Tuesday, February 12, 2013

To Win Her Heart ~ A Peek at My Bookshelf

I'm very excited to welcome Karen Witemeyer to the drawing room today! She's here sharing with us about her book To Win Her Heart.

When I read my first Karen Witemeyer book, I fell in love. With the hero, the heroine, and the author.

If you read a lot of romance, you're familiar with the large, handsome hero with a great deal of physical prowess and the ability to protect his woman from everything from a spider to an overzealous admirer. You've never seen him the way he's done in Karen Witemeyer's To Win Her Heart.

Levi Grant is a man trying to live down his past after coming to know Christ as an adult. Combined with his ... flaw - you'll have to read the book to find out what that is - and his charming humility you will be rooting for him from page one.

The heroine, Eden Spencer, is a woman who's always known who she is and what her world is made of. But her world is thrown into a tumult when everything she knows is questioned by the people and changes around her.

To Win Her Heart is a captivating story that will touch your heart in so many ways. There is one particular scene where your emotions are pulled in so many directions that you really don't know what you hope will happen. I won't ruin that part of the story by telling too much about it. Be prepared to lose some sleep with this one because you won't want to put it down.

About To Win Her Heart:

Having completed his sentence for the unintentional crime that derailed his youthful plans for fame and fortune, Levi Grant looks to start over in the town of Spencer, Texas. Spencer needs a blacksmith, a trade he learned at his father's knee, and he needs a place where no one knows his past. But small towns leave little room for secrets...

Eden Spencer has sworn off men, choosing instead to devote her time to the lending library she runs. When a mountain-sized stranger walks through her door and asks to borrow a book, she steels herself against the attraction he provokes. His halting speech and hesitant manner leave her doubting his intelligence. Yet as the mysteries of the town's new blacksmith unfold, Eden discovers hidden depths in him that tempt her heart. 

Levi's renewed commitment to his faith leads Eden to believe she's finally found a man of honor and integrity, a man worthy of her love. But when the truth about his prodigal past comes to light, can this tarnished hero find a want to win back the librarian's affections? 

And now please welcome Karen Witemeyer!

First, I have to ask, how do you pronounce your name? I've heard white-my-er, witt-a-my-er, and witt-my-er. Which is right? 

I pronounce it Wit-a-my-er. Although even within our family, different versions arise. The most common mispronunciation is White-my-er. But I'll answer to anything. I'm not picky.

Your fifth book is coming out this summer, but you already have some amazing credits to your name, including a Carol award for To Win Her Heart. Does it still make your heart flutter to open the box of author copies? What was it like the first time you held one of your own books in your hands? 

Holding my book for the first time is always a thrill. In fact, my favorite part is flipping it over to see the back
cover. That's the one part of the book I never see until I have it in my hand. I've seen the cover (usually months ahead of the release), I'm intimately acquainted with all the words inside, but the back cover remains a mystery until I'm actually holding the book in my hands. It's the last little surprise, and it's always sweet.

With my first book, I did a little dance around the kitchen and showed it off to my kids. My daughter grinned and hugged me. Then my oldest son took one look at the cover and said, "That's great, Mom, but they don't have any heads." LOL. My cover models were only shown from the torso down. But it was my youngest son who made the biggest impact on me. He was only 8 at the time, and he knew I was writing novels. But when he saw an actual book with my name on the cover, just like the book he saw in the school library, it finally sank in, and awe swept over his little face. "Mom, you wrote a book." It mimicked my own wonder.

To Win Her Heart was the first book of yours I read and it was actually recommended to me by someone who doesn't normally read Christian fiction and doesn't even affiliate herself with a religion or church. What sorts of ministry experiences have your books created for you? 

How wonderful! I love hearing stories like this. It is amazing to me how God can touch lives through stories. I write primarily for a Christian audience, but God finds ways to put my books in non-believers hands as well, and it is humbling to learn about what comes from those encounters. Any growth that occurs is not because of me. I'm just the farmer scattering seeds, praying that some find fertile soil. God is the one who gives the increase. And when he does, I rejoice.

What has been your favorite "author moment" since you started writing books? 

It's hard to pick. The first time I saw my book on the shelves in Wal-Mart? Or there was the time a random stranger came up to me in a restaurant and asked if I was Karen Witemeyer, the AUTHOR. That was a thrill. And of course, last fall when they called my name as the winner of the Carol Award, I could barely contain my excitement. But truly, my favorite author moments are when I hear from readers who have been touched by my stories. Those are always the best and most satisfying, for that is why I write--to glorify God and encourage his people.

It you could go back to before you were published and give yourself any piece of advice, what would it be? 

Don't stress. Trust God to work things out in his timing. Before I was published, I put so much pressure on myself. I had to learn everything right then, perfect everything right then, be the best right then. This drive did help me grow in my craft and become the author I am today, so I wouldn't wish for it to disappear. However, all the worry and anxiety still creeps up from time to time, even as a published author. I worry that the book I'm writing won't be as good as the last one. I worry that I won't come up with any more fun story ideas. I get stressed as deadlines approach and marketing demands kick into gear. Yet, little-by-little, I'm learning to let go of more of the stress, only bite off what I can chew, and trust God to get me through. He's been faithful time and time again. It's the wisdom I would pass back to my younger self as well as to any unpublished writers who are still struggling to find their place in the publishing world.

Thank you so much, Karen, for stopping by! It's been a joy to have you. You can learn more about Karen by visiting her website, www.KarenWitemeyer.com.

You can buy To Win Her Heart  at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, Christian Book Distributors, and many local bookstores.

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