|This is my absolute favorite picture of Keli:)|
Welcome to the CBRB, Keli! I'm so glad to have you here! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Thanks for having me!
I’m a native Californian living in a Gold Rush-era town at the base of the majestic Sierras. Enamored by the history of the area, I set my debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, in a nearby town. When I’m not writing, I enjoy strolling past the elegant Victorian houses in my historic hometown, pouring through research books in search of interesting facts to use in my stories, and reading romance novels while walking on the local hiking trail—my favorite form of multitasking.
When did you first discover that you loved writing?
I’ve loved writing since I was seven and dreamed of being a writer “one day.” That elusive day didn’t happen until forty years later when I dusted off my dream and began writing my first story.
Why do you write the type of books that you do?
I’ve been a romance fan for decades. My favorite reads are historical romances with a faith element. I wanted to write what I love to read.
What was your greatest obstacle in writing and how did you overcome it?
My biggest obstacle is self-doubt. I’d love to say I’ve overcome it, but the pesky Doubt Dragon still plagues me at times. Perhaps if Oprah chooses my story for her book club, I’ll get over it. In all seriousness, I think most writers wrestle with doubt on occasion as we strive to produce stories readers will enjoy.
Has writing changed your life in any way?
Writing has radically changed my life. I was a stay-at-home mom when I began writing and hadn’t worked outside the home in years. I felt like I had things under control. Now I work full-time and then some on writing, blogging, and promotion and never seem to get everything done. I love what I do, so I learned to let some things go, as the monster dust bunnies hiding in the corners prove.
Ha! Ha! I completely understand about the dust bunnies;) What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most?
Psalm 34:7-8 helped me see that the LORD wants good things for me and that my part is to trust Him. “Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.”
Amen! Is there a book you’ve read that has been truly spectacular?
Wow! That’s a toughie. I’ve read many spectacular books, so narrowing it down was a challenge. I’m going with Little Women. I read that book as a child and loved it. Still do. Reading about Josephine March and her dream of being a writer fueled my own dream of writing. Reading about Jo’s relationship with Laurie whet my appetite for romance. Reading about Beth inspired me to live a more selfless, godly life.
What’s the funniest/quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?
I tried to hijack a bus in Germany once. Unintentionally, of course.
When my husband and I moved to the Nürnberg area in the late 80s, I resurrected my high school German. On a day early in our years living there, I wanted to catch a bus heading to the PX by the army post. I asked the driver if he went there. At least I thought that’s what I said. He eyed me warily, and I repeated my request more emphatically. His brows shot toward the roof. Feeling ill-at-ease, I squeaked out the question one more time. His features relaxed, and he waved me on the bus.
When I told my husband about the encounter that night, he said I’d used the command form rather than the questioning form. The poor driver was likely worried I was going to take over his bus by force.
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Please tell us about the featured book.
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?
Can you please give us the first page?
The Sierra Foothills of California
The stagecoach lurched to a stop, throwing Elenora and Matilda Watkins against a damask-covered sidewall.
Elenora clutched her nine-year-old daughter to her side. “Are you all right, Tildy?”
“Oh Mama. You don’t have to be so skittery.” Tildy shrugged out of the protective embrace, scooted across the bench seat, and shoved the leather window shade aside. “I want to see what’s going on.” She peeked out, whirled around with wide eyes and an enormous grin, and let the dust shield fall with a thwap. “It’s an outlaw, and he’s pointing a gun at the driver.”
Where did her daughter get those wild notions of hers? Elenora shot Tildy a reassuring smile and leaned over the center jump seat to have a look. “Lord, help us.”
A shudder ripped through her. The horrid man atop the big black horse was, in fact, aiming a gun at the coachman, but he was aiming a look of sheer evil at her. One of his eyes bored into her while the other seemed to roam. His sneer made her skin crawl.
How could this be happening? They’d ridden all the way from Omaha on that snorting beast of a train and made the line changes in Ogden and Sacramento City without incident. Why did something have to go wrong on the final five miles between Shingle Springs and El Dorado?
The outlaw’s deep voice boomed. “Hand it over.”
Where can readers learn more information about you? By the way readers, Keli's website is beautiful- both the content and the design.
They can visit my cyber home at www.keligwyn.com.
Alright readers, here's your chance to win a copy of Keli's debut novel A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California! Just leave a comment with your email address to be entered in the giveaway. Giveaway is available to U.S. residents only.
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Giveaway ends on Sunday, July 8, 2012 at midnight (Eastern time). Winner will be chosen using Random.org.