I hope you all read the interview yesterday with Robert Whitlow. If you didn't get the chance to, please go back and read it. For today, we have an interview with Karen Witemeyer, author of Tailor-Maid Bride. She has graciously offered to give away one copy of the book, so please read to the end:)
Thanks for being with us today Karen!! When did you decide you wanted to be an author?
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.
Can you tell us a little about your debut novel, A Tailor-Made Bride?
A Tailor-Made Bride is a fun-filled romp in which a feisty seamstress tangles with a set-in-his-ways livery owner in 1880s Texas.
Here's the scoop:
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?
Where did you get the idea for this book?
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.
And why Texas?
I grew up in California, but I came to Texas for college, married a Texan, and never left. I fell in love with the glorious sunsets, frontier spirit, and the friendliness of the people. I knew I wanted to set my stories in this great state. Living here, I'm also able to bring authenticity to my writing since I can research the setting firsthand.
Are you a regimented writer? Or do you write when the urge hits:)
If I only wrote when I felt like it, I'd still be stuck in the middle of my first book instead of nearly finished with my third. There are just those days where I would rather have a tooth pulled than try to figure out what needs to happen next with my characters. I pray a lot on those days.
I don't set daily word count goals because I need flexibility in my writing schedule to accommodate my day job and the demands of being mom for three kids. So, instead of a word count goal, I set chapter goals. My normal pace is one polished chapter a week. When I need to step it up for a deadline, I increase to 3 polished chapters every 2 weeks. My chapters are generally 7-8 pages long, so this averages out to about two pages a day. Some days I write 3 pages, some days I struggle to get 2 good paragraphs. That's why I like the flexibility of the chapter goal instead of the specific word count.
You seem to have a love for history, do you use it mainly for research or have you always loved it?
19th century fitness maven. In my search to discover if this portrayal could be historically accurate, is my genre of choice, yet I hated history in school. I guess there wasn't enough romance in all those dates and wars and lists of presidents for me. However, I love digging into my research and finding tidbits that shed light on my character's lives. For instance, my heroine, Hannah Richards, in A Tailor-Made Bride is a I ran across a man named Dio Lewis who wrote several books in the mid-1800s on this very subject. He particularly targeted women and children and even set up an academy to train physical education teachers who would then work in the schools. I was able to locate scanned copies of many of his original works through Google Books including The New Gymnastics, the book my heroine used as her pattern. Those are the types of finds that really excite me.
If there was one event you could be at, what would it be? Historical or in the future.
There's not a particular event that I would necessarily want to be present at, but I've always thought it would be fun to spend a week or so in my favorite time period, the 1880s. I'd love to truly step into the shoes of my characters, although I'd like to magically know how to cook on a wood stove, lace up a corset, and all those other necessities so I wouldn't look like an idiot.
Is there something about you most people don't know? A secret hobby, secret wish, etc:)
I love old Judy Garland musicals and Audrey Hepburn movies. I'm an avid cross-stitcher and have squirreled away more projects than I can ever hope to finish. I also have a weakness for buying patterns that remind me of my novels.
What person would you love to meet?
As a diehard romantic, I'd love to meet the future spouses of my kids. Of course, they'd only be in grade school for my boys, and junior high or possibly senior high for my daughter, but as a mother I can't help but think how great it would be to see who these young folks were growing up to be. Then again, I might be horrified, and it could prejudice me for life. Maybe that's not such a good idea after all.
And any last thoughts for your readers? Where can they contact you?
I would love to have readers visit my Web site at: http://karenwitemeyer.com. You can find fun information about the hobbies and interests of the characters featured in A Tailor-Made Bride as well contests for free books every month and a free download for a biblical fiction piece inspired by the life of Rahab.
You can also find me on Facebook. Come by and visit any time. I'd love to hear from you!
Thanks again for being here today!
READERS- Did you catch what she said about her site? She has contests for free books and she would love for you to head over and enter:)
Now, to enter my giveaway, leave a comment with your favorite time period. That is the mandatory entry.
Extra Entries- Become a subscriber through RSS feed. I just recently put this up and I would like to know how many people are using it. If you already subscribe, let me know.
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3.Tweet about this giveaway. Can be done once a day. You can get 7 entries just on this!!
4.Go enter Karen's contest:) And come back and let me know you did.