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Interview with Keli Gwyn

Keli is enamored with Victorian-speak, which is why she writes inspirational historical romances that take place during the Victorian Era. She writes what she loves to read: inspirational historical romances with dashing heroes and determined heroines, all of whom embody the spirit and resourcefulness of those who settled the far western United States. When her fingers aren’t hovering over the keyboard of that newfangled laptop of hers, she enjoys strolling past stately Victorian houses in her historic town, burying her nose in reference books as she unearths interesting facts to include in her stories, and interacting with other romance readers.

Congratulations on your debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California. Also, congratulations on the four-star review from Romantic Times! What prompted you to write in the historical romance genre?

Thanks for the kind words. I really appreciate them.

I love reading historical romances, so when I began writing those were the kind of stories I wanted to tell. Bringing the past to life on the page is such fun. Yes, I really am smitten with the Victorian Era.

Who/What spurs you to write? Where do your story and character ideas come from?
What spurs me to write are other writers who tell such wonderful stories, stories I love to read. They make me want to tell some of my own.

My story ideas come from an overactive imagination coupled with a case of insomnia. OK, maybe not all of my ideas stem from late-night chats with my characters. I get some of them from looking at old photographs, visiting historic sights, and devouring reference books.

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities?
I’m sure many of you struggle to juggle, just as I do. We’re readers, writers, spouses, parents, friends, volunteers… Yup. We have some pretty hefty hat racks, don’t we? I don’t know how those of you who work or have little ones still living at home manage. My hat’s off to all of you.

Me? I’m an Empty Nester with a very supportive husband, and I don’t work outside the home. Even so, my house is in desperate need of a good cleaning, my laundry baskets are overflowing, and my desk is buried beneath piles of paper. What I’ve had to learn is that it’s OK not to be Wonder Woman. It’s OK to say no to some things so I can say yes to others, such as writing. After all, writing is much more fun than dusting. Wouldn’t you agree?

Reflecting back, what do you see as most significant to your publication journey?
My husband’s unflagging support. Gwynly’s the very best! That’s why I dedicated my debut novel to him. I’m sure many of you have supportive spouses, parents, and writing partners, and other treasured members of your fan clubs, too. Am I right, or am I right?

Some are pantsters, some are avid plotter/planners, tell us, how do you plot your novels?
I used to be a pantser. After performing a massive rewrite for my agent, I learned the value of plotting. These days I don’t like to start a story until I’ve written a synopsis, back cover copy, and one-sentence summary. If I can’t write them, I know I don’t have the basic building blocks I need to tell a story. Without those pillars in place I could meander, end up with a mess, and have to muddle through a rewrite. Since I’d rather not experience that agony, er, s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g experience again, I prefer to plan a story before I start plopping words on the page.

If you could go back a few years ago and change one thing about your writing journey prior to landing Rachelle Gardner as your agent, what would that be?
I’ve done my best to enjoy each step on my journey. Since I learned valuable lessons from all those I took prior to receiving Rachelle’s offer of representation, I wouldn’t want to change a thing.

Now if you had asked about after I received the offer, I would say I wish I could deal the Doubt Dragon a fatal blow. That pesky fellow pays me far too many visits. Please, tell me I’m not alone in this.

For fun, if you could take a plane to ONE place, where would you go? If you could bring one person with you, who would it be? And if you could eat only one kind of food during your trip, what would that be?
I’d fly to Germany with my German-major daughter and eat a variety of the hearty German breads topped with various spreads. We used to live in Germany, and my whole family misses the tasty breads we used to enjoy. My favorite was a multigrain topped with sunflower seeds. Yummers!

Keli, thank you for sharing with us!
Thanks again for having me. It’s been my pleasure.

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