*You can earn up to 6 entries in this giveaway. See below for details.*
Today author Karen Witemeyer is telling us about her new book, A Tailor-Made Bride. She has offered an autographed copy of her book to one lucky commenter. She will also be stopping by throughout the week to answer your questions! So if you have anything you want to ask her, you can include it in your comment for entering the contest. If you are only leaving a question in the comment and not entering the giveaway please say so.
Welcome, Karen! Tell us a little about yourself.
How long have you been writing? How many books do you have published?
I started writing with intent to publish in 2003. I sold a couple of short pieces to magazines and anthologies along the way, but my first contract for full-length novels came in January of 2009. A Tailor-Made Bride is my first novel. My second, Head in the Clouds, will be released in October.
If you compared your writing style to any other Christian Fiction author, who would it be? Also, how would you rate the romance in you books?
I think my writing style is similar to Cathy Marie Hake, Vickie McDonough, and Tamera Alexander. I try to incorporate humor, drama, adventure, and spiritual depth into my stories for an entertaining and uplifting read. I would say that the level of romance in my books could be considered PG. Romance is central to the plot, and you will find a couple kissing scenes. One reviewer recently described my romance as sizzling without sizzling. There is love and attraction, yet everything is kept very chaste.
In your own words tell us a little about A Tailor-Made Bride.
A Tailor-Made Bride is a fun-filled romp in which a feisty seamstress tangles with a set-in-his-ways livery owner in 1880s Texas. Hannah sees beauty as a gift to be shared while Jericho judges her fancy goods as nothing but vanity. However, when his sister befriends Hannah and solicits her help in catching a beau, Jericho discovers that Coventry's new dressmaker is far from the shallow creature he expected. But gaining her favor would require exposing his wounded heart. Can two stubborn people learn to stop judging and instead choose love?
Hannah Richards is confounded by the man who runs the livery. The unsmiling fellow riles her with his arrogant assumptions and gruff manner while at the same time stirring her heart with unexpected acts of kindness. Which side of Jericho Tucker reflects the real man?
When Hannah decides to help Jericho's sister catch a beau--leading to uproarious consequences for the whole town--will Jericho and Hannah find a way to bridge the gap between them?
What made you want to write this story?
It all started with a question: What happens when believers disagree about what the Christian life should look like?
Hannah Richards believes she is being a good steward of the talents the Lord has blessed her with by turning her needle to creating dresses that are pleasing to look upon. She is imitating the Creator God who designed wildflowers, rainbows, and sunsets.
Jericho Tucker, on the other hand, believes that fancy dress goods encourage women to focus their attention on vain, superficial beauty instead of the inner attributes of a gentle and quiet spirit that Scripture promotes as true loveliness.
Both are right. Yet both see the other as wrong. By throwing Jericho's sister Cordelia into the mix, I forced these two characters to face their differences and learn from each other, to mend those tears of condemnation with threads of grace.
What research did you have to do for this book?
As in any historical novel, there is a barrage of research that must be done. Since my heroine is a seamstress I researched a lot of fashion plates from that time period as well as sewing machines and fabrics. One specific are that required additional research was the calisthenic regimen Hannah engages in every morning.
You see, I wanted to create a Victorian-era makeover, but to do that, I first had to discover if people in the 1880s were aware of the health and weight loss benefits of physical exercise. As it turns out, the 19th century was a time of great social reform, and one such movement included the promotion of physical exercise for women and children.
I modeled Hannah's daily routine after exercises found in a manual published in 1862 entitled The New Gymnastics for Men, Women, and Children by Dio Lewis. It included the use of small wooden dumbbells, exercise rings, and Indian clubs (think bowling pins that you swing in large arcs), all of which make an appearance in A Tailor-Made Bride. Dr. Lewis was a pioneer in the fitness movement and is largely responsible for the inclusion of physical education in today's schools.
Who would you pick to play the lead roles if this book was made into a movie?
My current work in progress, recently titled To Win Her Heart is a story set in the late 1880s that asks the question – what happens after the prodigal son returns? So many times, we focus on the wonderful homecoming the lost son received from his father, but have you ever asked what life was like for him after the celebration was over? How did he relate to his bitter older brother or the servants and townspeople who were only too aware of his past arrogance and wild living?
In my third book, I play on those very questions. My hero is a man recently released from prison who has returned to his faith roots and rededicated his life to the Lord. The heroine is a woman who has been disappointed by men in the past and has little tolerance of those who don't meet her high standards. In an effort to make a clean start, Levi hides his past and Eden believes she has finally found a man of honor and integrity. But when his secret is revealed will both their futures be shattered?
How can readers get in contact with you?
I would love to have readers visit my Web site at: http://karenwitemeyer.com. You can find fun information about the hobbies and interests of the characters featured in A Tailor-Made Bride as well as sign up for my monthly book giveaways and receive a free a download for a biblical fiction piece inspired by the life of Rahab.
You can also find me on Facebook. Come by and visit anytime. I'd love to hear from you!
What are you currently reading?
I recently finished reading Julie Klassen's The Silent Governess. This book received the coveted Christy award this year for Christian historical romance. It is an intriguing regency story full of mystery and rich in well-researched historical detail. A very pleasant read.
Tell us something surprising about yourself that readers may not know.
Hmm…something readers may not know. Well, I sing with a local community chorus. I love roller coasters. And I hate peas. How about that? I also cross-stitch, administer collegiate tests for my day job, and love old Hollywood musicals. I could go on, but that was probably more than anybody wanted to know.
If you could be any animal, which would you choose? Why?
This question makes me laugh. In grade school one of my close friends and I decided we would choose unique animals for our favorites. Most of the other girls chose horses or kittens or puppy dogs. We wanted no part in that. She selected the armadillo, and I latched onto the stately hippopotamus. I even traveled to Africa on a mission trip once and started a collection of carved hippo figurines. However, as a woman who will admit to being a tad self-conscious about her appearance, I can't quite manage to answer that I see myself as a hippopotamus. That doesn't paint a terribly flattering picture, does it?
So instead of a hippo, I'm going to say that I am a kangaroo. With three young children who love to have Mama carry them around (even though they're getting much too big for that), many times I feel like I have my own pouch. Or should. And since motherhood fills such a large part of my identity, I wanted to select an animal that emphasized that nurturing aspect. In the Hundred Acre Wood, I would definitely be Kanga.
The time it snowed in southern California where I grew up, and I got to take a sample to school for show and tell.
Era to write about?
What is/was this book’s release date?
A Tailor-Made Bride released in June 2010.
Do you have a link to a place to read the first chapter of this book?
(This is an excerpt, not the first chapter.)
**USA residents only, please**
Okay readers, here is your chance to win an autographed copy of A Tailor-Made Bride!
*Leave a comment with your name and email address (so I can contact you if you win). The comment is mandatory. You will not be entered unless you leave a comment AND your email address.
*If you leave a comment you will be entered unless you specify that you would not like to be entered.
*Here are the ways to get entries:
(First entry) The mandatory comment saying you would like to be entered with your email address.
+1 Become one of my followers OR subscribe to my blog by email.
Read and leave a comment on one of my recent book reviews.
+2 So Over It
+2 Enter my other giveaway of Divine Appointment: Our Journey to the Bridge.
**You can earn a total of 6 entries if you do all of the above entry options. Make sure to tell me in your entry comment on this post which of the things you did to get extra entries.**
*The contest will run from today (July 30) until 6:00 CST on Thursday (August 5). I will announce the winner that night. The winner is always randomly drawn. I will contact the winner on Friday the 6th, and then that person will have one week to reply. If the winner doesn't reply within that time period, I will pick a new winner.
Good luck! Thanks for visiting.