Voted #1 Reader’s Favorite Christian Historical Author of 2023 by FamilyFiction magazine, bestselling and Carol Award and Christy Award–winning author Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. She and her husband make their home in Abilene, Texas.

In this interview, Karen shares some of her thoughts regarding If the Boot Fits, book two in her Texas Ever After Series.

FF: If the Boot Fits is book two in your Texas Ever After Series. Can you share a little bit about where this series started, and where we are now with book two, and where you plan to go with the rest of the series?
This has been such a fun series to write. I adore fairy tales, and I have enjoyed imagining how they might play out in a Western setting. Book one, Fairest of Heart, focused on the story of Snow White. Book two, If the Boot Fits, will take Cinderella and give it a Texas twist. Our cowboy will take on the role of impoverished stepson and will accidentally leave his boot behind at the fancy cattleman’s ball, where the wealthy daughter of the local cattle king will find it and start a search for the mystery man who fits the boot. Book three, Cloaked in Beauty, coming in December 2024, will mix the tale of Little Red Riding Hood with Sleeping Beauty for a road trip adventure with a wolf companion and a dragon at the end of the journey who must be slain before our hero and heroine can claim their happily ever after.

FF: If you had to choose five words to describe this series to readers, what would they be?
Fairy tale, Cowboys, Adventurous, Romantic, Inventive.

FF: This book flips the script on the classic story of Cinderella. Can you explain a little more about how you chose to revamp this tale and infuse it with your own Western flair?
I was inspired by the classic line from Woody in Toy Story 2, “If the boot fits.” What could be a more perfect premise for a Western Cinderella than to replace the glass slipper with a cowboy boot? That idea led to turning Cinderella into Asher Ellis, a down-on-his-luck cowboy with a stepmother and two brothers to provide for. However, I wanted to mix up more than the roles of hero and heroine. Too many fairy tales cast stepmothers in the role of villain. There are some wonderful, kindhearted, godly women who open their hearts to their stepchildren, and I wanted to honor them. So you won’t find an evil stepmother in this version. Who plays the role of villain, then? That’s a closely guarded secret, but one I hope readers will appreciate.

FF: Can you give us a brief introduction to the characters of Asher Ellis and Samantha Dearing? What should readers know about these two?
Asher Ellis is a hardworking cowboy who’s been supporting his family since his father died when he was eighteen. He sends home nearly all his pay from the distant ranch where he works, and when he learns that Eli Dearing has evicted his stepmother and brothers from their home, he returns to town determined to make the man pay. Samantha Dearing longs to make a difference in the world and to be loved for who she is, not for her inheritance or the connections she brings to her cattle-baron father. Providence brings these two together, but the truth about their families and an unseen evil work to tear them apart.

FF: Why did you think these classic fairy tales still resonate with us today?
Fairy tales carry timeless messages filled with hope. The hope that good will triumph over evil. The hope that true love exists and can be found. The hope that love will last forever. For the Christian reader, these messages resonate on a deeper, spiritual level. For what truer love can there be than a Savior who sacrifices everything for those he loves? The resurrection is the ultimate story of good triumphing over evil, and heaven promises a love that will last for all eternity.

FF: What fun elements and challenges did this series concept present while writing?
I grew up watching the classic Disney versions of these stories, so I had a lot of fun adding little nods to those animated tales. Some are more hidden than others, so the reader can have fun trying to recognize them. The challenge came in making the stories themselves fresh and new while still maintaining the flavor of the fairy tales that inspired them. One of the trickiest parts of plotting out If the Boot Fits was coming up with a logical reason for a cowboy to leave a boot behind. Boots don’t just fall off like a lady’s slipper. In fact, most take a firm tug or a bootjack to dislodge. Once I figured out that piece, the rest began to fall into place.

FF: What lessons can we learn from the characters in If the Boot Fits and their struggles?
One of the big themes of this story is family. How to love and support them, but also how to forgive and be willing to see things from a different perspective. Samantha, in particular, carries a lot of old wounds from her childhood, yet as the story progresses, she learns that a child’s perceptions don’t always provide the full truth of a situation. It is my hope that readers who watch the healing that takes place between Samantha and her father will find the courage and open-mindedness to look at their own strained relationships with new eyes and find healing of their own.

FF: What are you most excited for readers to experience as they pick up this entertaining story?
I hope that readers will feel a warm nostalgia as they enjoy a new tale inspired by a story they likely fell in love with as a child. I hope they get swept up in the adventure, romance, and surprises that keep them turning pages. But most of all, I pray that they find themselves encouraged spiritually as they join Samantha and Asher on their journey.

FF: What aspect of this story did you enjoy writing the most?
I love coming up with character names, especially when I’m paying homage to a classic story. I worked hard to create names that would harken back to the original while still carrying meaning of their own. Instead of Cinderella, we have Asher Ellis—ash being a synonym of cinder, and Ellis playing off of Ella. The three key older ladies of the story all have names inspired by royalty, as befits a fairy tale—Regina, Elizabeth, and Victoria. Asher’s brothers are named Jonathan and Fergus. However, Jonathan goes by Jack, giving a nod to the mice from Disney’s Cinderella, Jaq and Gus. Asher’s horse is named Bruno in honor of the dog who saved Cinderella from the tower room. We have a cattle king with a foreman named Duke as well. There is a special meaning behind Samantha’s name, too, but it plays a role in the story, so I won’t give that away here.

FF: What are you working on next?
Right now, I’m writing book three in the Texas Ever After Series. Cloaked in Beauty will mesh two fairy tales into one adventure, blending Little Red Riding Hood with Sleeping Beauty. This one will be more of a departure from the originals than the first two books, but there will be iconic similarities as well as subtle references that readers will be able to uncover. A woman in a red cape, raised in isolation by a doting grandmother. A birthday that brings her out of hiding yet threatens her life. A dashing hero named Philip who rides a white horse sent to escort her safely to the home she left behind. And a villainous dragon plotting to destroy them both.

If the Boot Fits
Texas Ever After Series #2
Karen Witemeyer
Bethany House
Genres: Historical Romance
Release Date: March 12, 2024

ISBN-10: ‎0764240420
ISBN-13: ‎978-0764240423

Book Summary:
One fateful night will change their destinies forever.

Determined to prove that cattle king Eli Dearing has no justification for evicting his stepmother and half brothers, Asher Ellis uses the cover of a fancy ball to break into the Three Cedars ranch house to search for proof of wrongdoing. On the verge of discovery, he flees, but a boy’s cry compels him to make a daring rescue.

Spunky and independent Samantha Dearing balks when she learns the ball her father is hosting is nothing more than a matrimonial ambush. Taking a break from unwanted suitors, Samantha spots a thief fleeing her home. When the stranger ends up saving her brother’s life, she hides the only clue to his identity left behind—his boot—and resolves to find him herself.

Witemeyer embarks on another Western reimagining of a classic fairy tale with this enchanting story of courage, family, and the power of true love.


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About The Author

Winner of the HOLT Medallion and the Carol Award and a finalist for the RITA and Christy Award, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance to give the world more happily-ever-afters. Karen makes her home in Texas, with her husband and three children.