To Win Her Heart: Life After the Fatted Calf
Karen’s Witemeyer started with a A Tailor-Made Bride, a novel that launched her sky-high into the realms of Christian fiction. Now, her third book has been released and she’s giving us her insight into that age-old question, “Where do you get your ideas?”. Welcome, Karen.
Readers often ask me how I come up with the ideas for my books. What is the catalyst that sets my plot in motion? Well, for me the answer varies from book to book. My first novel, A Tailor-Made Bride, started with setting—a dress shop. My second, Head in the Clouds, started with a character—Adelaide Proctor, a teacher who gets into trouble when she tries to create her own happily ever after. For my latest release, To Win Her Heart, the idea started with theme—how does a returned prodigal deal with life after the celebration is over.
Have you ever wished there was an epilogue to Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son? I have. So often we focus on the wonderful homecoming the lost son received, but I wanted to know what life was like for him after the fatted calf was consumed and the party 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? I decided to explore these questions in a new setting—1880s Texas.
First, I needed a prodigal. Enter my hero, Levi Grant. Raised by godly parents, he turns his back on his faith and the blacksmithing trade of his father to prove his manhood and earn easy money through the wild life of a bare-knuckle brawler. Until the day something goes terribly wrong and he ends up in Huntsville state prison serving a two-year sentence. Through the traumatic abuse he suffers in the labor camps combined with the compassion he receives from the prison chaplain, Levi repents and rededicates his life to the Lord.
Our heroine, Eden Spencer, fulfills the role of the parable’s older brother character. She has been disappointed by men in the past and has little tolerance of those who don’t meet her high standards. She cannot abide violence of any kind and believes that elevating young minds through education and exposure to literature will help create a more civilized society. To this purpose, she opens a lending library in her home.
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 the truth about his prodigal past comes to light, our tarnished hero must fight to win back the librarian’s affections.
This is a story about learning to see people through God’s lens instead of one distorted by self-righteousness or past hurts. It is a tale of grace, both given and received, and the power of second chances.
Of course, there’s plenty of humor and adventure along the way as well. Not to mention the character quirks. I love giving my characters unique habits or hobbies that make them human and memorable. In To Win Her Heart you’ll find a burly, masculine hero who goes to great lengths to hide his speech impediment and a heroine with a passion for pressed flowers who happens to kill every plant she tries to cultivate.
Thanks for giving us some insight into what sparks your creativity, Karen.
Karen lives in Abilene, TX with her hunky, computer nerd husband and their three children who think it’s cool that their mom writes books even if the people on her covers usually have no heads. Karen is an avid cross-stitcher, shower singer, and bakes a mean apple cobbler. Recently, her debut novel, A Tailor-Made Bride, was named a RITA® Finalist in the category of Best First Book. For more information about Karen, visit her website at www.karenwitemeyer.com. Readers may also connect with her on Facebook.
Karen wants to know: What are some of your favorite character quirks from novels you’ve read?
Wow, sounds great. I loved A Tailor-Made Bride and look forward to reading Karen’s other books, especially the one she spoke of here. Love that parable.
Thanks, Sandy. 🙂
I’ll be doing a review of To Win Her Heart in a couple of weeks, Heidi. I haven’t reached the end quite yet, but I’m enjoying it very much.
My favorite character quirks include 16-year-old Erika’s reaction to visiting China with her mentor and friend Monica in my book, Green Light Red Light, a YA/family book. Watching her grow and change in a new-to-her atmosphere is interesting. I came away challenged to follow the Lord completely, as Erika does.