I am thrilled to have Karen Witemeyer joining me for coffee today! Won’t you pull up a seat with your favorite beverage and join us?
PM: Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to spend it with us today! When do you find the time to write? Where is your favorite place to write?
KW: Since I still work a day job, I squeeze in time to write whenever I can. Weekends are big writing time slots, though I work whenever I find the opportunity during the week as well. The holidays are actually a great time to write because I have time off from work, but there a lot of distractions, too, so that’s a two-edged sword.
The place that I write the most when I’m at home is in my bedroom, sitting on my bed with my back propped up with pillows against the headboard and my computer on a lapdesk. My hubby and I have dreams of turning the “playroom” (formal dining room turned playroom for the kids 20 years ago) into a library/home office once the last child leaves for college next year. When/If that becomes a reality, THAT will be my favorite place to write.
PM: I see you are a fan of ice cream – any specific flavor that is your favorite?
KW: Oooh – There are so many! Chocolate chip is my standard favorite, but I also a flavor called intense chocolate that has chocolate ice cream with chocolate chips and chocolate sauce. Mmmmm… it’s a bit of a chocolate overload, but so worth it.
PM: What was your most beloved book to read as a child?
KW: Some of the books I remember reading as a young child include the Little House on the Prairie series, The Black Stallion series, and the Encyclopedia Brown series. I would come home from the library with giant stacks of these books and devour them.
PM: Who was your greatest influence when you decided to become an author?
KW: I didn’t decide to become an author until I was well into adulthood, so I didn’t really have any great mentor. What I did have were a lot of supportive people along the way. I had the memories of teachers from early years through college telling me that I was a good writer. I had a husband who encouraged me to chase my dream even while having three kids under the age of five. I had a mother-in-law who told me she always had a feeling that I would be an author. God spoke encouragement into my life from so many different sources that I couldn’t help but feel confirmation in the calling to write.
PM: Growing up in California and moving to Texas must have been a bit of culture shock, what was one of your most difficult adjustments becoming a full time Texan?
KW: No mountains on the horizon. Ha! Growing up in a valley in southern California, we were surrounded by hills and mountains. And the ocean, though I was always more of a mountain person than an ocean one. In West Texas, everything is flat. Sometimes when we get a low-lying fog bank roll in, I can pretend there are mountains on the horizon again, and it makes me smile.
When I first came to Texas as a student, I was determined never to say “y’all.” I was sticking with the Californian “you guys” and that was that. Thirty years later, I’m still saying “you guys” though the local vernacular has probably infiltrated my speech more than I realize.
I do love my Texas home, though. The people are so warm here, and the sunsets are glorious. Texas is home. Which is why all my books are set in my adopted state.
PM: Tell us what you enjoy doing the most when you are not writing or reading?
KW: Cross-stitching is my favorite non-reading hobby. I love seeing a picture take shape in front of my eyes. I also enjoy watching movies and playing board games with my family.
PM: What draws you to write historical novels?
KW: Ever since I was young, I’ve always loved historical fiction. Little House on the Prairie, Anne of Green Gables, Christy. There is just something about historical novels that enhances the fairy tale feel for me, and I love the romance of fairy tales. Maybe it’s the long skirts and heroes on horseback.
PM: Little House was always my favorite as well! If you couldn’t be a writer, what career path do you think you’d choose to be on?
KW: Well, I’m already on a career path with the day job, though it’s not terribly exciting. I would for the Abilene Christian University’s Registrar’s Office as the Catalog Specialist. I’m in charge of processing all academic changes both in the catalog and in our school software system. Not terribly glamorous, but I work with great people and get free tuition for my children, two of whom are using it now and one more who will start using it next year.
PM: I love your series The Ladies of Harper’s Station, what inspired you to create this amazing community?
KW: The idea of a women’s colony actually came from one of my favorite Old Hollywood western movies – Westward the Women. In the film, a wagon train full of women crossed the country to the Oregon territory to claim husbands. They had a male trail boss, but the rest of the travelers were women. They relied on each other and overcame incredible hardship and trials to make it through. There is one scene where one of the ladies goes into labor in a wagon that has a broken wheel. All the other women surround the wagon and lift it off the ground to make it level in order to ease the birthing. The message was powerful to me – women might not be as physically strong as men, but get enough of them together, and there is nothing they can’t accomplish. That is the idea Emma puts into action when she and her aunts start the women’s colony of Harper’s Station.
PM: If we were to open you your refrigerator right now, what would we find in it, besides ice cream, lol?
KW: Well, at the moment there’s a collection of leftovers, lunch items, and a whole drawer full of Granny Smith apples. I’m doing this interview prior to Thanksgiving, and since I volunteered to bring the apple pie (which for me is a 13×9 inch pan full of apple cobbler), I have lots of apples on hand.
PM: How can readers keep up with you and your new releases?
KW: The best way to keep up with my releases is to subscribe to my newsletter. I only send out about 4-5 a year, but there is always one when I have a new book releasing. You can also follow me on BookBub and/or Amazon to receive notifications about new releases.And if you just want to chat and get to know me better (which I LOVE for readers to do), I’m very active in my Facebook group – The Posse. We brainstorm book ideas and character images, exchange handmade Christmas ornaments during the holidays, and just enjoy talking about books and romance and whatever else happens to come up. I’d love to meet you there!
PM: Finally, coffee or tea? Cream, sugar?
KW: I am a tea drinker – black tea sweetened with honey. In fact, I think I might need a cup, now that you mention it. 😉