Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Writer's Life: Karen Witemeyer

Welcome to another edition of Writer's Life! Every Wednesday features a writer of inspirational or sweet romance novels. I'm excited to share some of my favorite authors and hope you'll find new books for your to-be-read pile!

I'm SO excited to host Karen Witemeyer today! Now, let me tell you, my friends have long raved about Karen's books. I've mentally added her books to my to-be-read pile for a few years. Ms. Jessica Patch urged me--really urged me--to pick up a KW book already. Then I met Karen at ACFW's annual conference last year and thought she was really cool. I read Stealing the Preacher and I wondered what had taken me so long to read her books! Karen quickly became one of my favorite authors, and I'm enjoying working through her back-list. Her latest, Full Steam Ahead, is so amazing, so unique--you have to read it! My review is below. 

Let's get to it!

1. What about writing makes your heart sing?

When the words flow together in such a way that they affect me as if I were a reader and not a writer, that makes my heart sing. I love trying to craft original analogies to describe things through my characters' eyes, yet these are some of the hardest pieces I write. Cliches come far too readily to mind. After working for hours to find just the right descriptor, when I get it crafted so that it flows as if directly from the character's mind, I feel like shouting in triumph.

2. What is the biggest hurdle you're facing right now as a writer?

Time is definitely the biggest hurdle. I usually write one full-length novel a year, but this year, I added a novella into the mix. Add that to the demands of marketing a new release, still holding down a full-time day job, and having three kids at home as well as a husband who needs attention, and you'll find a writer trying hard not to pull her hair out as her August 15 deadline approaches with more speed than she would like.

3. What do you do to fill your creative well?

Read. Reading has always been my favorite escape. As a writer, it not only allows me to escape, but on a subconscious level, it also inspires me and sparks new ideas that I can twist and turn in my mind until they become something fresh and new that I can bring to life in my own characters. Movies and television can have a similar impact, but since my imagination is more fully engaged while reading, the effects tend to be great with a book in hand.

4. What are you working on now?

I'm currently working on a full-length novel that pits a hardened bounty hunter against a woman who kidnaps three child prodigies from the academy where she teaches in order to keep them safe. My teacher has a touch of OCD and my bounty hunter falls prey to a little girl's hero worship, so there are plenty of fun moments to go along with the adventure of the chase. The next project to release, however, is the novella I alluded to earlier. One of the secondary characters in Full Steam Ahead is a young runaway named Jacob who is taken in by Darius and Nicole. In early 2015, Jacob's story will continue in an e-novella entitled Love on the Mend. Jacob is all grown up, and after serving as a Civil War doctor, where more soldiers leave his surgeon's table dead or missing a limb than mended, Jacob wants nothing more than to establish a quiet country practice somewhere and find peace. But peace will never be his until he buries the pain of his past. So he returns to Cold Spring, Texas for the first time in seventeen years . . . and discovers that his past is still alive and kicking.

Karen, your writing definitely doesn't have cliches! It really does feel like the descriptors come straight from the characters. I'm in awe! You sound really busy. Those kids and husbands--always needing attention. What's a writer to do? Maybe throw candy in the middle of the room when desperate. I might try it. Your next book sounds terrific! You had me at "a touch of OCD." 

Thanks so much for being my guest today! 



When Nicole Renard returns home to Galveston from an eastern finishing school, she's stunned to find her father in ill health. Though she loves him, he's only ever focused on what she's not. Not male. Not married. Not able to run their family business, Renard Shipping.

Vowing to secure a suitable marriage partner, Nicole sets out with the Renard family's greatest treasure: a dagger personally gifted to Nicole's father by the pirate Jean Lafitte. Many believe the legend that the dagger is the source of all Renard Shipping's good fortune, though Nicole is sure her father's work ethic and honorable business practices are the keys to their success. Before she can board the steamer to New Orleans, Nicole finds her father's rivals--the Jenkins brothers--on either side of the gangplank, ready to grab her and steal the dagger. Quickly, she decides to instead travel north, to Liberty, Texas, where she can decide what to do next.

Darius Thornton needs a secretary--someone to help him get his notes in order. Ever since the boiler explosion aboard the Louisiana, Darius has been a man obsessed. He will do anything to stop even one more steamship disaster. The pretty young socialite who applies for the job baffles him with her knowledge of mathematics and steamships. He decides to take a risk and hire her, but he's determined her attractive face and fancy clothes won't distract him from his important research.

The job offer comes at exactly the right time for Nicole. With what Darius is paying her, she'll be able to afford passage to New Orleans in mere weeks. But Mr. Thornton is so reclusive, so distant, so unusual. He can create complex scientific equations but can't remember to comb his hair. And his experiments are growing more and more dangerous. Still, there are undeniable sparks of attraction between them. But Nicole is leaving soon, and if she marries, it must be to a man who can manage a shipping empire. Darius certainly doesn't fit that description. And the Jenkins brothers have not given up on kidnapping Nicole and seizing the Lafitte dagger for themselves.


About Karen ~

Christy Award finalist and winner of both the ACFW Carol Award and HOLT Medallion, CBA bestselling author, Karen Witemeyer, writes Christian historical romance for Bethany House, believing the world needs more happily-ever-afters. She is an avid cross-stitcher, andmakes her home in Abilene, TX with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at:    


My Review—5 Stars!!

Every time I open a Karen Witemeyer book, I smile. Then I relax and drift into a fictional world full of complex characters, spiritual insight, and fast-paced hijinks. I don’t know how Ms. Witemeyer does it, but this is the third book of hers I’ve read, and each one amazes me!

What I love about Full Steam Ahead? The spunky, get-it-done attitude of the heroine, Nicole. And I totally understood Darius’s obsessive need to prevent boiler explosions. He's a unique hero—very masculine, reserved, and so easy to fall in love with. The book oozed adventure, and I laughed throughout, even though it’s by no means a comedy. Another thing that stands out is the attention to detail and historical research. It’s like taking a crash course in riverboat history—and I’m all in!

I loved this book and can't recommend it highly enough!

**I received an advanced reader copy of this book with no obligation to review it. All opinions are my own.**

What is keeping YOU busy this summer?

Have a terrific day!


  1. Great interview! I'm *so* excited to hear about her upcoming book and novella. When I read Full Steam Ahead I thought Jacob would be a great character to continue with another story.

    1. Glad you're looking forward to Jacob's story, Heidi. I knew I couldn't let that poor boy grow up without providing a happily-ever-after for him. :-)

  2. Heidi, thank you so much for stopping by! I almost started crying when Darius and Nicole found what Jacob had stolen. I can't wait to read his story!


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