Friday, May 29, 2015

FAMILY OF HER DREAMS - Keli Gwyn - One Free Book

Bio: Award-winning author Keli Gwyn writes stories that transport readers to the 1800s, where she brings historic towns to life, peoples them with colorful characters, and adds a hint of humor. A California native, she lives in the Gold Rush-era town of Placerville at the foot of the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains.

When Keli’s fingers aren’t hovering over the keyboard of her newfangled laptop, 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. Her favorite places to visit are her fictional worlds, other Gold Rush-era towns, and historical museums.

Welcome, Keli. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
It seems each of my characters has at least one of my attributes. Tess, the heroine in Family of Her Dreams, loves to record her innermost thoughts in writing. Like Tess, I’ve often kept journals. Becky, the heroine in my second Love Inspired Historical, has a fondness for words and is quite attached to her dictionary, as am I. Callie, whose story I’m currently working on, names inanimate objects. If you were to visit my house, you’d find the Monster lurking in the hall closet, which is what I call our vacuum cleaner when I warn our skittish cats that it’s coming out of hiding.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I have several quirks, but one that draws attention is my ability to engage in Cat Speak. When people visit our house and hear our two cat brothers with their distinct voices and personalities carrying on lively conversations, they have varied reactions. The more reserved try to hide their surprise but are given away by the widening of their eyes. Some grin. Others laugh outright. I simply remind our guests that they’re in the company of a writer who’s in the habit of creating characters, so what can they expect?

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
At the age of seven, I had a light bulb moment when I realized that the books I loved to read were written by writers. My dream of being a writer was born that memorable day. Forty years later, I dusted off that dream and began writing my first romance.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
Historical romance is by far my favorite genre. I’m partial to stories set in the American West during the Victorian Era. Sound familiar? Yup. That’s what I write. My favorite tropes are mail-order bride and marriage of convenience stories. I do read some contemporary romances, and thanks to Sarah Sundin, I read the occasional WWII story. Hers are a must read.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
My sanity has done run out on me. At least there are days I feel like it’s left. Snicker!

Seriously, though, I have learned to embrace that itty bitty word “no.” I’ve come to realize I can’t do it all. I carefully evaluate how much I put on my plate. Even so, there are times when I take on too much, end up with an overflowing platter and have to do some paring. I suspect I’m not alone in this. Please, tell me I’m not.

I think all authors have to do that, probably more than once in their writing life. How do you choose your characters’ names?
I peruse lists of Victorian names, look in past issues of our newspaper, which dates back to California’s Gold Rush, and keep my ears open when people talk about their ancestors. My goal is to give a hero a strong, solid-sounding name. I tend to choose names for my heroines that have a dated feel but flow nicely off the tongue. If a name can be shortened, I consider that a bonus. That way my heroine can have a nickname. Since I’m a romance writer, I make sure to try my heroine’s first name with my hero’s last name. For example, Penelope (Penny) Baxter and Garrett Gwyn would never do.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
In regards to an accomplishment that involves others, I would say I’m proud of helping my husband raise a daughter who loves the Lord and is confident enough to be pursuing her dream of working in Europe. When it comes to a personal accomplishment, I would say seeing my first book released has made me the proudest. That milestone was the culmination of a lifelong dream.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
A chihuahua. I’m small, but I have plenty of energy. I’m also a big Taco Bell fan.

What is your favorite food?
I love Mexican food! During college, I often put away Taco Bell for both lunch and dinner. These days, I often make myself a bean burrito smothered in green sauce for lunch.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Without a doubt it was—and is—self-doubt. While there are times when the words flow and I feel like I’ve written something halfway decent, there are others when I’m sure what I’ve splashed on the page is complete and utter dreck.

Tell us about the featured book.
Family of Her Dreams, my first Love Inspired Historical, takes place in a Gold Rush-era town not far from where I live in the Sierra Foothills. Here is the back cover copy.

A Family to Cherish
Headstrong Tess Grimsby loves her new job caring for the children of a recently widowed man. But she never imagined that she’d fall for her handsome employer. Yet Spencer Abbott is as caring as he is attractive, and Tess can’t help but feel for him and his family. Though, for the sake of her job, she’ll keep any emotions about her boss to herself.

Between his stationmaster responsibilities in a gold-rush town and trying to put his family back together, Spencer has his hands full. He soon finds his new hire’s kind personality warming his frosty exterior. But could he ever admit to seeing her as more than just an employee?

Please give us the first page of the book.
The pages of my book are small, so I’ll give you a wee bit more than that, since I’m eager for your blog’s readers to meet my handsome but hurting hero, Spencer Abbott.

July 1866
Shingle Springs, California
“Look out, ma’am!”

Tess Grimsby jumped back to avoid a fellow about fifteen pulling a baggage cart with far too much speed for the bustling rail station. She collided with a mother herding her four youngsters, causing the weary-looking woman to drop her wicker basket. Several children’s books slid across the wooden platform.

“My apologies. I didn’t mean to bump into you.” Tess stooped to pick up the books that had landed at her feet.

The woman made sure her children were all right, dropped to her knees and reached for a copy of Little Bo-Peep. “It wasn’t your fault.” She scowled at the baggage handler. “He needs to watch where he’s going.”

The young man parked his cart beside the baggage car and sprinted over to them. “Sorry ’bout that. It’s my first day on the job, and my boss said to hurry. I’ve got to make a good impression.” He grinned, reminding Tess of one of the many boys she’d befriended when she lived at the orphanage.

She smiled. “No harm was done.”

A man with a voice as rich as Belgian chocolate addressed the teen. “Be more careful next time. Getting the baggage moved quickly is important, but Mr. Flynn wouldn’t want you to endanger our passengers, nor would I.”

“Right, sir.” The lad left.

“Come, children. We need to get home.” The mother took the books Tess had gathered, muttered something about troublesome teens and hustled her children across the crowded platform.

Tess slid her satchel back on her shoulder, straightened and found herself face-to-face with a broad-shouldered, golden-haired gentleman. He was younger than any of the men she’d worked for—and far more handsome with his strong chin and arresting sky-blue eyes, currently clouded with sadness. If he was Mr. Abbott—the widower she’d come to see—she could understand.
He held out her journal and said nothing for several seconds as he gazed at her, his expression unreadable. No doubt the tall man wasn’t used to looking a woman in the eye.


The frown he’d worn faded, giving way to a hint of a smile that caused her breath to hitch. “I believe this is yours. It fell out of your bag during the commotion.”

“Thank you.” She took the diary from him, its pages so full of her hopes and dreams—as well as the mementos she’d tucked between the pages—that she had to grip it tightly to keep items from falling out. She would add her train ticket to the collection of memorabilia, a symbol of the new chapter in her life she was eager to embrace. “You must be Mr. Abbott, the stationmaster.”
Copyright © 2015 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Cover, cover copy text and excerpt used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited.
® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
or its affiliated companies, used under license.

I love it. How can readers find you on the Internet?
I invite readers to visit my Victorian-style cyber home at, where they can find my contact information and social media links.

Thanks for hosting me, Lena. Your questions were a lot of fun to answer.

I’d like to end by asking your blog visitor’s a question. I admitted to naming my vacuum cleaner. What is an inanimate object you’ve named, and why did you give it that name?

Thank you, Keli, for the fun interview.

Dear Readers, leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Keli's novel. Be sure to answer her question, and we'd like to know where you live, at least the state or territory.

Here are links where you can purchase a copy of Family of Her Dreams:
Family of Her Dreams -
Family of Her Dreams (Love Inspired Historical) - Amazon
Family of Her Dreams (Love Inspired Historical) - Kindle

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:


Beth Gillihan said...

Fun interview! I haven't named any object, but I talk to them and myself all the time. Sounds like a good read. Thanks for the chance to win!

Beth in Montana

Keli Gwyn said...

Hi, Beth! I'm glad I'm not alone in talking to inanimate objects. I hold conversations with my computer all the time. Sadly some of them expose my frustrations with technology. LOL

How are things up in Montana? Are you enjoying spring?

Chrissy D said...

Awesome and fun interview Keli. I love your style of writing and your sense of humor. Looking forward to reading your new novel.

I do name "things" every now and again. Such as my little Flamingo whirlybird in my backyard. Named her Pinky. When the wind picks up and her wings begin to spin, I sit on my swing and yell, "Go Pinky, go Pinky." Then I chuckle for doing that. Though I've had to replace her a few times as she apparently keeps getting in the way of my husband's weed whacker.

Thanks for the opportunity to share.

Chrissy D. <><

Keli Gwyn said...

Chrissy, thanks for your kind words about my writing. You just made my day!

When I think about you sitting in your swing and cheering on Pinky (whichever version of her you're on these days), I smile. Sounds like something I would do. :-)

Katie said...

Great post! I'm excited about the possibility of winning this book!!!

My family names all of our cars - usually after some kind of food. My car is an orange Suzuki Reno. I named it Clementine because it is little and orange, but we call it Clem for short :)

Thanks again so much for the opportunity!

Katie G.

Keli Gwyn said...

Katie, naming cars is fun. I love the name you chose for yours. Clementine sounds so fitting.

Anna Weaver Hurtt said...

Great interview, ladies! I don't think I've named any inanimate objects lately, but I used to do it all the time as a kid. :) Thanks for the giveaway!

Anna H.

Keli Gwyn said...

Hi, Anna! I'm guessing you're enjoying sunny days over your way. It's heating up here in California. We're looking at mid 80s over the weekend. Summer, here we come!

Erica Vetsch said...

I'm so excited for this new release, Keli, for so many reasons! It sounds like a fabulous story, and I'm proud of you for persevering through some hard times and not giving up!

Dana Michael said...

Does a computer count? I have the slowest Internet service ever. I live in the country and so I'm constantly yelling at my computer. I call it stupid.

Anonymous said...

I named my truck Henry!Just liked it since it was a older model! Shelia Hall from Mississippi

Melanie Backus said...

Great interview! I have a new travel trailer. It is a reissue of a 1961 Shasta and it is red and white so I named her Little Red Rosie! I think her name fits her well.

Melanie Backus, TX

Trixi said...

Oh yeah, we name our cars! It's usually a biblical name and our current cars are both female. Although we detracted a bit from the biblical names this time around....mine is called Tibby because it has one of those shark-looking fins (antenna?) on the roof and that name is short for shark (so says my husband) and my husband's car is Matilda (don't ask me why, lol), my husband's idea again :-D I think that's as far as we go on naming inanimate objects, unless you count talking to them....which I do a lot of, haha!
Thanks for a chance to win a copy of your book. Love Inspired Historical is my FAVORITE!

Cindy W. said...

Oh I would love to win a copy of Kelli's book. I love the LIH line of books.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

I live in Indiana.

Trixi said...

Geeze I always forget something.....

Trixi on the beautiful Oregon Coast! :D

Keli Gwyn said...

Sorry I disappeared for a while. This was a BIG day in my family. It was my guy's very last day of school--as a teacher. Yup! Carl (aka Gwynly) is officially retired now. I was out helping him celebrate, even if the experience is a touch bittersweet. He loved being a teacher and will miss his students greatly. I'm one proud wife.

Off to respond to your wonderful comments...

Keli Gwyn said...

Thanks for sharing in my excitement, Erica. Those three l-o-n-g years between my first and second contracts were...character-building. I'm thrilled to be writing for Love Inspired Historical now.

Keli Gwyn said...

Dana, I can relate to those heated discussions with a computer. My laptop and I have had words at times. LOL

Keli Gwyn said...

Shelia, I think naming your older truck Henry is cool. I have a hunch Henry Ford would have agreed. (I realize you might not be a Ford person, but I am. I drive a Ford Explorer Sport Trac and love it.)

Keli Gwyn said...

Melanie, I love that you call your trailer Little Red Rosie. What a cute name!

Keli Gwyn said...

Trixi, I have a hubby who names his cars, too. Carl has a 1968 MGB roadster convertible. His blonde British beauty is named Midge. My guy is the second owner, having bought Midge in 1970, many years before he met me. I'm a good sport and share my guy with her. He does talk to her quite often when he's tinkering with her engine. :-)

Keli Gwyn said...

Cindy, I'm glad you enjoy the LIH books. I do, too. That's why I wanted to write for the line. There are so many wonderful LIH authors. I can't believe I got to join them. I'm still pinching myself.

Keli Gwyn said...

Trixi, the Oregon Coast is beautiful. I was blessed to take a vacation and drive along much of it once. Wow! Talk about God's artistry on display.

Keli Gwyn said...

I think Blogger suspected me of being a spammer. I had to pick out the like items in order to post each of the last eight comments. Every one of them had me identifying food, cake or bread. I'm feeling quite hungry now. LOL

Trixi said...

I do too, Keli, especially when it makes me pick out the sushi!! And I LOVE I am hungry :-D

Keli Gwyn said...

I'm not a fan of sushi, Trixi, so I'll save my virtual offerings for you. One my last comment I got to identify ice cream. Since it's a warm evening in Northern California, that sounds good. :-)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this interview. I can't remember ever giving a name to anything I owned that wasn't alive. Thanks lena for having Keli visit. I would love to win Keli's book. Thanks for a chance. GOD bless you both. Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

Mary Preston said...

What a fantastic story & such a lovely cover.

Mary P


karenk said...

thanks for the opportunity to read this novel, ladies....I loved your debut novel, Kelly.

karenk...from PA
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Rose Chandler Johnson said...

Thanks Lena and Keli for the interview and giveaway. I enjoyed getting to know Keli, who is quite a charming quirky character. I'd love to win a copy of her novel.

Keli Gwyn said...

Maxie, I know there are those who don't name inanimate objects, but I can't help myself. It's my writer's imagination at work. :-)

Keli Gwyn said...

Mary, what fun to have a visitor from Australia. We have dear friends in Brisbane whom we hope to visit one day. If only retirement and a reduced income didn't go together.

Thanks for the compliment on my cover. The Love Inspired design team does a great job, don't they?

Keli Gwyn said...

Karen, I'm glad you enjoyed my debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California. I hope you enjoy Family of Her Dreams as well. It takes place in another of the Gold Rush-era towns in the area where I live.

Keli Gwyn said...

Rose, your comment made me smile. For years I tried to hide my quirkiness. It wasn't until I got older, er, more mature that I realized those quirks are part of what makes me who I am.

Anonymous said...

Angela in KY would love to win.

Keli Gwyn said...

Thanks for stopping by, Angela.

Deanne said...

I talk to my computer when I'm frustrated with it, which just may or may not be often. It shows that I just get frustrated when it goes so slow, lol, This is just my favorite time period in books the 1860's. This book sounds like so much fun. As a mom of 12 books with families and a child or children get to. I'd love to read this. Thank you for the opportunity.
Deanne in Pennsylvania

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me can't wait to read your book!!
Conway, SC.

sm said...

I and many others would love to have the dreamer of my dreams! Would enjoy your book. sm CA wileygreen1(at(yahoo(dot)com

Keli Gwyn said...

Deanne, I enjoy stories set in the 1860s, too, as well as the 1870s. So much progress was being made, the nation was being connected by rail and the clothes were so lovely.

Keli Gwyn said...

Thanks for stopping by, Sharon.

Keli Gwyn said...

Sm, hi from one Californian to another.

Bonnie Roof said...

Enjoyed the interview, Keli and Lena - thank you!! I haven't read any of Keli's books and would love to read "Family of Her Own".

Many years ago, I had a car which I named Betsy, however, I can't remember why, lol!!

Bonnie Roof

Keli Gwyn said...

Bonnie, I think Betsy would be a fun name for a car. It makes me think of the old song Sweet Betsy From Pike.

Family of Her Dreams is my first Love Inspired Historical. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, came out three years ago, but you can still find it at the online booksellers if you're interested.

Connie said...

Great interview and I love the cover of the book!
Connie from Kentucky

Keli Gwyn said...

Thanks for your kind words about the cover, Connie. I squealed with delight when I saw it for the first time. I'd suggested the idea, but what the Love Inspired design team came up with was even better than what I'd envisioned.

Brenda Arrington said...

I live in Virginia. Thanks for the chance to win your book.

Keli Gwyn said...

Brenda, I would love to visit Virginia one day. So much history to explore. =)

Anonymous said...

I love this time period in history. This sounds like a fun read for summer. Thanks for hosting Keli, Lena.
marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com
Maryann in NY

Keli Gwyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Keli Gwyn said...

Sorry about the deleted comment. I didn't spot my mistake until after I'd hit send. This night owl needs to call it day.

Maryann, I enjoy writing stories set in the 1860s and 1870s. Things were changing so quickly in those days. The country was connected by rails, and new items were being invented at a rapid rate.

Merry said...

Family of Her Dreams sounds like a heart warming story. I love the gold run town setting!
Merry in MN

Keli Gwyn said...

Merry, I'm excited to bring the Gold Country to life in my stories. What readers might find interesting is how quickly California became civilized. The Easterners who flocked to the area brought their culture with them. Things were wild in the earliest days of the state, but we didn't remain the Wild West for long. My town of Placerville had a philharmonic orchestra, brass band and roller skating rink by the late 1860s, early 1870s.