Friday, July 20, 2012

A Warm Welcome to Keli Gwyn

Readers, make sure you leave your email addresses with your comments for a chance to win Keli's book!

What is your favorite scripture verse and why does it resound with you?

I’m encouraged by Isaiah 41:10a, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.” There are times the writing journey requires courage and forging ahead in the face of disappointments, and it’s comforting to know the Lord is there for me on the dark days as well as the days of rejoicing.

In your latest book, is there a story--an inspiration behind it that gave you the desire to write it?

I live in the heart of California’s Gold Country and wanted to bring one of the area’s historic towns to life. El Dorado is located just a few miles away from my town of Placerville. While researching El Dorado, I learned about a successful mercantile owner with the largest business in town. He was active in the community and well regarded. He became the model for my hero, Miles Rutledge.

One of Placerville’s historic sites is the Emigrant Jane building. Built in 1861, it’s still standing today. The building bears a plaque telling about Jane, an industrious woman who drove a wagon across the country, had her store built, and went into business. I did my research and learned that women were able to own businesses in California from the early days of the Golden State. That knowledge led to the idea of having Elenora Watkins open her own shop when Miles refuses to accept her as partner in his.

Do you have a favorite character in your book that is dear to your heart?

Oooh! What a tough question. I love so many of my characters. Narrowing it down to one is well nigh impossible, but I’ll do my best.
Let’s see. There’s spirited, independent Elenora, who wants very much to see her new business succeed so she can provide for her nine-year-old daughter, Tildy. Mulish mercantile owner Miles is definitely in the running. Despite his propensity for saying the wrong thing and tasting boot blacking, he really is an amiable fellow who’s well liked by the townspeople—and has caught the eye of a certain widow with a shop across the street. Then there’s Tildy, a precocious chatterbox with a love of adventure, who captures the heart of everyone she meets—including me. And Miles’s mother, Maude, deserves a mention. While crusty on the outside and a bit of a meddler who’s into matchmaking of late, she’s quite well intentioned.

So, who’s my favorite? Eeny, meeny, miny, moe. I’m going with Ellie. A Bride Opens Shop is her story, after all. But Miles and Tildy are in a tie for second. :-)

Now, a couple of fun questions:

If you could choose a favorite meal, where would it be and with whom would you want to share it?

I’d be inclined to say Taco Bell, since I’m an addict, but that won’t do. Why? Because the person I most like sharing meals with is my awesome husband and best friend, Gwynly. I love my guy dearly, but he doesn’t care for Taco Bell. I’ve spent the past twenty-five years trying to convince him it’s a great place to eat, but he’s not buying it.

So, since I would be dining with Gwynly, I’ll go with Olive Garden. It’s our celebration spot. We go there on Valentine’s Day and our wedding anniversary. And we were there recently to mark the release of my debut novel. We always get the same thing: an order of their Caprese flatbread, a bowl of their house salad, and a split portion of linguini with marinara. Yummy!

Where would you like to live permanently if you could have a choice? Why?

I’d live right where I do now. Gwynly and I moved to Placerville in 1993, after returning to the States following four and a half years in Germany, where he taught at a U.S. military high school. We’re both native Californians and love living in our Gold Rush-era town nestled at the foot of the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains.

We’re an hour from the breathtaking beauty of the Lake Tahoe basin to the east, and an hour from Sacramento with all the shopping opportunities a gal could want to the west. And if we happen to get a craving for culture and haute cuisine beyond the many offerings in our area, San Francisco is only three and a half hours away.

Please tell us where readers can stay in touch with you and where to purchase your book.

I can be found at my cyber home,, and invite visitors to stop by. The Parlor is ready, and the tea is steeping. 
My Book page in The Press Room gives links to many of the major booksellers offering A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California.

Thanks so much for hosting me here at The Barn Door Loft. Spending time with you and your lovely blog’s visitors is a treat. I had fun answering your great questions, and I’d like to end by asking you one of my own. What’s your favorite way to celebrate your special days or milestones?

It's wonderful to have you.

Readers, Keli is giving away a copy of A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Happy Reading!


Keli Gwyn said...

Thanks so much for hosting me. I had fun answering your great questions. I look forward to hearing how your blog's visitors answer mine. =)

Judy said...

My husband and I always celebrate our special days, such as anniversary, birthdays, new job, winning a book, great dental checkup, etc. by going out to eat. We love Logan's Steakhouse!

I'm curious Keli, how did your husband get the name Gwynly? Did he grow up with it or is that your pet name for him?

Your book sounds like a delight to read and I'd love to win a copy of it.


MsRubyKat said...

Interesting interview. My hubby and I don't celebrate too often because he is not a restaurant type guy. One anniversary really stands out for me is when we went to the airport to see the President's Air Force One plane. They just happened to visit our area on our anniversary so off we went to see the plane and maybe the President. It was fun even if we didn't see the President from the distance we were at. Would love to win and read your book.

Melissa said...

Sounds like a very good book. =) Would love to read it.

apple blossom said...

thanks for chance to win

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

ann said...

Thanks for the giveaway would like to read your book - sounds like my kind of reading material. Must say your husband has an unusual name but I bet he hears that alot
amhengst at verizon dot net

Lane Hill House said...

Hi Keli, Our favorite way to celebrate is to surprise each other. For my husband's birthday this year I gifted him with a trip to gristmills. We took our topography map for the county roads and especially enjoyed the first one we visited. The buildings for the mill and general store are still there where a community used to be. Except for the winding roads! We enjoyed a nice dinner out before coming back home. I would love to win your book! Kathleen

Keli Gwyn said...

Judy, I like the way you and your guy celebrate. Since I don't like to cook, going out to eat is a celebration in itself. =)

Gwynly is one of many pet names I have for my guy. His first name is Carl, but since that's also my dad's name, I quickly came up with alternatives once we married. Since Gwynly calls me Wifely and I call him Hubbly, Gwynly evolved soon after.

We have a pair of really goofy names we call one another. I blogged about them here:

Keli Gwyn said...

Karen, I think it's way cool that you got to see Air Force One. I'm not into airplanes the way Gwynly is, but that is one I'd be excited to see.

I'm such a restaurant/fast food person that I'm doing my best not to mourn for you. That's what I'd do if I weren't able to eat out. Even though Gwynly isn't really a restaurant guy either (he's rather frugal), he knows how much I enjoy eating out, so he goes along with it as much as he can.

Keli Gwyn said...

Melissa and Apple Blossom, your names are in the hat.

Wendy Newcomb said...

This sounds like an interesting book, can hardly wait to read it.

Taco Bell has some things that I like, but we prefer Taco Johns, unfortunately there is only one in the state of FL, over an hour away from us so we only get it when we go back to NE.


Keli Gwyn said...

Ann, Gwynly is a pet name that comes from our last name. And yes, Gwyn isn't all that common. It's Welsh. I have to spell it aloud for others all the time, especially over the phone. Many think I'm saying Quinn, since Gwyn rhymes with it.

Gwynly's first name is Carl, but since that's also my dad's name, I don't use it all that often. I have a thing for making up words, and that extends to names, so it was only natural my husband would end up with several. Believe it or not, he doesn't have as many as our cats. =)

Keli Gwyn said...

What a great birthday surprise you planned for your guy, Kathleen. I think going on a tour of historic sites would be a wonderful way to celebrate. Not too surprising since I write historicals, is it? =)

Keli Gwyn said...

Wendy, I haven't heard of Taco John's. I don't think we have them here in California, at least not any that I've seen. Is it a fast food place or a sit down restaurant?

Wilma said...

I love to celebrate with family but it gets harder as they grow up & move to other towns for school or work. That makes the times we do get together even more special.
Would love to win your book so I could loan it to family.

Keli Gwyn said...

Wilma, as the mom of a college student we don't get to see very often, I can relate. Like you said, it makes those times we do get together extra special.

Wendy Newcomb said...

Keli, it's the same type of fast food as Taco Bell. We had them in the midwest years before we ever heard of Taco Bell. They have changed some over the years but we still like them a lot.

Doreen Brannan said...

I really want to read this one and hoping I win!

priviesandprims at yahoo dot com

Anne Payne said...

Still not entering since I have a copy :) But, your husband and mine have two things in common - dislike of Taco Bell and a love for Olive Garden! And I ♥ Taco Bell. Give me a crunchy supreme taco any day with a Pepsi and I am in taco heaven ;)

My favorite character would have to be Maude. Really. She's a hoot, and I liked her matchmaking ploy :)

pol said...

Hi Keli, I too liked your husband's unusual name, that is too cute how you came up with it, I enjoyed your interview and good to know few more things about authors that we like to read, I would be happy to get this book-thanks for the giveaway.
Paula O(

Merry said...

We love to go out to eat to celebrate special days. My birthday is in the summer so we always try to find somewhere we can dine outside on a beautiful deck, porch or a street cafe. In the winter... well we just look for a warm place with yummy food.
Thanks for a chance to win your book!
worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

Keli Gwyn said...

Wendy, sounds like I'd like Taco John's if it's like Taco Bell.

Doreen, there are a number of other opportunities to win my book. Visit my website and look at the links at the bottom of my blog posts. Most of those hosting me are giving away a copy of my book. =)

Anne, I wish we could do Taco Bell together. That would be such fun. I'm glad you liked Maude. You're the first to say she's your favorite character. She'd be happy to hear that. =)

Paula, I have lots of pet names for my guy, but Gwynly is one I use a lot. His favorite for me is Wifely. =)

Merry, I have a summer birthday, too. Makes celebrating with an outdoor meal a real possibility. I hope your day is/was wonderful.

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