I have a confession to make. I have a slight obsession with cowboys. LOL. If you knew me well enough to talk books, we wouldn't talk very long before this would be common knowledge. I can't really explain the reason, but this next author I interviewed, has really fed my addiction.
Karen Witemeyer is the author of stories of true love and faith set against a backdrop of the American West. According to her website, Her books have consistently hit bestseller lists and have garnered awards such as the ACFW Carol Award, the Holt Medallion, and the Inspirational Reader's Choice Award. In addition, she is a multiple RITA and National Reader's Choice finalist.
As a long-time fan of her work, imagine my delight when she agreed to do an interview with me! Here's what this talented lady had to say...
Me: Of all the books you've written, which was your favorite and why?
KW: I often tell people that asking an author to choose her favorite book is like asking a mother to pick a favorite child. It just can't be done. :-) Although, if I was forced to pick a favorite, I would probably pick To Win Her Heart. That one was just special. It was inspired by the tale of the Prodigal Son and the question of what would happen after the celebration for his return faded? How would he relate to his older brother and the townspeople who knew of his failings? Would he always be "the prodigal" or could he build a new identity for himself with the Father's guidance? And the challenge of writing the hero's dialog with no "s" sounds gave me a chance to exercise my writing chops. It also featured a heroine who encompassed my own personal spiritual struggles. She was the one to do the most growing over the course of the book, not the hero. Because of that, I felt my own spirit growing and maturing during the writing process. It hasn't been the book from my list to sell the most copies, but it has won the most awards, so it has been a blessing to me in many areas.
Me: Do you work from an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
KW: I start with a detailed synopsis (usually about 6-12 pages) that covers all the major plot points. How the hero and heroine will meet, what major event is the catalyst for the story, what 3 major plot points will drive the story forward, how they will find their happy ending. Writing the synopsis helps me create a basic road map for my story so I have a direction and a good understanding of my characters' goals and motivations as well as their greatest fears. Once I have the basics down, then I just open up a blank document and start writing. I make it up as I go along, but I always stay within my framework.
Me: Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
KW: I don't read as much as I would like. I just don't have the time. But I always have a book going, even if I work through it slowly. I read both in the Christian and general markets. Some of my favorite authors include Regina Jennings, Mary Connealy, Dani Pettrey, Julia Quinn, Anne Gracie, and Jodi Thomas. You'll notice that nearly all of these authors write historical romance. It is my favorite genre (big surprise), and I rarely read anything else. Dani Pettrey's romantic suspense is my one exception.
Me: Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
KW: I recently taught a workshop on marketing at a national conference. My biggest tip is to stop thinking like an author, and think like a reader. What's in it for the reader? Design your website so that a reader can easily find the information they care about. Give them bonus content. Create an incentive for them to subscribe to your newsletter. Analyze all of your marketing efforts through a reader lens. If you were the reader, would you keep that promo item, or throw it away? Would you tune out that social media blitz or eagerly click the link to see something new and exciting? Work to build relationships with your readers. Love on them. Give them more than they expect. And most important of all - write such a compelling book that they can't help but tell all their friends about it.
Me: Do you have an interesting writing quirk? If so, what is it and how does it help your writing?
KW: I don't think I really have any writing quirks, but because I work full-time and still have three teenagers at home, I have learned from necessity to be very flexible with my writing time. I can start and stop as much as necessary to tend to other issues that come up. I do my best to protect my writing time, but life often gets in the way, and learning to be flexible has become a lifesaver for successfully meeting deadlines.
Me: What do you like to do when you're not writing?
KW: Some of my favorite hobbies include cross-stitching, reading, and watching movies/TV with my family.
Me: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you! If it wasn't for you, I'd have no reason to write. You are a blessing from God.
I can't imagine how busy her life must be with three teenagers around, but I sure am glad she takes the time to feed my cowboy addiction! LOL. -AJ
If you want to know more about Mrs. Witemeyer's books, visit her website.