I’m delighted to be here, Melanie. What a fun way to spend my birthday, sharing it with you and your blog’s visitors.
I’m a native Californian living in a Gold Rush-era town at the base of the majestic Sierras. Enamored by the history of the area, I set my debut novel in a nearby town. When I’m not writing, I enjoy strolling past the elegant Victorian houses in my historic hometown, pouring through research books in search of interesting facts to use in my stories, and reading romance novels while walking on the local hiking trail—my favorite form of multitasking.
Happy birthday! :) What is A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California about?
An ever-resourceful widow, Elenora Watkins arrives in El Dorado ready to go into partnership with Miles Rutledge. When he refuses, Elenora becomes the competition across the street. Is this town big enough for the two of them? Miles can’t help but stick his well-polished boot in his mouth whenever he comes face-to-face with Elenora. Can he find a way to win her heart while destroying her business?
A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California is your debut novel. Will you explain to us your journey to publication?
I’ll be nice and give you the short version. I wrote five historicals in two years, entered them in contests, and got lots of great feedback from contest judges but few finals. I also sent out some queries and found out how much a rejection can sting. I learned that I had lots to learn.
I spent the next year studying craft. I picked out the strongest of the five stories, rewrote it, entered a few more contests, and placed first a number of times. I received several requests for the full from my final round judges, including one from Rachelle Gardner, who offered me representation. I spent several months rewriting the story under her direction. When I finished, she submitted it, we received two offers, and I durn near dislocated something doing a rather vigorous happy dance.
What is something the average reader wouldn't know about you?
I have a collection of wooden tops I bought when my husband and I lived in Germany. I don’t know why they fascinate me so. Maybe because they’re pretty, or maybe because I could use my collection as an excuse to visit toys stores when we traveled around Europe during my teacher husband’s summer vacations.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’d dreamed of being a writer since I was seven. It took me forty years to go from dreaming of writing to embarking on my writing journey. I don’t advise waiting so long. Dreams won’t come true if we don’t act on them.
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Hmm. I’m pretty quirky, so choosing just one quirk is a challenge. Let me see. I guess I’d have to say watching movies with the subtitles on. I like to see the words, so I can study the dialogue. Screenwriters can teach fiction writers a lot about creating snappy dialogue.
I’m a homebody and am happiest writing at home. Don’t ask me why, but I don’t like anyone to see me while I’m writing. I tend to talk to myself while I write dialogue, act out facial and body movements when I’m trying to capture an emotion on the page, and do a fair bit of staring into space as I envision a scene, all of which might lead to some interesting looks if I were to write in a public place. (See? I told you I was quirky.)
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I enjoy visiting the Coach factory outlet store, going on top-down rides with my husband in his classic MGB sports car, and fueling my creativity with frequent trips to Taco Bell. (I’m addicted to the place.)
Is there a place you’d like to visit, but haven’t yet?
I really am happiest at home, but I would like to visit Australia one day and feed a kangaroo. I’ll pass on seeing a Tasmanian devil, though. That creature looks pretty scary.
Do you have a favorite song?
My favorite song? This is tough, since there are so many great ones to choose from. I’ll go with the one that mushes me out every time, the hymn “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.” This was the recessional at my wedding. Whenever I hear it, my eyes fill with tears of joy.
What is your favorite dessert?
This is easy. My husband’s shortbread. It’s yummy!
Do you have a favorite Bible verse?
I’m encouraged by Isaiah 41:10a, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.” There are times the writing journey requires courage and forging ahead in the face of disappointments, and it’s comforting to know the Lord is there for me on the dark days as well as the days of rejoicing.
Okay, I thought I'd ask a few this-or-that questions:
Snowstorms or Thunderstorms?
Thunderstorms. There’s so much power in them. It’s like God is putting on a light show for us.
Tea or Coffee?
Tea. I love the smell of coffee but never developed a taste for it.
I’m not overly fond of either, but I’d pick plane travel over going by boat.
Early-bird or Night-owl?
I used to be a night-owl, but in recent years my body clock seems to have shifted. I wake early, even if I stay up late. Aw shucks. This makes me sound old, doesn’t it? Well, I am turning fifty-three today, so there you have it.
Cats or Dogs?
Cats. We have two long-haired brothers whose fur clings to my clothing like an over-protective mother clings to her beloved child. I have a new motto, “Have lint roller; will travel.”
Are you currently working on any new novels? If so, could you give us a hint?
I’m working on another story set in one of California’s Gold Rush-era towns and have ideas in the works for lots more.
Thanks so much for being here! Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers and where can we find you on the web?
Thanks so much for hosting me, Melanie! It’s been a pleasure. I can be found at my cyber home, www.keligwyn.com, and invite visitors to stop by. The Parlor is ready, and the tea is steeping.a Rafflecopter giveaway
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