Behind the scenes with Keli Gwyn

Keli GwynFirst off let me say, Keli holds a very special place in my heart. She’s one of those rare friends that genuinely wants to help and support other people. I feel very blessed to know her, not only as an author, but as my friend. She’s been a true cheerleader…which is one of the reasons I’m thrilled to share with everyone about her debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado!

Today we get to go behind the scenes and peek into Keli’s life. I think you’ll find from her answers that she’s as good as it gets!

LN: How would you describe yourself? How would Gwynly describe you?

KG: Wow! Talk about starting with a challenging question, Lace. Lemme see. I could tell you what others say about me. They use words like sweet, encouraging, and organized, but I’m guessing you want me to answer for myself. In that case, I’d say short, detail-oriented, tenacious, generous, and—I’m being honest here—a bit high maintenance.

I asked Gwynly, and this is exactly what he said, “Energetic, caring, creative, and a bit OC.” Not to worry. Since my guy is also a bit OC, he can get away with pointing out that I am, too.

LN: You blog about your real-life romance with your husband. How do you find ideas to keep the spark alive?

KG: Hmm. I’d say I put my creativity to work. My marriage is very important to me, so I’m always on the lookout for things that will add a special spark and be fun for my guy.

For example, I know Gwynly wants to see the new Spiderman movie because he replied to a mutual friend’s Facebook update about it. Guess who’s going to pop by the theater on her way home from Curves and snag two tickets to a matinee as a surprise for her fellow? And, yes, you can look forward to a blog post about “Romance Super Hero Style.”

A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, CaliforniaLN: You write historical romance novels. Tell us what you find so appealing about that genre?

KG: There are those who might think historicals are appealing because things were simpler in the “olden days.” I think the opposite is true. We have so many modern conveniences we take for granted. They didn’t.

For example, Gwynly Skyped with a friend from Germany just the other day. A person in the Victorian Era would have had to send a letter by ship that could have taken weeks to arrive. I throw a load of clothes in the washing machine, and half an hour later they’re ready for me to toss in the dryer. A Victorian housewife would have spent an entire day doing her laundry. Computers make modern engineers’ calculations quick and easy. Those who built the Transcontinental Railroad did so with nothing but slide rules, pencils, and paper.

I marvel at how hardworking, determined, resilient, and strong our forebears were. Reading stories that showcase them and their many strengths encourages me to be more grateful for what I have today—and to appreciate those who made what I have now possible.

LN: Tell us about the agented/contracted part of your life. What’s it like? Do you just get to sit every day in your forested backyard with a cup of tea and a laptop writing the stories of your heart?

KG: The words that come to mind are full and fulfilling.

My plate is full, even more so than it was in my pre-contracted days. I’m no longer able to write only when I feel like it or to write just what I want. At any point in time, my agent is eagerly awaiting another story to shop. But I can’t write just any story that captures my mind. I have to get Rachelle’s nod before beginning so I don’t waste time on stories she doesn’t think will be marketable.

Being contracted and having a book out is every bit as fulfilling as I thought it would be—and then some. The outpouring of support from my family and friends has been incredible. I’m hard-pressed to keep up with the well wishes and offers from those eager to help spread the word about my book. And I must say, it’s pretty neat to hear from readers who loved the story and my characters.

LN: You’ve spent a lot of years building your online tribe. How have they made a difference in your personal and professional life?

KG: For starters, I don’t think of myself as having a “tribe.” That term strikes me as impersonal and kinda self-focused. I don’t want to interact with “the masses.” I much prefer one-on-one interactions that enable me to get to know people and what is going on in their lives. I have oodles of awesome friends who bless me in countless ways, just as you have, Lacie. I treasure each one and wish I had more time to cultivate the relationships the way I did in my pre-writing days.

LN: The video of you seeing your book for the first time was worth a thousand words, but can you describe what was going through your head as you held A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California for the first time?

KG: I was doing a lot more feeling than thinking, but I do remember wondering if I’d been wise to have Gwynly tape the moment. Why? Because I’m a charter member of the Weepy Women’s Club who was sure to shed some tears of joy, and when I cry, my face tends to get all splotchy. LOL

Seeing my book for the first time made everything real. That was way cool!

(Want to see Keli’s reaction to seeing her book in print for the first time, here it is: Keli Gwyn’s Debut Novel Delivery.)

LN: Give us some information about your upcoming book launch party. Where? When? What can visitors expect to experience?

KG: I know the party is billed as a book launch, but I prefer to think of it as a celebration. It’s not as much about the book as it is about sharing my joy with the many wonderful people who have been there for me and helped me reach this milestone.

I’m very excited about the party, which is an Old-fashioned Ice Cream Social that just so happens to be taking place on National Ice Cream Day. There will be gallons and gallons of Dreyer’s cream and oodles of tasty toppings, along with some awesome entertainment.

The Gold Rush Barbershop Chorus, a talented group of 18+ men, will be singing some love songs. Music is an important element in A Bride Opens Shop, so I’m delighted to have a string quartet performing some of the classical pieces from the story and my very own Gwynly and some of our friends adding a few of the folk tunes.

I’ll be dressed in my Victorian gown, and Gwynly will be sporting his frock coat, brocade waistcoat, top hat, and more. The El Dorado Chamber Senior Ambassadors are planning to wear their Victorian finery as well. Guests are invited to come in Victorian costume or Western attire if they’d like.

LN: Thank you so much, Keli, for taking the time to share with us! I hope you all have a chance to attend Keli’s book celebration this weekend! See you there!

Keli Gwyn's LaunchHere are the details…

Book Launch and Old-fashioned Ice Cream Social
Sunday, July 15, 2012
2-4 p.m
Discovery Hills Church
4270 Shingle Springs Drive
Shingle Springs, California

The church is easy to find. Take Exit 39 on Highway 50, head south, cross the railroad tracks, and you’ll see the church on your right. It’s only half a mile from the highway. For those who know the area, Discovery Hills is the church next to Buckeye Elementary School.

Keli will be happy to sign previously purchased copies of her book, but there will be books available for $12, sales tax included. Cash or check only please.

From her earliest years, Lacie Nezbeth knew two things—she longed to be a stay at home mom, and stories, in any form, captivated her. Those two passions have culminated into a fairy tale life that points her to God’s overflowing goodness. Her love of history, traveling and research made her decision to write Historical Romances an obvious and fitting choice. When Lacie isn’t writing or tackling the unending mountain of laundry produced by her three small kids, she’s chauffeuring her children to their various activities, talking to herself in the grocery store or plotting ways to get her entire family on another Caribbean cruise.