Welcome everyone! This week I’m thrilled to introduce Keli Gwyn, author of inspirational historical romance. I met Keli through blogging and we quickly became online friends. We clicked as we shared the same interest in reading and writing historical fiction.
|Author - Keli Gwyn|
On July 1, Keli’s debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop In El Dorado, California, was released. I’m reading her book now, and so far have found it a very delightful read. Keli takes you back to the 1870’s. Her characters hold you spellbound as the pages turn.
We are giving away a copy of her novel! To be entered in the drawing, all you have to do is answer Keli's question (it’s in bold and purple) at the end of the interview, or for those who have trouble commenting on Blogger, leave your answer on my Facebook Author Page . The winner of Keli's book will be drawn at random next Sunday, July 22, 2012, at 6pm CDT, and announced on next week’s blog post.
Love Is Gold in El Dorado, California
Widow Elenora Watkins heads to California with her nine-year-old daughter, Tildy, eager to become a partner in a mercantile. When the mulish owner withdraws his offer because she’s a woman, she opens her own shop. She’s determined to prove herself capable of running a successful business without the help of anyone—including her controlling father, her seemingly distant heavenly Father, and one Miles Rutledge.
Widower Miles Rutledge is not about to get involved with another willful woman like his late wife, especially when she’s his competition. But the beautiful Elenora may be too hard to resist. When another man appears out to claim Elenora’s heart, Miles searches for a way to win her back. . .while putting her out of business.
Meanwhile, Maude Rutledge, Miles’s meddling mother, longs to see her son make a good match. And Tildy is just as bent on gaining a loving papa.
The battle of wills begins, but can anyone win when the competition is more than they bargained for?
I’ve asked Keli five questions. I hope you enjoy the interview.
Your lovely debut novel is titled, A Bride Opens Shop In El Dorado, California. How long have you been writing novels? Is this your first?
I began writing novel-length stories in January 2006. During my first two years of writing, I completed five historical romances. I was writing in isolation, which is why I was able to write so quickly.
When I finaled in the Golden Heart® in 2008, I discovered the wonderful world of writers online. I also learned how much I had to learn about writing and took a year off to study craft.
When I returned to my writing, I took a good hard look at the stories I’d written, chose the strongest of them to rewrite, and did just that. After finishing, I entered the story in contests, garnering several wins and requests, one from my agent, Rachelle Gardner. She had me rewrite the story again, submitted it, and sold it. That story—the third one I wrote—became my debut novel.
The book is a work of historical fiction. What inspired you to choose 1870—El Dorado, California as a setting?
I’m a California native and love the historic Gold Country where I live. I wanted to bring the area to life in my stories. While El Dorado is a sleepy suburb now, it was a thriving town in its heyday. When I read about the town’s leading merchant, a mercantile owner named James B. Wetherwax, I was intrigued and wanted to know more about him. However, I couldn’t find much information, but being a writer, I could imagine such a man—and I created the hero of my story.
Widower Miles Rutledge has the most successful business in town, the most impressive building, and is well liked, but he doesn’t have a woman in his life. Along comes Elenora Watkins and her shop across the street. Since women could own businesses in California from the early days, I knew I had a viable set-up for the story.
They say that there is a bit of each of us in all of our characters. Which character in the book is most like you, and why?
Oh, how I’d like to say Elenora’s fun, adventure-loving daughter, Tildy, but I must be honest. There’s quite a bit of me in Elenora. Like her, I’m a lousy cook. She has an excuse, though. Her Pa’s housekeeper didn’t want her underfoot, so she didn’t have an opportunity to learn. Ellie’s organizational bent comes from me. In my pre-writing days, I was one of those who had “a place for everything, and everything in its place.” These days I’ve learned to live with more clutter than I thought I could endure, so Ellie would show me up. If you ask my daughter, she would tell you Ellie’s over-protectiveness comes from me. While I have entrusted our college daughter to the Lord’s care these days and don’t worry about her overmuch, that wasn’t the case when I was a young, inexperienced mom.
I like to think Ellie and I share some positive traits, too. She’s determined, and so am I. She has a quick wit. While that’s not a trait I recognize in myself, Gwynly assures me Ellie’s use of humor and the way she comes back with some fun rejoinders reminds him of me. And, like Ellie, I don’t spend a whole lot of time on my appearance. I’ve got my hair and makeup routine down to a fast five minutes, and that works for me.
Is there a sequel or series planned?
My book is part of Barbour’s Destination Romances line. Each book is a standalone by a different author, so I don’t foresee any sequels at this point, but I’ll admit to liking the idea. There’s a certain shy sheriff I’d love to see find a woman just right for him. And wouldn’t it be fun to see if Tildy ends up with Will and Pearl’s son, Paul, or with one of the “troublesome” Talbot twins?
What do you read for enjoyment, Keli?
Historical romances. Wagonloads of ’em! They’re my favorite reads. Now you know why I write them. :-)
Keli, it’s been a pleasure having you here today. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to visit.
Thanks so much for having me here as your guest, Loree. Spending time with you and your blog’s visitors is a treat. I enjoyed answering your questions, and now I have one for all of you. I admitted to being a lousy cook. What’s something you don’t do all that well?
Great question, Keli. Truth be told, as for me, I can't sing very well. In fact, I cannot carry a tune for more than a few seconds. I do sing, but it's pretty awful, so awful that even the dogs run into the other room when I sing. Haha...it's the truth.
We would love to hear from you!
Between you, me and the gatepost,
To learn more about Keli, you can visit her new Victorian-style cyber home at - www.keligwyn.com - where you'll find her parlor, study, carriage house, and more, along with her blog and her social media links.