Karen Witemeyer is the Author of A Tailor-Made Bride, Check Back Tomorrow for a Review of this Great Book!

This week I'm glad to introduce a new friend of mine, Karen Witemeyer, to Caffeine & Romance. Welcome Karen!
Thanks, Rae. I'm glad to be here with you and your blog buddies.

* What Made you decide to write 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.

*Will it become a series or just a stand alone title?

Although I was contracted for three books, the editors at Bethany House are looking to move away from series, so each of my books is a stand alone title. They all have similar settings - Texas in the 1880s, but each will draw from a new cast of characters.

* What was your inspiration for the Characters?

Like most authors, I write a bit of myself into all of my characters. I relate strongly to Hannah, my heroine, and often wish I was more like her. She is feisty and independent but also has a compassionate nature I long to emulate more completely. Hannah is a 19th century fitness maven who is following her dream of owning her own dress shop. Yet despite her outward strength, she is vulnerable and unsure about how to accomplish her goals while still honoring her Lord. As a writer who must learn how to value the business side with the ministry side, I share Hannah's angst.

If Hannah is who I wish I was, her dear friend, Cordelia, is more of who I actually am. A little too addicted to sweets, shy in new situations but a dedicated friend once bonds are formed, and head-over-heels in love with a man who leads the singing in worship. (Did I mention my husband is a song leader for our local congregation?)

As a reader I enjoy relating to the heroine, but it's the hero who makes me fall in love with a book. So, too, with writing. I wanted to make Jericho a hero I would fall for, so I gave him a past that left him wounded and hardened, yet I knew this gruff exterior had to shelter a tender heart. He is a man who speaks more eloquently with his actions than his words, but when the right words come, they are that much sweeter due to their rarity.

* Head-in-the Clouds is releasing in October, would you like to tell the readers about it?

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.

Adelaide Proctor is a young woman with her head in the clouds, longing for a real-life storybook hero to claim as her own. But when a husband-hunting debacle leaves her humiliated, she interviews for a staid governess position on a central Texas sheep ranch and vows to leave her romantic yearnings behind.

When Gideon Westcott left his privileged life in England to make a name for himself in America's wool industry, he never expected to become a father overnight. And five-year-old Isabella hasn't uttered a word since she lost her mother. The unconventionality of the new governess concerns Gideon--and intrigues him at the same time. But he can't afford distractions. He has a ranch to run, a shearing to oversee, and a suspicious fence-cutting to investigate.

When Isabella's uncle comes to claim the child--and her inheritance--Gideon and Adelaide must work together to protect Isabella from the man's evil schemes. And soon neither can deny their growing attraction. But after so many heartbreaks, will Adelaide be willing to get her head out of the clouds and put her heart on the line?

* Are you working on anything Right now?

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?

* I know from the group that I met you in, that your a fan of Historical Fiction. Will Most of your stories be Historical also?

Yes, I am an historical romance addict. It is all I read and all I plan to write. I guess you could say it is my passion. I don't know why, but there is something that heightens the romance for me when it is set in the past. Maybe it's the dresses or the rugged cowboy heroes, but something about escaping into another time makes the story sweeter for me.

I completely agree with the rugged cowboy heroes! They're my favorite ones to read about! :)

* What got you started with writing? Has it been something you've always wanted to do?

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.

* What's your Favorite Form of Caffeine?

Ha! There's a reason my heroine, Hannah, drinks hot cocoa every morning. LOL. I've never been a coffee drinker, but I do enjoy an occasional cup of hot chocolate or some hot tea sweetened with honey. Especially when there is a nip in the air.

* Any Advice for new writers?

Don't be in a rush. The publishing world moves slowly and a new writer would be wise to invest their time in honing their craft instead of pushing ahead with an unready manuscript. I tend to be task-oriented, and when I finish something, I want to immediately send it in. I still need to learn patience in this business.

Oh, and don't forget to enjoy the ride.

* Any Closing remarks?

Thank you so much for having me here as a guest today. I've enjoyed chatting with everyone. For those of you who enjoy Christian historical fiction, I have a giveaway on my website every month for 2-3 new or recent releases. If you're interested, you can check it out at: http://www.karenwitemeyer.com/get_connected.html.

I'm always on the lookout for new traits to incorporate into my characters, so I would love to hear from your readers about the traits of their favorite heroes and heroines. What helps you relate to the heroines in your favorite stories and what makes those to-die-for heroes irresistible? I'll be checking your coments and sharing some of my own preferences.

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