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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Author Interview - Keli Gwyn


Anne: The lovely lady in the picture above is my friend Keli Gwyn, a warm and energetic author who just published her first book last month. I invited her to join us this morning and answer a few questions aboutherself and  her debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California. To answer your first question, yes, that's all one title. (Sorry, Keli, I couldn't resist.)

So, Keli, I always love to know what gives an author the idea for his or her book. What inspired this one?

Keli: While doing research about towns in El Dorado County, California, where I live, I came across information about a merchant named James B. Wetherwax. Mr. Wetherwax owned a successful mercantile in El Dorado housed in the most impressive building in town. He was on a number of committees and was well respected. I wanted to learn more about him, but I could find nothing else. Being a writer, I could imagine such a man, and I did. Miles Rutledge is that man. Like Mr. Wetherwax, Miles owns a successful mercantile in the most impressive building in El Dorado. He’s also well liked. But that’s where the similarities stop. The rest of Miles’s character is a product of my fertile imagination.

In my town of Placerville, one of the historic landmarks is the Emmigrant Jane building. Jane came drove a wagon across the country and opened her own shop when she arrived here. Because of this, I learned that women could own businesses in California from the earliest days. That let me know that Elenora Watkins could open her own shop when a certain mulish mercantile rescinds his offer of a partnership ship upon learning that E. F. Watkins is a woman rather than the man he was expecting.

Anne: What's next? Will this book be part of a series?

Keli: A Bride Opens Shop is part of Barbour Publishing’s new Destination Romances line. Each book is written by a different author, and each story is set in a different place. Therefore, I don’t see a sequel, although there are a number of characters whose stories I’d love to tell.

I’m working on another historical romance, and my agent has given me the green light on six more story ideas. I’m going to be writing like the wind.

Anne: Wow, you are going to be one busy lady--thanks again for being willing Why did you choose to write about the El Dorado area?

Keli: I live in the heart of California’s Gold Country and have long been fascinated by the rich history of the area. El Dorado is located just a few miles from where I live, so I was eager to set a story there and bring this historic town to life.

Anne: In your book, you mention an event called "El Dorado Day." Was this a real event there?

Keli: While I love to incorporate real events in my stories, El Dorado Day is not one of them. I created the event for the purpose of the story. However, the basis for the event—the construction of the town’s first two fireproof buildings—is based on fact. Mr. Wetherwax didn’t want to lose his business to fire, so in 1856 he had his rock and stone block building constructed.

Anne: At your book launch, I noticed your tall, dark, handsome hubby. Is Miles Rutledge patterned after him?

Keli: Miles and Gwynly have a few similarities. Both are 6’2” tall. Both are musicians, although Gwynly doesn't fiddle. Both have good senses of humor. Miles, however, is a bit of a dandy, whereas Gwynly takes little notice of his appearance. Miles has a habit of bungling his words and tasting shoe leather; Gwynly does not. Miles makes Elenora’s heart dance. Gwynly does the same for mine. =)

Anne: Thanks, Keli. I've really enjoyed getting to know you and your book a little better. If those of you reading this want to buy her book, you can get them through Christianbook.com, Amazon, or Barnes and Nobel. In addition, I'd be willing to be you could get your local bookstore to stock some.

So, readers, do you have any other questions for Keli?