Thursday, July 26, 2012

Interview with Author, Keli Gwyn

I remember her friendly email, "Thanks for subscribing to my blog. I hope you find my posts enjoyable. From time to time I like to surprise a blog visitor with a little package of goodies. I'd like to send you one..." From our first interaction, she struck me as a talented writer, and a woman with the gift of encouragement.

Who is this inspiring lady? Grab some iced tea and join me in welcoming - Keli Gwyn!

Maria: Tell us a bit about yourself:

Keli: I’m a native Californian. My teacher husband and I live in the majestic Sierra Nevada Foothills just seven miles from Coloma, where James Marshall discovered the shiny nuggets that started the Gold Rush. I’m smitten with the Victorian Era, the period in which my stories are set.

While writing is my passion, I do possess some others skills. I play a fierce game of Whack-a-Mole, can still recite the first two paragraphs of the Gettysburg Address I memorized back in seventh grade, and can put away an impressive amount of my husband’s homemade shortbread in one sitting.

Maria: Wow! Remind me NOT to challenge you when you have a mallet in your hand! All joking aside, give us a sneak peek into your debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California.

Keli: Widow Elenora Watkins is determined to provide for herself and her daughter without relying on anyone else. Can she run a successful business after falling for the competition? Miles Rutledge finds himself willing to do anything to keep Elenora in town. But can he win her heart while putting her out of business?

Maria: Just enough information to get us hooked! Which character in your book can you most easily identify with? And why?

Keli: I identify with the heroine, Elenora. Like me, she’s the mother of a bright, talkative daughter. Ellie tends to be a bit overprotective at times, and I was, too, when our college daughter was younger. I can’t cook very well, and neither can Ellie. She’s a hardworking, determined woman, and I am, too. Like Ellie, when I set a goal, I put my all into achieving it.

Maria: As I read your book, I imagined you to be like Elenora - loved her spunk and determination. What do you hope your readers glean from your novel?

Keli: I hope they enjoy the story and their trip back in time.

On a deeper level, I hope they learn that we are valued not so much for what we do as for who we are. Ellie is out to prove herself on several fronts, but she doesn’t need to. People like her the way she is.

I’d also like readers to understand that the Lord is there for us—even when we don’t sense His presence. When the story begins, Ellie doesn’t believe the Lord hears her prayers or cares about her concerns, but as things progress, she experiences growth in this area.

Maria: Those are important lessons. How has your relationship with Jesus Christ impacted your writing?

Keli: My faith is an important part of who I am. I delight in adding the spiritual element to my stories. As my characters learn valuable lessons about who God is and how He works in our lives, I learn right along with them.

Maria: What goals do you have for the future?

Keli: I look forward to writing many more historical romances and to my continued interactions with readers as well as other writers.

Maria: Sounds like you'll stay busy! Share some lessons you've learned on your journey as a writer:

·        * Have realistic expectations.
·         *Take time to study craft.
·        * Don't become a slave to the rules.
·        * Accept feedback graciously.
·        * Enjoy the journey.

Maria: Great advice! What words of wisdom would you like to leave with our readers?

Keli:  My one word of wisdom would be: persevere. I’ve interviewed over 100 debut authors, and this trait is one that has come up again and again as being of the utmost importance. Our dreams won’t come true unless we keep on writing and submitting, hoping and praying. Perseverance can lead to rejoicing.

Thank you so much for having me as your guest, Maria. Spending time with you and your blog’s readers is a treat. I’d like to end with a question for all of you.

I really am good at Whack-a-Mole. I once had a crowd gather around to watch me bop those critters as they popped their heads up. What’s one of your little known skills that has impressed others?

Maria: It's been a pleasure Keli! And someday I hope to watch you whack those moles on the head with that rubber mallet! God bless you as you continue to write books that point others to Him.

Good news! Keli has graciously offered to give away a copy of her book, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California:

*Leave a comment to this post, include your email address in the following format: morgan(dot)maria(dot)i(at)gmail(dot)com. Entries without an email address are not eligible.

*Receive an extra entry by becoming a follower, or by reminding me that you're already a follower.

*Receive a bonus entry by posting about this giveaway on your blog, Facebook, and/or Twitter.
 Please be sure and let me know you did so in your comment.

*This is open to US residents only. My sincere apology to those followers outside the US.

*Deadline to enter is midnight Eastern Standard Time, Tuesday, July 31, 2012. Winner to be announced in Thursday's post. The winner will be notified via email.

Award-winning novelist Keli Gwyn writes inspirational historical romance. A California native, she lives in the Gold Rush-era town of Placerville in the Sierra Foothills with her husband and two skittish kitties.

Connect with Keli: 


  1. Hey girls, great interview! Isn't it wonderful to make new friends through blogger? Keli, I hope and pray you will write many, many books and keep enjoying the journey. Thanks for your tips and encouragement. I am outside the US, so I do not sign up for the giveaway, but thanks for the offer.

    1. Hi Marja! Always a joy when you stop by! Keli is such a sweet spirit. I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting gifted writers through blogging - and Keli is certainly one of them! Sorry the giveaway doesn't include those outside the US - I hope you have the opportunity to read Keli's debut novel. It was fantastic! God bless you, my friend!

    2. Marja, I love your name. It's beautiful!

      I'm glad you enjoyed the interview. Maria asked great questions, didn't she? I had fun answering them.

      You say you live outside the US. If you're comfortable saying where that is, I'd love to know. My teacher husband and I lived in Germany for several years and were blessed to visit a number of countries while he was on his summer breaks. Perhaps yours was one of them.

  2. Replies
    1. Great to see you Glenda! Appreciate your kind words. Hope you have the opportunity to read Keli's novel - I know you'd enjoy it! Have a wonderful day. Hugs & Blessings!

    2. Glenda, thanks for stopping by. I'm curious. Do you have a little known skill that has impressed others?

  3. Sounds like a great book. Shame I can't enter, but I know where to find you Keli, thanks to Amazon :) Loved your encouragement...'Perseverance can lead to rejoicing.' I'm sure you're rejoicing now, and I rejoice with you. Congratulations on your debut book. May there be many more. :)

    1. Hi Dottie! You would thoroughly enjoy A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California. Keli's done her homework on the Victorian era! I'll get in on that rejoicing too - and look forward to Keli's next novel! God bless you, my friend!

    2. Thanks for sharing in my excitement, Dorothy. I wouldn't be where I am today with the support and encouragement of countless people who have traveled this journey with me.

      I see that you're another who lives outside the US. Where might that be--if you're comfortable saying, that is?

  4. Great interview, ladies! It's been great to get to know Keli better. If there is ever a Whack a Mole tournament, I know who I'll be asking to be on my team. :)

    I'll pass on the giveaway, since I have already been blessed to read Keli's book. It's a winner!


    1. Karen, thanks for your kind words and your support--including the great interview/review you posted on your blog today.

      If that Whack-a-Mole Tourney does take place, I'd be happy to have you on my team. Just a warning, though. You'd need to stand back when I take my turn. I get pretty intense when I'm swinging that mallet and wouldn't want to bop ya by accident. =)

    2. So neat that we're both interviewing Keli at our respective blogs, Karen! I'm headed over to your site to join in the fun. And if a Whack-a-Mole tournament ever takes place, I'd love to catch some shots of both of you ladies demonstrating your prowess! What fun! :)

  5. Hi, Keli and Maria! Keli, I fondly remember when you interviewed me on your blog--it was great 'meeting' you. I'm disqualifying myself from the drawing since Maria is my sister-in-law, but I look forward to reading A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado California. And hey, since Maria hasn't answered your question about one of her impressive little-known skills, I will. She is an accomplished pianist. To keep the carny theme going, she likes to ride backwards roller coasters. :-)

    1. Stephanie, how neat that you and Maria are sisters-in-law and are both writers. I'm blessed to have a sister who is writing romance. Talk about a doubly strong bond. When my sister and I plan a lunch date, we set aside a good six hours or so because we have so much to talk about. No kidding!

      Thanks for letting us in on two of Maria's talents. I would love to play piano. It's such a versatile instrument.

      Riding backward on roller coasters? Wow! That's impressive. I can't even handle frontward rides on them these days, although I used to love them.

      And, Stephanie, if I were to ask Maria what one of your hidden talents is, what might she say? =)

    2. Thanks so much for stopping by, Stef! Always wonderful to read your comments - although I'm not so sure about the 'accomplished' in front of pianist! I still love to play when I have the time, though!

      Do you ever get to King's Island? I have fond memories of riding The Racer forward and backward. Yes, it was the first wooden coaster I'd ever ridden. And I still remember riding that kiddie coaster with you at Cedar Point - Cat & Mouse? or something like that! You're a great sport, Stephanie!!

    3. This one's for you, Keli: one of Stephanie's talents (I'm not so sure it's hidden) is the ability to console high-maintenance babies/kids. She used to watch my daughter when Riley was just a few months old. I think Riley was born with stranger anxiety! But she sure loved her Aunt Stephanie - and still does!!

    4. Maria, I could have used Stephanie's help when our daughter was young. Talk about a high maintenance child. Ah, memories! =)

  6. That "perseverance" thing? Not fun, but necessary. Thank you for that reminder as it's such a hard character trait to grow.


    1. Rhonda, perseverance, tenacity, stick-to-it-iveness. . . Call it what you will, it can definitely be tough. However, as you said, it's a necessary part of the publishing process.

      I marveled at some of the First Sale stories I heard when I was interviewing debut novelists. So many kept going and going and going. . . Talk about Energizer Bunny writers. That could describe many of them who achieved their goal of being traditionally published. Gotta admire their dedication.

    2. Thanks for stopping by Rhonda! I'm with you on the perseverance thing! Absolutely necessary. I'm sure as a parent you've had countless opportunities to persevere with discipline of your 'tribe' too!

      I've entered you in the drawing for the copy of Keli's debut novel! Have a blessed day!

  7. Fun interview, ladies. Keli is one awesome lady, and her book is most definitely a winner!

    I will also pass on the giveaway. I have the novel.

    Maria, I loved your video from the other day. I left you a comment. Thank you!

    1. Glad you enjoyed the interview, Loree! In agreement with your observations about Keli and her book.

      Thank you so much for the sweet, encouraging words on my previous post. I sent you an e-mail. God bless you! :)

  8. Loree, thanks for the kind words and all of your support. I enjoyed spending time with you and your blog's visitors earlier this month.

  9. It's like the Keli and Maria show! Maria, we haven't been to KI in a while, but Honda Family Days is there in September, so who knows? :-) And Keli, Maria is right--God has blessed me with baby-whisperer talent.

    1. Stephanie, I love the term "baby whisperer." As I told Maria, I could have used your talents when our college daughter was young. And how!

  10. Hi Maria, I am fairly new subscriber to your blog and love it. Love this interview with Keli and plan to check out her website. What an inspiration and encouragement both of you are.

    Sweet Blessings to you both.


    1. Welcome Donna! So glad you are enjoying the blog. It was such an honor to host Keli - and I'm sure you'll love her site.

      Thanks for entering the book giveaway! I'll be announcing the winner next Thursday.

      Have a great weekend. God bless you!

    2. Thanks for the kind words, Donna. Maria is a wonderful hostess. I had a great time answering her questions.

  11. Hi Maria and Keli, loved the blog post and looking forward to reading A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California. Thanks for the opportunity to enter giveaway.

    GFC follower
    Email subscriber
    Twitter follower(@misskallie2000)


    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

  12. Miss Kallie, thanks for visiting and for entering the contest.

  13. Hi Kallie! Thanks for stopping by. I've entered you in the drawing for Keli's debut novel. Looking forward to announcing the winner on Thursday! God bless!

  14. Oh - I love this book! I met Tildy (Ellie's daughter) on Melissa Tagg's blog and had quite a fun time:) Congrats again on your debut, Keli, and great interview Maria! Hope you had a great weekend.

    1. Susan, I'll have to tell Tildy that you enjoyed meeting her over at Melissa's place. That little gal will be delighted to here it. She was rather excited to be interviewed for the very first time. =)