I’m so thrilled to welcome historical romance author and sweet friend, Karen Witemeyer to Romancing History today. I had the pleasure of meeting Karen at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in 2016, but I’d been a fan of her books way before that. In fact, meeting Karen in person was similar to a little girl meeting her favorite Disney princess.
Karen’s newest release, In Honor’s Defense, released June 7 and is the 3rd book in her Hanger’s Horseman series. Here’s a link to my review on BookBub.
And don’t forget to visit the Giveaway section below and enter to win a print copy of In Honor’s Defense and a pair of bookish socks (sorry, giveaway open to U.S. residents only). Many thanks to Karen for her generous donation for our drawing.
Before we chat with Karen, here’s a little bit about her and her new book.
For those who love to smile as they read, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. Voted #1 Readers’ Favorite Christian Romance Author in 2019 by Family Fiction Magazine, Karen is a multiple award-winning author and a firm believer in the power of happy endings. She is an avid cross-stitcher, tea drinker, and gospel hymn singer who makes her home in Abilene, TX with her heroic husband who vanquishes laundry dragons and dirty dish villains whenever she’s on deadline.
Connect with Karen:
About the Book
Luke Davenport has been fighting all his life–for respect, for country, and for those unable to fight for themselves. But now that his Horsemen brothers are domesticated, he’s left alone to battle the wildness within. When an opportunity arises to take a job on his own, tracking down a group of rustlers, he jumps at the chance.
Damaris Baxter has mastered the art of invisibility. Plain and quiet, she hides in books and needlework, content to be overlooked. Until her brother dies suddenly, leaving her custody of her nephew. She moves to Texas to care for Nathaniel, determined to create the family for herself that she never thought she’d have and to give him the family he desperately needs.
When Nate finds himself knee-deep in trouble, Luke’s attempt to protect him leaves Damaris feeling indebted to the Horseman. But suspicions grow regarding the mysterious death of Damaris’s brother. And the more questions they ask, the more danger appears, threatening the family Luke may be unable to live without.
Interview with Karen Witemeyer
1. Colin Firth or Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy? (I should warn you, there is only ONE right answer, LOL!)!
Colin Firth – He was my first Mr. Darcy and remains my favorite. (Excellent answer, Karen!)
2. Night Owl or Early Bird?
Early Bird. It’s rare for me to stay awake past 10:30 pm.
3. Dark or Milk chocolate? Dark.
4. Downton Abbey or Call the Midwife?
Downton Abbey – although I only watched the first few seasons.
5. Kindle, Audio book, or Paperback?
Tough call – I use all three. I’ll go traditional, though, and say paperback.
Me, too, but I tend to listen to more audio books these days.
Q & A
RH: You’re a pretty well-known author to Romancing History readers. Rather than giving us the typical back of the book author bio, please share something quirky about yourself?
KW: Here are a few random quirks you might not know about me:
- I love groan-worthy puns
- I’m super competitive when it comes to board games (though my sweet disposition masks my desire to stomp my opponents into the ground)
- I can’t start writing for the day until I’ve cleared out all the unread email in my inbox.
- My feet are perpetually cold, so I always have a pair of socks on when lounging around the house.
- In keeping with the previous item, I collect book-related socks.
- I am a horrible horticulturist. Only the hearty survive.
- I love avocados but hate guacamole.
RH: Those are absolutely fun quirks! As a member of the Posse, I’ve learned about your propensity for puns, which by the way, I also find very punny. I also knew you loved board games but had no idea you were so competitive. You are too sweet so I’m finding that very hard to believe. Fans of romantic fiction love a cute meet. How did you and your hubby meet?
KW: We met at church my freshman year in college. I recognized his roommate from a church camp reunion I attended back in California where I was from, and the three of us became good friends. My husband often led singing at our church, and one Sunday I happened to be sitting in the pew next to him when he was leading singing (we were not yet dating). After services, an elderly member came up to shake his hand and asked to be introduced to his wife – indicating me! It became a joke with us until the day we went out to lunch to celebrate our faux anniversary and Wes admitted he had true feelings for me and wanted to change our faux dates into real ones. Things progressed from there, and this month we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. The happily-ever-after is still in full swing.
RH: Aww, that is such a sweet story. Friends is the best way to start. It’s the foundation of everything. Speaking of love—well, book love anyway—I have LOVED the Hangar’s Horseman series. Matt and his compadres are swoon worthy heroes. Can I be terribly indiscreet and ask if you had a favorite horseman?
KW: That’s such a hard question! I love them all for different reasons. Matt for his courage, leadership, and dependability. Mark for his ability to tease and laugh while still being a man of depth. Jonah for his quiet strength, compassionate nature, and the way he never shirks away from something just because it’s hard. Luke for his protective nature, sacrificial spirit, and dedication to God’s Word. If I had to pick, I’d probably pick Luke because he is freshest on my mind, and because I’m a sucker for a wounded hero. Luke’s backstory made me ache to write him the sweetest happy ending I could.
RH: Hahaha! Aren’t I mean? I agree that was a hard question and I would’ve answered the same—with a wonderful reason why each would deserve the title of “My Favorite Hanger’s Horseman Hero.” That’s probably because you excel at writing swoon worthy heroes. That brings another question to mind. What do you think is the most difficult thing about writing characters of the opposite sex?
KW: I love writing the male point of view. Maybe because I like believing that I know what a man is thinking. Ha! However, it can be challenging to make the male POV sound authentic. I’m a natural explainer. I love giving lots of details and rationales. I like to look at things from all angles. Yet, when I’m writing in the male POV, I have to curtail these more feminine tendencies. Sentences must be shorter. Decisive. To the point. Fewer descriptions. More action. My cowboy heroes are not likely to be thinking in long, poetic phrases about their ladies, and they sure won’t be talking that way. Finding the balance between giving myself and my female readers the romance we want from our leading men while still being authentic to their characters requires a deft hand, one I’m constantly working to perfect.
RH: I think those are excellent points. While I love your humility, it would be hard to imagine anyone better at writing the male POV than you. Preach was a favorite of mine throughout the series and I was anxiously waiting to see who he’d “ride off into the sunset with.” Preach and his leading lady, Damaris Baxter, are very different characters in everything except faith. Does that make a romance easier or harder to write?
KW: I love to explore what brings people together, and while it’s a common idea that opposites attract, I’ve always believed that there must be some core commonalities beneath the differences to bind a couple together for a lifetime. So, while Luke and Damaris seem to be stark opposites—he an adventure-seeking soldier used to solving problems with guns and fists; she a quiet, proper lady used to escaping problems with books and needlework—they actually have several core commonalities. They both seek belonging and family, they both value God’s Word, and they both have a strong, protective instinct toward those they care about. This core common ground is what serves as the foundation for their relationship.
RH: Speaking of Damaris, she seems by far the most timid of all the ladies in the Hangar’s Horsemen series. Why did you choose that personality type for her?
KW: It’s challenging as an author to create fresh characters for every book. Each heroine needs to be unique. I love strong, feisty heroines, yet I believe there are different types of strength. Damaris has a quieter strength. She’s introverted and shy, content to be invisible in most situations, yet she has a steel core when it comes to family. She will never give up on them and do whatever it takes to keep them safe and heal their emotional wounds. Luke looks like a mountain of a man from the outside—tall, muscular, good in a fight—yet deep down he carries hidden vulnerabilities that convince him he is not worthy of being loved or having a family. Damaris is timid on the outside, but she is an emotional lioness inside. The two fit together perfectly, each having what the other needs to be whole.
RH: I love that. Do you have a favorite quote from In Honor’s Defense?
KW: This is one of my favorites:
“He’s a Horseman…As opposite from my quiet bookish existence as one can be. Yet he actively seeks my opinion. Not only seeks it but honors it. Honors me. He looks at me as if I were a rare treasure he’d never thought he’d find, and when I look at him…It’s as if all my odd, misshaped edges finally fit somewhere.”
That is a great quote, and fits in perfectly with what we’ve been talking about—how opposites attract but need a common foundation to support the relationship, often fitting together like a jigsaw puzzle only the other can complete.
Just for fun, here’s one of my favorite quotes from In Honor’s Defense:
“I’ll stay as long as you need me.” The promise he made days ago reflected in his eyes.
Her heart thumped out the question she didn’t have the courage to ask out loud. What if I need you forever?
RH: Sigh. That quote still gives me goosies! This is the final installment of the Hangar’s Horsemen series. Did that make it bittersweet to write? Or is there a certain satisfaction in bringing their stories to completion?
KW: It’s always hard to say goodbye to favorite characters, yet I find great satisfaction in bringing a series to its conclusion. I loved bringing all the Horsemen back together in this story, giving them all a final moment to shine and celebrating the special bond of brotherhood they share. I like to imagine them continuing to live and love and adventure together as they raise their children and overcome the obstacles of life. They live on in my heart, hopefully inspiring me to be brave, to stand up for those the world dismisses, and to hold tight to the relationships that matter most.
RH: Dang, Karen, you’re gonna make me cry. Whenever I tell my husband that a character’s story is making me teary, he asks if we should pray for them? LOL! But, I suppose that’s because the author has skillfully made them come to life, made them our friends and we’re deeply invested in their lives (a.k.a. stories). Any chance we can get a sneak peek at what’s next for you?
KW: I’m starting a new series where I will take familiar fairy tales and give them a Texas twist. I’m working on a version of Snow White first, featuring a Texas Ranger hero, a villainess with a fondness for mirrors, and seven retired drovers at the Diamond D ranch. Should be fun!
RH: That’s such a great idea! I loved how you did you put a Texas twist on A Christmas Carol in your novella, Under the Texas Mistletoe. I’m looking forward to your new series.
I had so much fun chatting with you, Karen. Thanks for visiting with my readers today.
Karen has graciously offered an autographed copy of In Honor’s Defense and a pair of bookish socks to one Romancing History reader.** To enter, tell me your first Karen Witemeyer story.