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Last week we talked about different women in the Bible, and Ruth was a common favorite. What fun to discover she had a part in inspiring today’s author, too! I’m excited to have Karen Witemeyer back to visit and share her newest release, The Christmas Heirloom. Before we begin, let’s take a peek at the stories that make up this collection.
In Kristi Ann Hunter‘s “Legacy of Love,” Sarah Gooding never suspected returning a brooch to an elderly woman would lead to a job . . . and introduce her to the woman’s grandson, a man far above her station.
In Karen Witemeyer‘s “Gift of the Heart,” a widow and her young daughter move to Hope Springs for a fresh start, but with no money to secure a home, Ruth must convince a wealthy resort owner to accept her heirloom brooch as collateral. Will the pin that brought love to three generations soften the heart of a wounded recluse and give Ruth a second chance at love?
In Sarah Loudin Thomas‘s “A Shot at Love,” Fleeta Brady’s rough-and-tumble childhood means she prefers hunting to more feminine activities. She never expected her family’s brooch might be how a fellow hunter turns her attention from competition to romance.
In Becky Wade‘s “Because of You,” Maddie Winslow has spent years in love with a man whose heart was already spoken for. When a church Christmas project brings them together and she stumbles upon an old family brooch, might it finally be her turn for love?
Welcome back, Karen! What inspired you to write this collection?
The Christmas Heirloom novella collection was inspired by friendship and a passion for Christmas stories. At a writing conference back in 2016, Kristi Ann Hunter and I started brainstorming ways we could work together on a collection that somehow spanned our two very different historical eras—regency England and 1890’s Texas. Perhaps a British character could immigrate. Maybe a family heirloom could be handed down across the generations. Excitement began to build. But a collection needs more than two authors. If each leap of time covered three generations, they would need someone who could write in the 1950’s era as well as a contemporary author. Enter the perfect duo: Sarah Loudin Thomas and Becky Wade. Sarah and Becky joined the collection with very little arm twisting required, and the collection was complete.
My story, Gift of the Heart, is loosely inspired by the Ruth and Boaz story of the Bible. Not only that, but my Facebook Posse helped me brainstorm this story and inspired some wonderful ideas—like a wounded hero in need of the healing waters his resort peddles and a matchmaking cat named Theodore.
How fun! Why did you choose this particular setting, and have you been there?
The fictional town of Hope Springs was based on the actual town of Mineral Wells, TX. I pass signs for Mineral Wells every time I drive down the highway, but I’ve never actually visited, even though it is only about 2 hours from where I live in Abilene. The history surrounding Mineral Wells, is fascinating, though, and I incorporated much of that history into the resort town of Hope Springs.
In 1877, James Lynch and his family settled in the hills of Palo Pinto County. Water was scarce, so in 1880, they had a well drilled. The water tasted odd, but it didn’t seem to hurt the livestock, so the family started drinking it as well. James and his wife both suffered from rheumatism, and James suffered from complications of malaria. Soon after they started drinking the water, however, they began to feel better. News of the “healing waters” spread quickly and within a month strangers started showing up asking about the water. Lynch’s well produced 100 gallons a day, but he soon struggled to meet demands. With the popularity of the site, however, the city of Mineral Wells was born, and developers arrived to drill more wells and establish hotels where bottled mineral water would be sold. By the turn of the century there were bathhouses, drinking pavilions, and spas throughout the city. The most famous brand was Crazy Water named because of the elderly lady who drank from the well twice a day and eventually overcame her dementia. The story could indeed be true, for the well water contains a significant amount of lithium, which is used to treat various mental health disorders today.
My hero, Bo Azlin suffers nerve pain and came in search of a cure when he heard about healing waters in Texas. When the drinking and bathing treatments offered him some relief, he invested in the town and built his resort to minister to others who suffered pain and sickness.
Interesting how what’s considered superstition may actually have some scientific basis. What do you hope your readers take away from this novel?
The overriding theme of this book is hope. Ruth believes her one chance at true love lies in the past with her dead husband. She doesn’t expect to find love again and focuses all her energy on providing for her daughter. Bo believes that while women might be attracted to his bank account, no one will look past his injury to appreciate the man himself. Yet hope springs in this town, and two lonely hearts find healing and love with each other. Never give up hope.
We all need a reminder sometimes to hold onto hope. We’d love to learn more about a few of your favorites. What is your:
Favorite color? Purple.
Favorite season? Spring.
Favorite beverage? Hot tea with honey.
Favorite animal? Hippopotamus.
Favorite ice cream flavor? Chocolate chip.
What are you reading right now?
I’m currently reading Misty Beller’s The Treacherous Journey. I recently had the opportunity to meet Misty in person at the American Christian Fictions Writers Conference and had a delightful time connecting with her. If you like rugged mountain men and adventurous plotlines, give her books a try!
Oh, fun! Another book for our lists… 😉 Can you give any hints about what you’re working on now?
I am currently working on rewrites for my next full-length novel, More Than Words Can Say. For those who read Evangeline and Logan’s story in More Than Meets the Eye, you’ll remember Evie’s older brother, Zach. This is his story. I couldn’t let that hunky hero go without giving him his own happily ever after.
Yay! I can’t wait to read it! Thanks for taking the time to visit with us today, Karen!
Your turn! I’m looking forward to reading all four of the stories in this collection. Which time period appeals most to you?
More about Karen:
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. A transplant from California, Karen came to Texas for college, met a cowboy disguised as a computer nerd, married him, and never left the state that had become home. Winner of the ACFW Carol Award, National Reader’s Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, and a finalist for both the RITA® and Christy Awards, Karen is a firm believer in the power of happy endings. . . and ice cream. Learn more at www.karenwitemeyer.com or join her private Facebook group-The Posse.
Christmas Heirloom Giveaway:
Karen has generously offered to give away one autographed print copy of The Christmas Heirloom to a US winner. Giveaways are subject to the Giveaway Policy.