I have the lovely Karen Witemeyer with me today to chat about her latest series! The setting is an unusual one: an all-women’s colony in rural Texas called Harper’s Station. No Other Will Do and the upcoming Heart on the Line are full-length novels in the series, but this month, Worth the Wait released, a novella-length romance of fiery general store owner Victoria Adams.
I asked Karen to share more about the story and her writing process for it with our blog readers.
Amy: What’s the hardest part of writing a novella? The most fun part?
Karen: The hardest part is also the most fun. Fitting a complete story into a word count that is one-fourth of a standard novel is a challenge, but it is also what makes it so much fun because I get the satisfaction of reaching The End in a quarter of the time! By necessity, I keep things simple and focus on the main story line. With Worth the Wait, the entire novella actually takes place in a single day—the pivotal day that transitions a platonic business relationship into one of romantic courtship. Secret revelations, life-threatening accidents, and little boys with adopted puppies all play a role in bringing Tori and Ben together.
Amy: I hear readers had a role in helping give you idea for the novella. How did that come about?
Karen: Because I’m a rather slow writer, I have very little wiggle room between deadlines. So, as soon as I turn in one manuscript, I must immediately start on the next. Usually, I try to have an idea of the main plot points before I begin, but with Worth the Wait, I was missing several key pieces. My tired brain could only come up with ideas that I’d already used in previous stories. I needed something fresh, but my creative well was dry. So I turned to my readers. I wrote a blog post on August 20, 2015 asking for help. I gave the background of the main characters, then opened it up for brainstorming. Comments poured in and sparked my creativity. There were four ideas in particular that helped shape my final plot. In thanks, I dedicated the novella to the four people who left those comments. Love my readers!
Amy: I saw that original post and thought that was a great idea. Hooray for brainstorming! So, about your main characters. If Tori and Ben had a day entirely to themselves with no obligations, how would they spend it?
Karen: I picture them having a quiet picnic down by the river. Ben teaches Lewis to fish while Tori lays out the blanket and food. After eating, the adults will laze around, cuddling on the blanket while Lewis romps with his pup. When they eventually get back to the store, Tori will put her son to bed then retire to the porch with Ben. They’ll snuggle up together on the bench outside the store—him with his coffee, her with a cup of chamomile tea—and they’ll talk of the future as Ben’s large hand comes to rest on Tori’s rounded belly.
Amy: Do you have any pictures of what you imagine Harper’s Station or Tori’s store to look like?
Karen: Tori’s store isn’t large, since Harper’s Station itself is such a small community. But since it’s the only store, it is filled with a large variety of items. I found a few pictures that fit fairly well with what I had imagined.
How fun! Thanks so much for joining us, Karen! If you’d like to find out more about how Ben was able to win the headstrong general store owner’s heart, check out Worth the Wait.
Readers, what are some interesting elements (plot, character, setting) that you’ve always wanted to see in a novel? Maybe one of our authors will use your comment as inspiration for a future story!