Meet Debut Novelist Keli Gwyn & Enter to Win A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California

It's not everyday that you get to follow an author on their journey from wannabe writer to published novelist and beyond so it's pretty cool to follow along with Keli Gwyn as she travels the path to publication and beyond via her blog. When I first started following other bloggers who read and reviewed Christian fiction I never thought I'd get to meet so many cool authors and Keli definitely qualifies as a "cool" author. I've told her over and over again that I'm probably almost as excited about A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, as she is so I'm thrilled to have her as a guest to give us the latest scoop on her book and what's happening in her life. So sit back, relax, and feel free to say hi to Keli in the comments section as I'm sure she'll be stopping by.

...and now here's Keli!

~ Hi Keli! Since a lot of people might not know you as a published author can you please tell us a bit about yourself? 

Thanks for hosting me on your awesome site, Renee. It’s great to be here. I write what I love to read: inspirational historical romances with dashing heroes and determined heroines, all of whom embody the spirit and resourcefulness of those who settled the far western United States. I live in the heart of California’s Gold Country at the foot of the majestic Sierras with my husband and two skittish cats. When my fingers aren’t hovering over my keyboard, I enjoy strolling past stately Victorian houses in my historic town, burying my nose in reference books as I unearth interesting facts to include in my stories, and interacting with other romance readers. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, the Coach factory outlet store, and Taco Bell.


~ I know I’m excited for A BRIDE OPENS SHOP... so I can’t imagine what it must be like for you! How long did it take you to get from idea to published book and what do you think was the most difficult stage to get through (brainstorming, research, editing etc.)? 

I wrote the first version of the story six years ago. I was a florescent-green newbie writer and had a lot to learn. I rewrote the story twice before I got my agent and one more time after she offered representation. I enjoyed all but one stage of the process. Dreaming up the story was exciting, especially since I had the assistance of my wonderful husband, who is my plotting partner. Research was such fun that I had to rein myself in at times. I poured the rough draft on the page with gleeful abandon. Being a detail person, editing the story was a delight. But then came writing the synopsis. Reducing my 100,000-word story to a page or two was a wee bit of a challenge. Think about writing book reports in school, and you get the idea.


 ~ I know you are a supremely talented blogger, has blogging helped you with your writing in any way? 

Wow! Thanks for the compliment, Renee. I’ve been blogging four years and have met many wonderful people through my blog, both writers and readers. Those very people, like you, are friends now and are helping me get the word out about my book, which I greatly appreciate. Blogging has also helped me learn to keep my readers in mind. When I first began blogging, I talked about myself much of the time. Yawn! These days I do my best to focus on those who come to visit my blog, and it’s lots more fun that way. This has taught me to keep my readers in mind when I write my stories, too.


~ Now for some fun (I hope!) if you lived in the 19th century like Elenora, who would be a person you would like to have tea with? Personally, I’d love to have a chat with Charlotte Bronte and learn all about just how she came up with Rochester and what it was like living with such talented sisters! 

This is fun indeed! I’d love to have tea and a lively conversation with Laura Ingalls Wilder. Her stories are some of my all-time favorites. I could learn about what life was really like during the Victorian Era, and I would be able to ask her for pointers on descriptions, since hers are so good.


~ Do you have any tips for aspiring authors out there? 

Have fun. It’s easy to get bogged down by all the “rules” or to fall prey to the pressure to get an agent and a contract, but that can sap the joy out of the journey. I know, because I made that mistake at one point. When I let go of my expectations and let the Lord direct my path, things went much more smoothly, and I looked forward to writing again.


~ Please feel free to add anything you would like in closing! 


Thanks again for having me here, Renee. What fun to spend time with you and your readers. I’d like to ask them a question. 

Question for you from Keli:

If you could have tea with a 19th century author, who would you choose, and why would you pick that person?


Be sure to follow Keli and keep up with all her goings on @ the following links:
Facebook Timeline http://www.facebook.com/KeliGwyn 

About A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California:
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?


**********************************************
GIVEWAY ALERT!
If this sounds like a book you would like to read Keli has graciously offered one of the readers of this post a chance to get their very own copy! Please read over the form and fill it out below to make sure you're eligible to enter and you just might be that lucky reader who gets a copy! ;-) If you can't wait that long to get a copy you can buy a copy or two from AMAZON and other booksellers right now!

Thank you Keli for being such a fun guest and for the generous giveaway!


Happy Reading!


Comments

  1. Renee,

    Thanks so much for inviting me to be a guest on your great blog. You were one of the first reviewers I met when I crawled out of my cave and discovered a wealth of literary-minded friends online a few years back. I appreciate your support and encouragement very much. And your excitement about my book makes me smile really, really BIG. =D

    I will most definitely be stopping by to respond to comments. I look forward to seeing the answers to the question I asked.

    ReplyDelete
  2. That's a tough question! I think I'm going to have to steal Keli's answer. The Little House series is still one of my favorites!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Liz,

      The Little House books are great, aren't they? Laura Ingalls Wilder could really write.

      Delete
  3. A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter was one of my favorite books. I would like to have tea with her and look at her butterfly collection. Interesting author.
    Kathleen
    lanehillhouse[at]centurylink[dot]net

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kathleen,

      I've not heard of that book or that author, but she sounds interesting indeed. Sipping tea and hearing about a butterfly collection would be cool.

      Delete
  4. So good to see Keli here with you, Renee:) You're both 2 of my favorite people! Love the questions and answers. Keli is an inspiration to so many - and has the gift of encouragement and kindness in spades.

    Oh, that last question is a real doozy! I think I'd say L.M. Montgomery though she crossed over into the 20th-century, too. While I love the Ann books, my fav of hers is The Blue Castle. Very romantic with a bit of wicked humor;)

    Pls don't enter me in the drawing as I have a copy of Keli's book coming. And I can't wait!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laura,

      Ooh! L.M. Montgomery is a great choice. What I could learn about characterization from her.

      But then, I know a gifted storyteller who writes colonial-set stories with stunning characters, whose books are kin to textbooks for me--in the best sense, of course--and provide wonderful examples of characterization. A certain Colonel Cassius McLinn comes to mind. Talk about an awesome hero. And this author's heroines? Superb.

      I had to laugh at myself. You said you have a book coming, and my first thought was, "Huh? Was Laura on my influencer list and I forgot to send her a copy of my book?" And then I remembered that people are actually going to buy the book. Can you tell I'm still in a state of disbelief that this is really happening? :-)

      Delete
  5. Great interview Renee & Keli! Can't wait to read your book, Keli - and I love the pix of you in period costume!

    Would love to be entered in the drawing. God bless!

    Maria
    morgan(dot)maria(dot)i(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maria,

      Thanks for the kind words. Renee asked some great questions, didn't she?

      I appreciate the compliment on the dress. I'll admit to being smitten with it. The credit for the beautiful Victorian gown goes to my talented seamstress, though. She did a wonderful job.

      Delete
  6. Jane Austen I love her books

    thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Apple Blossom,

      Wouldn't spending time with Jane be great fun?

      Delete
  7. i agree w/ apple blossom...jane austen ;)

    thanks for the chance to read your deubut novel, keli...
    and a great posting/interview, renee

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Karen,

      Renee does a great job with her interviews, doesn't she? I enjoyed answering her questions.

      I wish you well in the drawing.

      Delete
  8. I would hawpve to say Laura Ingalls Wilder. She was so good at capturing what it was like to grow up in those days. I'm a genealogy nut and I can just picture my great grandparents being Charles and Caroline.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amy,

      Since Laura was fairly outgoing, I think she would have enjoyed having tea with a whole group of us. Wouldn't it be fun to sit and listen to her recount even more tales of her childhood?

      Delete
  9. Renee, thanks for this interview with Keli. She is new to me, but I have been trying to win her book on goodreads. Keli, I would love to win your book. I like this kind of story. I too, would want to have tea with Laura Ingalls Wilder. That would be so great! I love the stories and movies about her. Still watch the TV shows. Maxie (mac262@me.com )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maxie,

      Yes! Another person to join the Tea with Laura some of us have been planning.

      If you don't win my book here or on Goodreads, there will be many other opportunities. If you visit my website (see the link in Renee's post), I list all the current drawings on my Contests and Giveaways Page, which you can find in The Press Room.

      Delete
  10. Definitely Laura Ingalls Wilder... although, even though she wasn't an author my Great Grandmother was born in the 1800s and I have always wanted to sit down and have a discussion with her. She grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. Was a "matchbox" bride, traveled to California - going from a lifestyle where she lived in a home with a parlor to marrying a mill owner (which is now a historical landmark) to eventually living in a cabin in the mountains & rearing 11 children. Her true-life story would be quite the novel - I'm sure!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dianne,

      Oooh! I'd love to hear more about your great grandmother's story. It sounds very interesting. And I'm curious. What is a "matchbox" bride? I'm not familiar with the term, and a Google search didn't give me an answer. Would that be like a mail-order bride?

      Delete
  11. I, too, would chose LaurIngals Wilder. I would love to ask her: "What are some of the stories you wish you would of written about?" I feel she had more to tell. I am glad you were able to tell and publish this story.I look forward to reading it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pam,

      Oooh! What a great question to ask Laura. I remember reading a biography once that told about her baby bother who died, and yet she left that out of her stories. Perhaps it was too painful for her or she didn't want to scare young children by talking about death.

      Delete
  12. I can't wait to read your book! I am a missionary in Mexico and Nicaragua with my husband and my books or kindle give me the feeling of being back home when I start missing everyone!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Melody,

      How cool that you're serving as a missionary. Getting books on Kindle would be a great way to feel like you're still connected.

      Delete
  13. I can't wait to read your book. I am a missionary to Mexico and Nicaragua - my books or kindle keep me company in the off hours!

    ReplyDelete
  14. This is my third time - my comment isn't coming through!

    ReplyDelete
  15. 4th time to try to register my comments!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Melody! Your comments came through but I have Blogger set so that comments on posts that are over 5 days old have to be approved by me first before they show up. I do it this way so that I see all the comments that my readers leave because I love reading them. Since I post new articles on my blog multiple times in a week my older posts will go onto another page and I found that sometimes I'd miss comments so comment moderation works best for me. Sorry for any inconvenience!

    xoxo~ Renee C.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Everyone thank you so much for your comments, I love reading who you guys would like to have tea with! REMEMBER you won't be entered into the giveaway by just leaving a comment, you have to fill out the form too! Thank you!

    xoxo~ Renee C.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Congratulations on the book! I'd like to have tea with Arthur Conan Doyle because I'd like to know how he came up with his mysteries.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. bn,

      Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is a great choice. The things we could learn from him. . .

      Delete
  19. Hi Keli, Enjoyed your interview and looking forward to reading A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California. I love a heroine that takes charge of her life and back in this time period women did not do that. They had to fight everyone for their independance.
    Laura Ingalls Wilder would be one that I would love to have tea with and discuss the happenings during that time period she wrote. I still watch Little House every so often.
    Thanks for the opportunity to enter giveaway.

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kallie,

      Thanks for the kind words about my story and about Elenora, the heroine. I had such fun writing about a woman who had to fight for the right to be in business at a time when men frowned on such things.

      Delete

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