of the coveted HOLT Medallion, 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.
Karen, it's great to have you here with me this week. I finished Short-Straw Bride last night and have to say I loved it and I think it was my favorite! It was a lot of fun. Karen is giving away a copy of her new release answer the question below to be entered in the drawing. As always don't forget to leave your email addy so I can contact you if you win, and tell me if you are a follower so you get that second entry. Good luck and enjoy the interview.
Question for readers:
Short-Straw Bride was inspired by the musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. What is your favorite musical? Or what book have you read that you think would convert well into a musical format?
Where are you right now (LVR, DR, Bathroom) and what are you wearing? You have to tell the truth.
Right now, I'm actually up at my office at work using a few spare moments before closing time to get a start on this interview. I'm in my normal business casual attire, sporting tan pants with a sage green top. I wish I were at home in my jammies. That would be much more comfortable.
Do your characters ever give you surprises when you are writing? Can you give us an example if they do and if they don’t do you know why?
Their personalities rarely if ever surprise me because I usually have a pretty strong grasp on that part of their character before I start writing. However, sometimes their actions or backstory surprise me.
For example, as I was writing Short-Straw Bride, I wanted Travis to take Meredith to some hidden spot on the ranch where the two of them could be alone and do some courting away from his brothers. As Travis led her down to the creek, out of nowhere came this memory he had of going to the creek to do some fishing as a young boy and accidently coming across his parents having a romantic moment by a large boulder at the water's edge. Suddenly, he wanted to mimic his father's actions and take Meredith to the "kissing rock" as he'd dubbed it in his mind as a child. Until I wrote that scene I never even knew there was a kissing rock on the Archer ranch.
If you could be any character in any literary book who would you be and why?
I'd like to say Jane Eyre since she's my favorite literary heroine, but I'm not sure I could handle living through her harsh, unloved childhood. So instead I'll choose Elizabeth Bennett. She seemed to have such a wonderful relationship with her father and eldest sister and had a sensible head on her shoulders. Besides, she ended up with the heroic Mr. Darcy. It's hard to beat that.
What is something that very few people know about you?
Historical novels have always been my favorite reading material, but as a kid, history was my least favorite subject in school.
Can you tell something about this book or in writing it that is maybe a behind the scenes that we’d find interesting?
As a diehard romantic, I have to admit that I adore the sappy old Hollywood musicals, and my all-time favorite is Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. I adore the western setting, the rough and tumble men, and the marriage of convenience story. In fact, it's this very musical that served as the inspiration for Short-Straw Bride.
My story has four brothers instead of seven, and the men don’t sing and dance while they do their chores. However the spark came when I thought about this movie and then asked, what if? What if instead of having the heroine agree to a marriage of convenience at the beginning of the story, the brothers drew straws to see who would marry her when a good deed of hers goes awry? And what if instead of all the brothers being named in alphabetical order after Bible characters, my four brothers were named for heroes from the Alamo?
From there, the Archer clan was born—Travis, Crockett, Bowie (who only answers to Jim), and Neill. And when Meredith infiltrates their isolated ranch, these bachelors are never the same.
If you could live in any time period when and where would that be and why?
I guess I would have to choose 1880's Texas, since all of my books so far have been set somewhere in this large state during this decade. The Indian wars were past, civilization was stretching across the state, and small towns were sprouting up along the rail lines. It was an exciting time of growth and change. I would love to experience that. Of course, I would need in-depth tutoring on how to use a wood stove, how to drive a buggy, and just about everything else that goes with living in that era. Do they have an app for that?
If you could visit any place in the world where would you go and why?
If money was no object, I would love to tour the castles of Germany. I love mountain settings, romance, and fairy tales. What could be more romantic than the castle that inspired the home of Disney's Sleeping Beauty situated in the Bavarian mountains? I get dreamy-eyed just looking at pictures of Neuschwanstein. I'd also like to see elegant Eltz Castle and historic Wartburg Castle. Wartburg is one of the oldest preserved castles as well as a place where church reformer Martin Luther lived and translated the Bible into German. How awesome would that be to see? My daughter would love touring the castles and my husband would dutifully ooh and aah, but I might have to bribe my boys with a ski trip or something to get them to tour the castles with me.
What is your favorite material item that you own (examples: ipod, Gone with the Wind book, grandmother’s rocking chair)
I'd have to say my wedding ring. Except for my watch, it’s the only piece of jewelry I wear most days. It reminds me of the love and commitment I share with the man who is my true hero, and I never go anywhere without it.
Fourteen years of constant vigilance hardens a man. Yet when Travis Archer confronts a female trespasser with the same vivid blue eyes as the courageous young girl he once aided, he can't bring himself to send her away. And when an act of sacrifice leaves her injured and her reputation in shreds, gratitude and guilt send him riding to her rescue once again.
Four brothers. Four straws. One bride. Despite the fact that Travis is no longer the gallant youth Meredith once dreamed about, she determines to stand by his side against the enemy that threatens them both. But will love ever be hers? Or will Travis always see her merely as a short-straw bride?
Be sure to leave your email address. Please check your junk mail on and the day after the drawing. I've had to redraw because of no responses. Subject box will have: winner of (book title). I'll email the winner and they'll have seven days to respond. If I don't hear back I'll draw another name. USA shipping only. Thanks so much and please stop back again! Drawing will be held Monday, June 10th . Offer void where prohibited. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.
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