We’re excited to announce the arrival of Inspire’s 2015 anthology, Inspire Forgiveness.
Saturday, December 12th
10am to 1pm
2168 Sunset Blvd. 105 Rocklin, CA 95765
Authors will be available to sign copies! Coffee, tea and pastries are available for purchase at Origin, where all proceeds go toward ending human trafficking.
A good love story keeps readers turning pages as they cheer for characters who struggle to overcome the obstacles that keep them apart. Yet not many writers realize the complexity of writing romance novels.
Award winning author Keli Gwyn delights readers with relatable characters, unexpected plot twists, surprising humor and tender love stories. Her debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, won first place in the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Awards.
Please welcome Keli Gwyn as she celebrates her latest release, a Love Inspired Historical title, Family of Her Dreams, and shares about the art of writing romance novels.
Xochi: Thank you for joining us, Keli. Congratulations on your newest release. Would you please tell us a little bit about the fun event you have planned to celebrate the launch of your first Love Inspired novel, Family of Her Dreams?
Keli: Thanks for inviting me, Xochi. It’s great to be here.
I’m exited about the event, which takes place this coming Sunday (details below). My Book Release Party is being held at the very railroad station in Shingle Springs where the (fictional) hero of my story, Spencer Abbott, is stationmaster. It’s where he meets Tess Grimsby, the headstrong woman who will become his housekeeper.
My guests will be able to purchase the book, enjoy refreshments and browse in the quaint Antique Depot shop operating in the historic building still standing today. In addition, the Western El Dorado Railroad will be offering rides that day for a nominal fee.
Xochi: Celebrating the novel release at the same train station your fictional characters meet sounds exciting. What role do setting and time period play in romance novels?
Keli: The setting, especially real ones like I use, can bring a historic location to life in readers’ minds. Through the descriptions sprinkled in a story, they can travel to a new place. Depending on the period the author has chosen, readers will experience what life was like at that particular time. For example, Shingle Springs is a sleepy small town these days, but in 1865 when Family of Her Dreams begins, it was home to one of the busiest rail depots in the state. Readers will see a bustling community that played an important role in California’s history.
Xochi: What are the most important elements of a good romance novel?
Keli: Creating likable characters readers want to spend time with is important in any story. In a romance we must go beyond that and show the deepening relationship between the hero and heroine. In inspirational romance, we focus primarily on the couple’s emotional journey rather than physical attraction. There are kisses, of course, and we inpsy authors learn how to get the most out of them. 😉
Keli: It’s important to remember that a romance is first and foremost about the relationship between the hero and heroine. Plot is important, but the focus needs to be on the couple and their journey to the Happy Ever After, which romance readers expect and eagerly await.
Xochi: Please share a few tips on developing the perfect couple for a romance novel.
Keli: Our heroes and heroines need to be strong characters. They’re bigger than life. Readers don’t want to read about ordinary people. They want stories about extraordinary people. It’s important to show attraction, but there can and should be sparks at times. Readers want to see how a couple handles the many obstacles we writers throw at them. In inspirational romances, readers want to see the role faith plays in the hero and heroine’s lives as well.
Xochi: What stereotypes should writers avoid?
Keli: Readers want characters with depth. Cowboys are a reader favorite in the Love Inspired Historical Line, but if a LIH author creates a cowboy hero, he has to have traits and characteristics that set him apart. If he acts and sounds like a stereotypical cowboy, he won’t endear himself to readers.
Although our heroines are strong women, they are unique. Each heroine has to become a real, distinct person in a reader’s mind. A heroine has to be someone the reader relates to, admires and might even want to be more like.
Xochi: What should writers keep in mind when plotting a romance novel?
Keli: Keeping the couple together is key. Most scenes should include the hero and heroine. Each scene should advance the story and not be episodic. The turning points and Black Moment should relate to the couple and their relationship. The external plot needs to be there, but the romance takes top billing.
Xochi: Would you please explain the concept of the Black Moment?
Keli: The Black Moment comes just before the end of a story. It’s that point in time when everything appears to be falling apart.
In a romance it takes place when the hero and heroine appear to have resolved all their issues. However, something comes along that makes it seemingly impossible for them to end up together. All is lost–or so they think.
In The Sound of Music Maria realizes she’s fallen for the Captain and returns to the abbey confused and conflicted. The Mother Abbess convinces Maria the only way to resolve things is to go back and face her fears–and the Captain. She does, arriving filled with hope of a future with the man she loves. But then comes the Black Moment: the Captain is already engaged. There’s no way Maria’s dream can come true. Of course, it does, but before it does the reader/viewer experiences the pain of dashed hopes along with Maria. The Black Moment makes the long-awaited Happy Ever After that much sweeter.
Xochi: What sets apart a romance novel from a novel that has romantic elements?
Keli: In a romance novel, the developing relationship is the primary focus of the story, taking precedence over the external plot. In a novel with strong romantic elements, the romance is there, but it is secondary. Think of The Sound of Music. If you removed the romance between Captain VonTrapp and Maria, the story wouldn’t be the gem it is. This classic movie has stood the test of time not because it’s a great WWII story, but because it’s a wonderfully satisfying romance.
Xochi: What advice would you give an aspiring romance novelist?
Keli: Read plenty of romances to see how other authors craft a story. Then sit down and have fun writing yours.
Let the words flow freely. Don’t expect your first romance to be a work of genius. Allow yourself time to learn and grow as a writer without putting undue pressure on yourself. Spend time studying craft. When others knowledgeable about the romance genre tell you you’re ready to put your work out there, begin querying.
Xochi: Thank you for joining us, Keli. I look forward to reading Family of Her Dreams.
Keli: Thank you so much for hosting me, Xochi, and for asking such insightful questions. You really made me think. 🙂
Please join us to celebrate the release of Family of Her Dreams on Sunday, June 14, 2015 at the Antique Depot, 4241 Mother Lode Drive in Shingle Springs, California, from 11 am to 2:30 pm.
Call the Antique Depot at (530) 677-5542 with questions.
We look forward to seeing you there!
With a heart for loving God, loving people, and nurturing spiritual growth, Xochi (so-she) E. Dixon encourages and equips women to experience the fragrance of God’s presence through prayerful study and application of His Holy Word at www.xedixon.com.
Copyright © 2015 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Cover art and cover copy text used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited.
® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated companies, used under license
While serving in the Navy, aboard an aircraft carrrier in the Persian Gulf, Michael Russo received a letter from a stranger. That letter was the beginning of a lifelong friendship and the catalyst for his debut novel, Everlene’s Sky.
I interviewed Michael about his friendship with Everlene and the book he just launched, a novelization of her life story.
Here are some of the questions I posed to Michael:
- Tell me about the first time Everlene made contact with you.
- What propelled you to write back to her?
- How did her correspondence impact you.
- At what point did you start thinking, “Hey, this would make a great book”?
- And when did you start writing it?
- Prior to this, had you written for publication?
- Describe your writing process.
- How involved was Everlene in the process?
- The title, Everlene’s Sky, comes from a quote from Everlene. Can you share that quote and why you used it for your book title?
- Describe your publishing process.
- How has the book been received so far?
- What are you doing to help promote Everlene’s Sky?
- What would you say to someone who’s in that place where you were–they have an interesting book idea and are at the beginning of the writing and publishing process. What have you learned that you can pass along?
Be sure to watch the 700 Club segment about Everlene Brewer and her unique ministry to U.S. service men and women.
Have you had an encounter with a stranger that became a subject of your writing? Tell us about it.
Elizabeth M Thompson loves stories–fiction and nonfiction alike. Mostly, she loves God’s story and seeks to share with readers how they fit into it. When she’s not reading, writing, or serving the Inspire writers, she can be found along the American River, pedaling her bike, paddling a kayak or walking hand-in-hand with her husband Mike. Connect with Elizabeth on her blog, Facebook or Twitter. She loves to connect with other writers!
Excitement is growing at Inspire. Several of our members have books coming out this month and many more books will be released over the next few months.
In response I am listing seven things we can do to promote our friends’ books:
1. Pray for the ministry of the book. We write with a purpose of touching hearts and changing lives, which can only happen when the message is read. Inspire writers pray for each other’s projects, asking God to put them in the hands of readers who can benefit from the messages or stories being published.
2. Post book reviews. After reading your friend’s book, consider what you liked best about the content, style, and message, and write a brief review. Then post the review on Amazon.com, GoodReads.com, Christianbook.com and BarnesandNoble.com. Readers rely on reviews to make purchasing decisions. Your honest review will have a positive impact on the sales of the book.
3. Blog to promote the book. By posting a well-written interview and/or book review on your blog, you can help generate interest in your friend’s book. Include a book trailer if possible. You can increase interest by offering a free copy of the book. Don’t forget to mention the book in comments you leave on other blogs as well.
4. Tweet to get the word out. Twitter provides a great forum for peer promotion, allowing you to post brief, pointed tweets about the book or re-tweeting what others say about it. You can also re-tweet posts from the book’s author. If the book is mentioned in an article or review, you can tweet it out to the world. Tweet quotes from the book to whet the appetites of your followers. Then be sure to invite them to book signings.
5. Create a buzz on Facebook. Update your status with a positive comment about the book and “Like” the author’s page. Post quotes from the book. Invite your Facebook friends to a book signing. You can also give away a copy of the book on your Facebook page. Your small efforts help build a big buzz.
6. Distribute marketing pieces. Carry promotional postcards or bookmarks with you. Pass them out whenever the opportunity presents itself. Give them to your local bookstore manager and church librarian. Ask them to carry the book. Distribute a speaker packet to a church leader, ministry director, pastor—whoever makes decisions about speakers. Present bookmarks to your book club and encourage them to read the book. Personally recommend the book to a friend (or lots of friends!)
7. Help with the Book Launch Party or Book Signing event. I recently attended a book launch that was hosted by a dear friend of the author. The party was a huge success! The friend put the same care into the party as she would a baby or bridal shower. Every detail was perfect–and the author was relaxed and enjoyed her guests. Maybe you don’t have time to throw an entire launch party, but there are many things you can do: Invite friends to attend book-signing/book launch with you. Provide refreshments for the event. Offer to help with book sales at book-signing. Create a gift basket for a door-prize drawing. You can also host an intimate gathering in your home for a meet & greet with the author.
Your enthusiasm about your friend’s book can make a difference in getting the word out. Employing these seven steps will make your peer promotion efforts more effective.
Here’s a question for you: What steps are you taking help promote your friend’s books?
Elizabeth M Thompson loves stories–fiction and nonfiction alike. Mostly, she loves God’s story and seeks to share with readers how they fit into it. When she’s not reading, writing, or serving the Inspire writers, she can be found along the American River, pedaling her bike, paddling a kayak or walking hand-in-hand with her husband Mike.