"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so some people have entertained angels without knowing it." - Hebrews 13:2

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Bride Opens Shop and A Giveaway With Author, Keli Gwyn!

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.


Lynda R Young said...

Even in isolation, I think completing five novels in two years is impressive!

Melissa Tagg said...

Yay for Keli! I love, love her book!! And Tildy...yes, I'd so love to see a sequel for her someday. :)

Something I don't do well: Wait.

But I'm working on it.

Also...walking in heels. Yeah, not my forte.

Lindsay Harrel said...

I love Keli and am loving her book!! Something I don't do well is draw. My stick figures look demented and just...not proportionate. :P

Beth K. Vogt said...

I just finished reading your novel, Keli -- and I loved it! Your attention to historical detail was wonderful.
As far as what I don't do well?
Let's just say I gave away my sewing machine years ago -- and have never missed the blasted thing.

Brenda Stimely said...

Really enjoyed this interview. Thanks.

Soemthing I don't do well...socialize. Seems silly, but I'm shy and put me in a crowd of people I don't know and I'm super uncomfortable! That's why God paired me with a very social hubby---he sticks by my side!


Loree Huebner said...

Lynda: I agree. 5 novels in a two year span is amazing.

Melissa: I don't walk in heels very well either...haha

Lindsay: I can draw landscapes but not people...mine look like stick figures too.

Beth: Sewing LOL! Sounds as if at least you tried. I wish I could sew. My mother-in-law can make anything, but I can sew a button.

Brenda: Welcome here! It's amazing how God gives us what we need. Your hubby sounds terrific. I have you in for drawing!

Thanks for stopping in everyone!

Ava Walker Jenkins said...

Great interview! I haven't read the book yet, but can't wait to do so.

Something I cannot do well, and never have, is . . . dancing.
I'm tall, lanky and devoid of graceful movement. Think of a stiff praying mantis attempting a saucy cha-cha step and you have a pretty accurate picture of me on a dance floor. Guess that's why I love "Dancing with the Stars". I'm totally fascinated by people who can do what I can't.

Jessica R. Patch said...

I thought about Tildy with a Talbot boy when I was reading!! I'd love to read that!
Great interview, ladies!

Keli Gwyn said...

What fun comments. I'm off to Curves now, but I'll be back to respond to all of them a little later.

Loree Huebner said...

Ava: Welcome here! I love your description of a praying mantis. Hubby and I thought about taking ballroom dancing. Maybe this winter. I love DWTS too! Great to have you aboard!

Jess: I think we see sequel ;)

Keli: Enjoy your afternoon at Curves! Fun interview. We'll get comments all week.

Great of you all to stop in!

Keli Gwyn said...

Lynda, I had such fun pouring those first stories on the page.

Melissa, waiting can be sooo tough. The publishing world is developing my patience, though. =) I can't walk well in heels, either, but my Victorian boots have 3-inchers. I wore them for two hours yesterday while I stood and signed books at my Launch Party, and my calves are protesting today.

Lindsay, I can't draw either. My Gwynly can, though. Our walls are decorated with his charcoal drawings.

Beth, I can't stand sewing either. Now you know why I hired a seamstress to make my Victorian gown. I had to hem Gwynly's high-waisted Victorian trousers this past week, and I'll admit that I did a wee bit o' grumblin'.

Brenda, I hear you on the social shyness. I enjoy interacting with close friends one-on-one, but put me in a room full of people I don't know all that well, and I have to force myself to come out of my shell.

Ava, your clever description of dancing your way made me chuckle. Our daughter loves to dance. She and others from her college group often go swing dancing. I'd love to learn, but I'm not as coordinated as she is--or as young. =)

Jess, I have played "what-if" with Tildy. The Talbots are definite possibilities. But which one? Gregarious Tommy or timid Timmy?

Keli Gwyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gabrielle Meyer said...

I love learning new things about you, Keli! Fun interview, Loree!

I wish I were better at sports. I love dancing (I took classical ballet until I was pregnant with my second daughter and I currently enjoy Zumba), but I'm not coordinated enough for tennis, baseball, basketball or any other sport I can think of right now!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Congrats, Keli!

I'm all thumbs when it comes to doing home repairs. I leave it to helpful neighbors, friends, and professionals.

Loree Huebner said...

Fun stuff, Keli! Thanks for chiming in!

Gabrielle: At least you keep active. I want to take Zumba. I hear it's awesome.

Susan: Home repairs are never fun. Sounds like you have some great neighbors and friends who help you out. I can take on some things, like fixing a sump pump, but not anything electrical.

Thanks for dropping by! Two more in the "hat" for the drawing, Keli. Woot!

Keli Gwyn said...

Gabrielle, I've never been much good at sports, either. I was often the last one picked for teams in P.E. Now that I'm older, I've found that Curves and walking suit me just fine. I think it's great that you've found something that works for you. I've heard Zumba is lots of fun. Do you think you'll get back into dance when your kids are older?

Keli Gwyn said...

Susan, isn't it nice that we can call in the home repair pros when we need them?

Baking 4 Six said...

There are many things that I don't do well... however, the one that stands out the most is sing, because it is a talent that I'd wished I'd been born with :)

couturecloset at comcast dot net

Gwendolyn Gage said...

Hi Keli! You're book sounds great. I don't sew or knit well -- in fact, I can't reall do anything crafty. LOL!

Fun interview, Loree!

Loree Huebner said...

Baking 4 Six: Welcome here! I'm with you on the singing. I can't carry a tune. I admire great singers. So nice of you to drop by!

Gwen: Keli's book is good. Love her attention to historical details. I used to know how to knit. I think I forgot though...lol! My daughter does it very well.

I put you both in for the drawing!

Keli Gwyn said...

Loree, thanks so much for hosting me. I had such fun answering your great questions. Some of them really made me think.

(I'm so sorry I used the wrong name earlier. I've responded to so many birthday wishes and blog comments today, I'm a bit fuzzy headed. I know who you are. My fingers just didn't cooperate with my brain.)

Keli Gwyn said...

Baking 4 Six, I don't sing as well as I'd like either. Gwynly and our daughter have the musical talent in the family. He played in the folk music group at my launch party this past weekend, and she sang. She also performed a solo of "Paperback Writer" as a special favor to me.

Keli Gwyn said...

Gwen, sewing and knitting are on my Things I Do Not Do well list, too. I'm sure you have many others talents, though.

Robyn Leatherman said...

Keli, since I pre-ordered your book, I'm not entering to win a copy. Let me just say that Tildy is a lil firecracker! I certainly hope you're writing more books, because this one is great-I'm on chapter 10. Congrats on writing a home-run!

Keli Gwyn said...

Robyn, I'm so glad you're enjoying the story. Tildy is, too. =)

Loree Huebner said...

Keli: Don't worry about the name thing...I'm so glad that you're enjoying the debut release ride! Such a busy month of you!

Robyn: Welcome here! So nice of you to drop by. As I'm reading the book, I'm enjoying Tildy's character more and more. I would like to see her in a sequel.

Stacy Henrie said...

Cooking would one of mine too! And being chill and calm like my husband. :)

Loree Huebner said...

Stacy: Why are hubbies always chill and calm? Mine too. I'm a hyper-maniac at times over some issues, and in comes cool and collect hubby. At this point, steam pours from my nose and ears. I look like a cartoon character...lol! Thanks for dropping by Stacy! You're in the drawing!

Victoria Lindstrom said...

Thanks for the great interview, Loree. Kelli is so inspiring - congratulations to her! (By the way...I'm terrible at being patient! ^_^)

Keli Gwyn said...

Stacy, like you and Loree, I have a "chill and calm" husband. Gwynly is my rock, my port in the storm, my voice of reason when I'm going off in too many directions at once. Isn't it wonderful how the Lord made men and women to complement one another so well?

Keli Gwyn said...

Victoria, I hear you on struggling with patience. The publishing world is honing my skills in that area, though, because I do a whole lot of waiting. Not only that, but the older I get (aged a year just yesterday =), the more I've come to realize that things will happen more quickly than I expect, because the years seem to zip by faster and faster.

Jessica Nelson said...

I adore that pic of Keli at the top!! She's beautiful. And I've no doubt any quick wit in the story comes from Keli. :-) Don't enter me because I all ready have her book!

Loree Huebner said...

Victoria: I have learned to be patient - after many lessons in it :)

Jessica: I picked that picture from her media page on her fabulous website. I just love it too.

Victoria and Jessica, thanks for stopping in. I love hearing from you!

We have a few more for the hat, Keli!

Shelley Sly said...

This sounds like a fascinating book! I will put it on my To-Read list. :) Thank you, Keli and Loree, for the interview!

Loree Huebner said...

Shelley: Glad you enjoyed the interview. You're in for the drawing. Thanks for popping in!

Keli Gwyn said...

Jessie and Loree, thanks for the compliments on the photo. My professional photographer did such a great job. I remember her saying, "Lean against that post. I want to capture the blue sky behind you." I had no idea what a cool pose it was until I saw the pics. She really knows her stuff.

Shelley, thanks for the kind words about the story. You know how to make this author smile. =)

Keli Gwyn said...

Victoria, I'm not the most patient person, either. We writers get a lot of practice waiting, so that's helping.

Maria I. Morgan said...

Great interview you two! Enjoyed finding out that there's a lot of your personality rolled into Ellie's, Keli! And loved reading about your singing handicap, Loree. Have a blessed day!

Loree Huebner said...

Maria: Welcome here! I can see bits of Ellie in Keli, or the other way around...lol! Yep, I can't sing a lick. I do try and have fun, but it's like bad karaoke! Thanks for popping in!

Got another one in the hat, Keli!

Rhonda Schrock said...

Congratulations on the book release! What a way to celebrate summer. :)

What I don't do well? Practice patience. I flunked that class, I'm afraid. And I know better than to pray for it. LOL.

Keli Gwyn said...

Maria, I'm glad you enjoyed the interview. Loree asked great questions, didn't she?

Loree, I don't sing very well either--at least according to my high school choir teacher. Isn't it nice to know that the Lord appreciates a joyful noise? That's what I think about when I'm singing the praise songs in church and moving to the beat.

Rhonda, this has been a bell ringer of a summer. July is my birthday month, and I got the best present ever. I had to patiently wait for this milestone, though. Like you, patience isn't one of my strengths, but I'm getting a lot of practice now that I'm part of the publishing world. =)

Sarah Forgrave said...

Fun interview, ladies! It was graet to learn more about Keli. And I totally saw her wit come through in Ellie's character. :)

What I don't do all that well? Play basketball. Or volleyball. I think I need about 12 extra inches to have a prayer at those sports. :)

Keli Gwyn said...

Sarah, like you, I'm vertically challenged. Because of that, the volleyball unit in high school P.E. class was rough on me. I remember the day I finally got the ball over the net on a serve. Both sides cheered. :-/

Loree Huebner said...

Rhonda: Patience seems to be a hard one for everyone to do well. I know I have a hard time sometimes.

Sarah: Even though you don't play basketball and volleyball, it's so cool that you're a trainer. How awesome!

Rhonda and Sarah, thanks for stopping by. You guys are in for the drawing!

Jess said...

Shooting pool (billiards) is something I fear I'll never be good at. I LOVE to play, and always have this secret hope that skill will just come to me out of nowhere, but it never does. Usually when I'm bad at something, I don't like to do it, but pool is an exception. I always have fun and always play terribly :)

The book sounds great (and I love the cover!)!

Julie Musil said...

Yay for Keli! I'm soooo excited for her debut book. The story sounds like a fun, romantic read.

What don't I do well? Let me count...

One thing on the top of my list...read a map. Even the new digital ones are a challenge for me. Pathetic? Yes!

Loree Huebner said...

Jess: I love to play pool, but I'm not that great at it. Every once in a while I get in a great "lucky" shot. Loved the pictures of your garden!

Julie: We're just so excited for Keli here! Her book is good!

Map reading can be confusing. I love the challenge though. When I was small, my dad taught me how to read maps. I can say that I've never gotten lost with a map...haha.

Jess and Julie, thanks for chiming in! Got ya both in for the drawing!

Misha Gericke said...

Hmm... I... can't... stay patient for long. Guess I'm going to learn when I start querying. :-D

Digging for Pearls said...

Hmm. something I don't do that well...come up to answers to questions like that. :)

Congratulations on the new book Keli, can't wait to read it.

Jodie Wolfe

Loree Huebner said...

Misha: Ha! Querying will make you learn patience real quick. Best wishes as you start the process. Keep us informed. Misha!

Jodie: Thanks for stopping in! Welcome here! It's okay if you don't have an answer - you're still in for the drawing!

Misha and Jodie, thanks for dropping by! Got your names in the hat.

Jaime Wright said...

Drill. You know how you use an electric drill to put a screw in the wall to hang a shelf or something? I can't do it. The screw ends up flying somewhere and the drill goes into the wall. it's not a good combination - me and a drill! :)

Carrie said...

Hi Keli - congrats on the novel. I live in El Dorado Hills..not too far from El Dorado!

What I don't do well? Cook! Not crazy about it anyway, so my dishes are usually pretty plain.

Great Lakes Romances said...

I love the blurb on this book. Sounds like great conflict and fun! Congratulations on its release. And you must have written day and night to do 5 novels in two years. That's a real definition of "productive" in the writing world.

What I do not do well is paint, as in interior or exterior house painting. Thank goodness we now hire that work done.

Blessings and success to you with this new title!

Donna Winters
bigwaterpub at gmail dot com

Loree Huebner said...

Jaime: LOL! Glad you're not a dentist! jk I've had the screw going flying when I tried to drill a hole. So frustrating!

Carrie: How cool that you live in the El Dorado Hills! I know that Keli claims not to be able to cook very well either. Me - I love it. It's a part of me. So nice of you to stop in! Glad to have you here.

Donna: Great to have you pop by! I dread painting. I'm not very good at it either. My hubby loves to paint - he says it's like therapy!

Jaime, Carrie, and Donna, thanks for leaving a comment. Got you all in the hat for the drawing.

Naomi Rawlings said...

Oh goodness! Keli, I'm right there with you in the not cooking well camp. Not only that, but I don't like to cook either. Fortunately my husband does. :-) And Loree, wouldn't you know I can't sing for anything as well?

Keli, I've told you before, but it's absolutely delightful to see your debut novel out and about. :-)

snowboundintheup (at) hotmail (dot) com

Loree Huebner said...

Naomi: Welcome here! Thanks for stopping in. What a blessing that your hubby cooks!

Got you entered into the hat for the drawing.

Keli Gwyn said...

Jess, I think the love of something often precedes the proficiency. I loved writing when I embarked on my journey, but I wasn't much good at it. Only when I put in the practice and study did I improve. I have a hunch your game of pool will get better over time.

Julie, I'm not much of a map reader either. Especially now that I've reached the reading glasses age. Those little letters are sooo hard to see.

Misha, querying definitely tests one's patience--or teaches one how to have more, that's for sure. I hope you do well with the waiting because there's sure to be plenty of it. I hope it leads to exciting news.

Jodie, your comment made me smile. I'm often at a loss for how to respond to a question on a blog post.

Jamie, power tools and I don't get along either. I'd make a lousy guy, wouldn't I? =)

Carrie, how cool that you live in EDH. I'm up in Placerville, but I belong to a local writers group that meets in El Dorado Hills. And, yes, I'm a lousy cook who has a healthy appreciation of restaurant fare.

Donna, when I began writing, I did spend countless hours in front of the computer. I was clueless about craft at that time and had a blast pouring words on the page willy nilly. Then came study, editing, revisions, and rewriting. The reward was watching my stories get better before my eyes--much like the reward of seeing a wall take on a new look as you paint, I would think.

Naomi, I don't know why, but I feel good when other women admit to not liking to cook. Preparing meals is one of my least liked chores. If I were rich, I'd hire a cook. =)