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.
Welcome Keli! I'm glad to have you here this week. Keli has graciously offered to give away a copy of her debut novel. Be sure to leave a comment to be entered and don't forget to leave your email addy and let me know if you are a follower.
Where are you right now (LVR, DR, Bathroom) and what are you wearing? You have to tell the truth.
I’m sitting in my office while Gwynly practices banjo in our bedroom. I’m back from Curves, so I’m wearing black workout pants and a black t-shirt with a really cool heart on the front made up of encouraging words in bold colors. I bought the shirt from Curves, and that’s one of the words.
What is the funniest, strangest, or most interesting thing you have learned when doing research?
I remember being shocked to discover that Victorian women wore drawers with an opening between the legs. As modest as the Victorians were, that fact surprised me. Of course, I doubt the women were in danger of having their skirts fly up, since they wore so many petticoats. They wouldn’t have been able to turn somersaults, though, that’s for sure.
What one thing on your writing journey influenced your work the most?
Deeanne Gist gave me some great advice back when I was a florescent green newbie. I met her at the Romance Writers of America® conference in 2008. When I told her I was a Golden Heart® finalist but felt like my stories weren’t ready for publication and had endured two painful pitch sessions earlier in the day, she said she didn’t like rejection either. What she did was study craft so she could create a marketable story.
I took Dee’s advice, stopped querying, and spent the next year learning all I could about writing. I then chose the best of the five stories I’d completed, rewrote it, and entered it in several contests to see if it fared better than my earlier work had. It did, garnering me several wins and requests, one of which led to my offer of representation. I had to rewrite the story again for my agent, but once it was ready, she submitted it and sold it.
What I took away from this was that my time spent studying craft was a good investment. I’m so grateful to Dee for sharing her wise counsel with me and am happy to pass it on.
If you could work with any author who would you choose?
Any author? Wow! There are so many great ones out there, making this a tough decision. I’m going with Tamara Alexander. Her storytelling is masterful and her characterization some of the best I’ve seen. I’d love to learn all I could from her.
When writing, what is the part of the story you enjoy writing the most?
Some people love splashing the first draft on the page. While I do enjoy that, I find that phase to be challenging. My internal editor is constantly trying to interfere. I prefer the revision and self-editing stages, when I take a sloppy story and neaten it up. Watching a story get better before my eyes is so rewarding.
What is a typical working day for you? Where and when do you write? Do you set goals?
I don’t have typical days; I have seasons. I’m in Promotion Season right now. Once my book is launched, I’ll move on to Writing Season. I have a story started that has been calling—loudly—and I’m eager to return to it. Once I finish it, Revision Season will begin. That one generally doesn’t last as long as some of the others. I have six more story ideas my agent likes, so I’ll quickly shift into Research Season followed by Plotting Season. And then will come Writing Season again. The fun just keeps on coming. If you’re a writer, I’m sure you understand the joy each “season” brings.
If you could have written any piece of literature in history, be it books, speech, poetry, what piece would you want to say Written By Authors Name here?
What a great question, one that made me think. My choice is Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. As a native Californian who lives in the Gold Country, that story really resonated with me. I’d love to write a hero as awesome as Michael Hosea and a story as emotion-packed and enduring as Redeeming Love.
Come to think of it, I wouldn’t want my name on that book after all. It’s Francine’s story. What I’d like would be to write one of my own stories with similar qualities. I’m dreaming, I know, but dreaming can be a good thing if it pushes us to be the best we can be, right?
If you were told you were being sent back to live in the 19th Century, and you could bring one thing from today, what would that be?
My nice big Coach bag, since the dainty reticules used in the Victorian Era were far too small for my liking. I’d take it fully loaded with all the things I like to have on hand, many of which would be impossible to come by in the 1800s: sunglasses, nail clippers, TicTacs, and ibuprofen, to name just a few. Much as I’d like to have my smart phone and digital camera, I’d not be able to recharge the batteries, so they wouldn’t do any good. I’m sure I’d get some interesting looks as I toted around my bulky bag, but I just might start a new style.
Thanks so much for having me here at The Sword and the Spirit, Debbie Lynne. 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. What must-have items do you carry in your purse?
In case you’d like to use it, here’s a blurb I wrote to give people the link to my website in a fun way.
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.
Widow Elenora Watkins looks forward to meeting her new business partner, Miles Rutledge, who owns a shop in 1870s El Dorado. But Miles is shocked to see a woman step off the stagecoach. His rude behavior forces Elenora to reconsider—so she becomes his competition across the street. Can Miles win her heart while destroying her business?
Be sure to leave your email address. Please check your junk mail on and the day after the drawing. I've had to redraw because of no responses. Subject box will have: winner of (book title). I'll email the winner and they'll have seven days to respond. If I don't hear back I'll draw another name. USA shipping only. Thanks so much and please stop back again! Drawing will be held Monday morning 8 am est, July 24th . Offer void where prohibited. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.
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