Thursday, July 19, 2012


What a FABULOUS opportunity I have today!

I get to interview the wonderful, famous, uber cool KELI GWYN!!!

If you don't know Keli, you're missing out, I have to tell you. Not only is she a fabulous author, but she also possesses a heart of complete gold! (She doesn't know I was going to gush at the beginning of this... but she deserves it!)

And I'm just tickled pink to be able to interview her on The Writer's Alley today, as well as giveaway a super special item to one lucky commentor! (see below!)

Without further adue or gush, I introduce to you, Keli Gwyn!

Krista: AHHH!!! As of July 1st, you are officially, no questions asked, without a doubt, a PUBLISHED AUTHOR! Did you feel different when you woke up that morning?? What did you do to celebrate???

Keli: I awoke to the sounds of Kool and the Gang belting out “Celebration,” leaped out of bed, donned a tiara, and boogied BIG time. What? You don’t believe me. Well, you’re right. It wasn’t quite like that.

Gwynly greeted me when I got up, grinning and congratulating me on my release day. Since it fell on a Sunday, we went to church, where I got to show my church family the book for the first time. They were quite excited for me, and a group of dear people joined me after the benediction for a time of prayer as I dedicated the book to the Lord and we asked Him use the book for His glory.

The rest of the day was pretty normal. We went to our traditional Sunday lunch at Panda Express with a couple from church, and then Gwynly and I walked the trail. I do recall talking just a wee bit about the fact that my book was out. OK, I talked about little else, but Gwynly didn’t care. My guy’s very happy for me and doesn’t mind me gushing a bit. It’s wonderful to be sharing this amazing experience with my staunchest supporter.

Krista: That sounds like a perfectly wonderful day, Panda Express and all! 

Your debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, CA, has a wee bit of a "matchmaker" theme in it, which I LOVE LOVE LOVE! Have you ever played "matchmaker" for anyone? Would you ever be tempted to do so for a friend who obviously couldn't see a grand match if it bit him/her in the nose?

Keli: Ah, yes. Miles’s mother, Maude, and Elenora’s daughter, Tildy, are guilty of matchmaking. But they mean well. Really they do.

Gwynly and I did play matchmaker once. When we were serving as short-term missionaries in Germany the summer after we’d married, we met a young soldier who is a godly guy. When a kind-hearted chaplain’s daughter came to visit her parents while on vacation from her teaching job, we noticed that certain spark. Months went by, the gal went back to the States, and so did we.

A year later, Gwynly and I were living in Germany. We’d resumed our friendship with the soldier and rejoiced when the chaplain’s daughter came to live with her parents and teach in a military school. We arranged to get the guy and the gal together again, and things took off from there. Twenty-two years later, this couple and their three children live in Germany, where they are missionaries to the German people. The couple gives us credit—and thanks—for helping get them together.

Krista:  Very nice! Yeah for (kind) matchmakers!!! Love a good romance:-)

Next, we have twitter-worthy questions! Since your hero/heroine own completing mercantiles... I thought we'd have some fun "brand" competition questions:

Colgate or Crest? Keli: Crest. It’s what I used as a child.

Jiff or Peter Pan? Keli: Jiff—extra crunchy

Pillsbury or Duncan Hines? Keli: Pillsbury. The Dough Boy is too cute to resist.

General Mills or Kellogg's? Keli: General Mills. I liked their old (really old—like me) advertisement: “Big G; little o; Go with Cheerios!”

 Walmart or Target? Keli: Oh, no! This one’s gonna get me in trouble, because our daughter is a cashier at the Target in her college town, but I’m going with Walmart. I rejoiced the day Walmart came to town. We live half an hour from the nearest city, so it was great to have a store with such a large selection of products locally.

Suave or the expensive stuff? Keli: Suave. I’m a teacher’s wife used to watching our pennies, although I did splurge on some good stuff the last time I was at Costco.

Krista:  Yeah for a little splurge now and again! RIVETING stuff, Keli! :-) 

Now, back to writing. What was the hardest step of the journey to publication for you?

Keli: The hardest step for me is duking it out with the Doubt Dragon. He and his pals Perfectionism and Rule Monitor team up to try and convince me I can’t write. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve had to send this troublesome trio packing.

Krista:  Man, if you find a secret for sending them on your way (or something you can like hang out to repel them...) LET ME KNOW!

What sparked the idea for A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, CA? How long did it take you to write the book from first spark to typing THE END?

Keli: I read about a mercantile owner in El Dorado who had the most successful business in town in the most impressive building in town. I found out the real man, James B. Wetherwax, was well liked, but I could find little else about him. I’m a writer, though, so I could imagine such a man—and I did. That man is mercantile owner Miles Rutledge. Like Mr. Wetherwax, Miles has the most successful business in town in the most impressive building. He’s also well liked. The rest is pure fiction.
Miles needs a woman in life, so along comes Elenora Watkins and her shop across the street. When I learned that women in California could own businesses from the early days, I knew just how to make sure there was conflict between Miles and Ellie. They became competitors.

I wrote the first version of Miles and Ellie’s story in three months. That was back in my florescent green newbie writer days. Once I discovered the wonderful world of writers online, I learned how much I had to learn about writing a marketable story, spent a year studying craft, and rewrote the story twice. When Rachelle Gardner offered me representation, I learned I wasn’t quite there yet. Nine months, another major rewrite, and a revision later, she was ready to submit, did just that, and here I am with my book in readers’ hands.

Krista: I LOVE your agent story, always have, and especially now that we have the same one! *grin*

Ohhhhh, it's that time, Keli!!


Here are the rules: I give you three things and a genre. You think of a quick story plot in that genre that features each of the three things integral in the plot, and give it to us in back-cover-copy synopsis form. *rubs hands together* Here we go....

A pencil with smiley-faces on it.
Neon Pink Roses
Super Mario Stuffed Animal

Genre: Romantic Suspense


Keli: Wow, Krista! Do you ever know how to issue a challenge! I took the quiz and hope I “passed.” Here’s my attempt, goofy as it is. :-)

When a rare Super Mario Stuffed Animal is stolen from the world’s largest toy museum, Inspector Barry Bright vows to find the plush princess before any harm comes to her. Barry doesn’t count on a certain pesky reporter, Penelope Gwyn, whose smiley face pencil produces overly revealing reports sure to thwart his every attempt at locating the villain.

Penelope’s prized pencil is stolen and she begins receiving threats delivered with neon pink roses that put her to sleep with one whiff, forcing Barry to protect her—and keep her from sabotaging the case. Can he ensure her safety and find the priceless animal before it’s too late? Or will the attraction he feels for Pen Gwyn cause him to lose the treasured toy, the culprit–and his heart?

Krista: Confession. I'd read that before and laughed. But as I'm posting this... it hit me. Pen Gwyn. Penguin. Nice. Very nice!

• • •

Keli: Thanks so much for having me here at the Alley, Krista. I love spending time with you Alley Cats and your blog’s faithful followers. You asked me some great questions. I’d like to turn the tables and ask one for all of you to answer.

I have fond memories of that “Big G, little o” Cheerios commercial featuring the Munsters. What old-time commercial still brings a smile to your face when you take a trip down Memory Lane?

(Krista's note: All those who enter a comment will be entered to win a SUPER special prize!

Your choice between:

A copy of Keli's debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California
A DVD of The Young Victoria

The winner will be announced on Saturday in the Weekend edition!

Let's show Keli some love!! And I'm SUPER curious what commercials y'all will come up with!!!)

Find out more about Keli at her website,

And to order her SUPER fabulous book, you can go to one of these super cool retailers... or visit your local bookstore!

Barnes & Noble


Cindy R. Wilson said...

Yay! SO great to have you here, Keli! I really enjoyed the interview and learning more about you. Congratulations on your debut release. The book was AWESOME!

Unknown said...

What a fun interview, Krista and Keli! I love your witty voice here. I look forward to reading your book.

Okay, for commercials, a couple that still float through my head is one for "Enjoli", a woman's perfume. I think. I'd quote it all, but I don't "I can bring home the bacon (dom-dom-du-dom) (think gravelly voice here) "Fry it up in a pan...." I'll stop there. :)

Okay, maybe that wasn't the best one to quote here, but it sure played to the feminist agenda from my girlhood days. And the tune obviously stayed with me. :)

I also liked the one McDonalds did for the Big Mac, from 1975. "Two all beef patties, special sauce,lettuce, pickles, cheese on a sesame seed bun."

I know, I've just dated myself.

Thanks for the fun interview and the walk down memory lane.
Good luck with your book, Keli!

Janet Kerr said...

Congratulations on your book Keli,
I really like the "matchmaker theme". Your book intrigues me.


Susan Anne Mason said...

Hi Keli! Boy you are everywhere these days!

I'm almost half way through your book and enjoying it very much!

Commercials, hmm... Oh one I loved as a kid was the Slinky commercial. It had a catchy song and the kids made the slinky go down a whole flight of stairs!

Wishing you many sales and great reviews!


Keli Gwyn said...

Cindy, you sure know how to start my day with a smile. I'm glad you enjoyed the story.

Keli Gwyn said...

Jeanne, I remember both of those commercials and can sing them to this day. Wish I'd been the ad person who came up with those ideas. So enduring. So clever. So fun!

Keli Gwyn said...

Janet, I enjoyed adding the matchmaker theme to the story. What's fun is that the matchmakers really are well meaning people--although they're not very subtle. :-)

Unknown said...

Okay, I confess, I was glued to the computer screen as I read this. Too much fun. :)

Pen Gwyn! LOL!

And, oooo, such a tough choice since I read a riveting review of that movie just last night, but I super-duper-doubly-do want a copy of A Bride Opens Shop. :)

biblioprincess15 (at) yahoo (dot) com

Keli Gwyn said...

Sue, I remember that stair-descending Slinky. I also remember when Slinkies were made of metal, not plastic, as is so often the case these days. And, yes, I remember trying to untangle one of those metallic coils when it went into spaghetti mode.

You're right. I am getting around the blogosphere, aren't I? I'd planned on a few interviews and guest posts, but my awesome friends have flooded my inbox with invitations, and I can't bring myself to turn any of these dear people down. I'm doing my best to keep each post interesting and not sound as boring as belly button lint.

Keli Gwyn said...

Rachelle, I'm glad you enjoyed the interview. Doesn't Krista ask the funnest questions ever? And wowzers, does she know how to make a guest work! Coming up with that back cover blurb was a challenge, but I did it. Couldn't let Krista down, now could I?

And I gotta tell you. I do know that Super Mario isn't a princess, but I was sure the prompts said a "Super Mario Stuffed Annabelle" when I first saw it. Now, that could have been wishful thinking on my part, because I have loved dear Annabelle since before she was born. Even so, I hope ol' Mario doesn't mind being referred to as a princess. :-)

Lindsay Harrel said...

The song comes to mind as I read this: Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match...


Keli, I love you and I loved your book! You created such riveting characters. Loved them all!

I've been dealing with the Doubt Dragon lately. Just this morning in a big way, in fact. Good to know he CAN be slain.

I'm bad at remembering commercials, which obviously means that kind of advertising must not work for me very well! :)

Anonymous said...

Being a mom of a 3 year old and a teething 8 month old, I have been saying one phrase a LOT lately. "Calgon, please take me away!" Ah, I really, really, really need that Calgon! :)
Amy Campbell
campbellamyd at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Wonderful interview, both of you, and the Pen Gwyn story - you amaze me, Keli!

Keli, you said: "The hardest step for me is duking it out with the Doubt Dragon. He and his pals Perfectionism and Rule Monitor team up to try and convince me I can’t write. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve had to send this troublesome trio packing."

I thought this was so pertinent that I have posted this quote on FB and Twitter. Troublesome trio for sure. Very timely for me and I'm sure others need to be reminded that we CAN send them packing, that we don't have to entertain these evil villains.

Love to you,

Mary Curry said...

You two ought to take your act on the rode; you'd make a great comedy team!

Fun interview.

Keli, I must go with the Folger's Christmas ad. Peter Come Home.

Mary Curry said...

Oh how embarrassing. ROAD not rode.

So, since I have to post again, I'll mention another commercial in case anyone remembers.

Many (MANY) years ago there was a Nescafe commercial with this gorgeous, rugged sailor on a ship. He was drinking Nescafe out of a glass mug that had a map of the world etched in white on the glass. My teenaged heart was so in love, I ordered a set of the mugs even though I wasn't old enough to drink coffee yet.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Kelli for your witty answers to Krista's well thought out questions. I am looking forward to attaining your book for a bit of me time.

My most memorable old time commercial was "Where's the beef?" yelled over the counter by a little old lady.

Thank you, Ally Cats, for inviting the public into your ally.

Thank you,

Julia M. Reffner said...

Great interview, Keli and Krista! Krista, I always love those questions you torture (er, ask) the visitors :)

I love the way you spent your release day, sharing with your hubby and church family and most of all dedicating your book to the Lord. Shows your beautiful heart for Him!

Unknown said...

Oh, the commercial I got teased with was the one for Sizzle-lean bacon. I always heard the song with my name substituted: "Sizzle-jeanne." Gotta love those memories.

BTW, Keli, I love how you call your man, Gwynly. It makes me think of Laura Ingalls Wilder calling Almanzo "Manly." :)

Congratulations again to you!

Pepper said...

Oh boy, Keli.
I see you first on Seekerville and now on The Alley?
What a week for ME?!? LOL

Krista is RIGHT - you are a jewel, encourager, and NOW - Published Author!

And you already know this, but Gwynly is pretty awesome too. What a supporter you have!

So thankful for you, your writing, and your ministry.

Keli Gwyn said...

Lindsay, I'm sorry the Doubt Dragon has you in its clutches. I've got my special sword that sweeps through cyberspace with one mighty slash, so let me at 'im.

In regard to the commercials, it could be that you're not old enough to remember the classics, since you're such a lovely young lady. Ask anyone my age, "Where's the beef?", and you're sure to get a laugh. Many of us can sing the old Oscar Mayer bologna song. And then there's the one about. . . Oh, you get the idea. LOL

Keli Gwyn said...

Amy, I love, love, love Calgon. I slip into a Calgon-scented tub full of nice hot water every night and savor a few chapters of a romance--when I'm not editing my own work on hard copy, that is. Sounds like I need to ship you an entire case of the soothing stuff.

Hang in there. They do grow up--more quickly than you might realize. Or so says this Empty Nester who blinked and now has a daughter ready to start her senior year of college.

Sheesh! Do I sound old, or what? Could have been that birthday I had earlier this week. I'm 35 now. Or was it 53? I can't quite remember. Must be having a senior moment. =)

Keli Gwyn said...

Becky, I said something quotable? Wow! That makes me feel mighty special.

Goofiness aside, I saw your post on Facebook and got all giddy inside. Thank you for sharing it.

Now to slay the Doubt Dragon and his fiendish friends. I whipped out my special sword for Lindsay in an earlier comment. I'll be sure to send a villain-silencing swipe your way, too.

Keli Gwyn said...

Mary, oh my gosh! Did you ever bring back memories with the Folger's commercial! I just watched it, and I got misty-eyed all over again--just like I used to do. Ahhh!

Pepper said...

I already have BOTH prizes, btw :-)
I just rewatched the Young Victoria last week. FANTASTIC movie. WOW!
Did a littel research on Albert and Victoria's letters too.

And, as you know, I already have your lovely book. AND I've even finished reading it too. FAB-U-Lous!

I love the old Folger's coffee commercials and Pepsi or Dr. Pepper commercials. :-) I love the Pepsi commercial with Michael J Fox

Keli Gwyn said...

Mary, wow! That was certainly an effective ad. Do you still have the Nescafe mugs? I don't have to ask if you can picture the ruggedly handsome sailor. ;-)

Keli Gwyn said...

Marcia, I remember that Wendy's commercial well, and can still picture that little snowy-headed lady. What fun!

Pepper said...

How about this one Keli? :-)

Dear to MY heart ;-)

It's changed a lot since then :-)

Pepper said...

How about this one Keli? :-)

Dear to MY heart ;-)

It's changed a lot since then :-)

Keli Gwyn said...

Julia, I had a blast answering Krista's fun questions, although I'll admit that last one is a doozy. I jotted down the prompts, slipped into my Calgon-scented tub, and hoped ideas would flow over me. The combination of the fragrance, warmth, and my sleep-deprived state helped to get the creative cogs turning. So, the moral of the story is this: write your blurbs while soaking in the bathtub. =)

Keli Gwyn said...

Jeanne, I'm sure you didn't like being called Sizzle-Jeanne, but I gotta admit I smiled when I read that. Sounds like that's one of those things you can laugh about now, but probably didn't find too humorous at the time.

I hadn't made the connection between Laura's Manly and my Gwynly, but perhaps my subconscious was at work. I read the Little House books over and over when I was a girl. That's one of the reasons I write historical romances today.

Keli Gwyn said...

Pepper, it's been a month to remember, that's for sure. The outpouring of well wishes, offers to help me promote my book, and kind messages about my story have flooded my inbox since before the book released. The deluge has been incredible. Do I have the very best friends in the world, or what?

And Gwynly? Yes. He is The Best!!! I don't know what I did to deserve him, but I thank the Lord for my amazing guy all the time. Gwynly deserves some kind of medal. World's Most Supportive Husband would do for a start. =)

Keli Gwyn said...

Pepper, isn't The Young Victoria a great movie? I love it. The acting and costumes are superb, but what I love the most is watching Victoria and Albert fall in love and knowing it really did happen a lot like that. Sigh!!!

Since you already have both prizes, Pepper, here's a deal just for you. If you win, I'll find something extra special just for you, my friend. Yes!!! I know just the thing. If you win, I'll send you some genuine, made-in-California Dr. Pepper Jelly Belly jelly beans. How's that sound?

Keli Gwyn said...

Oh, Pepper, did you ever bring back memories with that vintage Dr. Pepper commercial! It came out in 1977, which just so happens to be the year I graduated from high school. (Yeah, I'm that old.) My friends and I sang that ditty all the time. Dr. Pepper was my favorite soda back then.

I watched the video twice, and I'm thinking the singer is wearing Angel Flights. I bought a pair of those pants for my boyfriend for Christmas that year. Tell me someone else is old enough to remember them--and how great guys looked in them. =)

I hadn't seen the new Dr. Pepper commercial. It's awesome!!! Love the message. What would be on your t-shirt?

Pepper said...

"I'm a REAL Pepper" LOL

Jillian said...

Wow Keli, you are all over the writing blogs! I am so happy for you, what an exciting time. The commercial that still makes me smile and brings back good memories is Life cereal. "He likes it, hey Mikey." I remember every word! :)

Joanne Sher said...

Sooo wanna read this book - LOVING the interview, Keli! And the commercial that won't leave my head is the Slinky one - and the old Burger King one(Have it your way).

I watched WAY too much TV as a child, by the way.

Casey said...

I love, love, LOVE Keli!! Thank you so much for visiting the blog, today!! :D

misskallie2000 said...

Hi Keli, I've been following you. Congratulations on this great debut book. Looking forward to reading and have on my wish list.

I still love the Maxwell House Coffee, where the coffee is dripping. Haven't seen one in long time. Also remember Cheverlot from long ago, "See the USA in your Cheverlet". Really telling my age and Diana Shore Show.

Thanks for the opportuunity to enter giveaway.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Keli Gwyn said...

Jillian, I have been bouncing around the blogosphere, haven't I? I've received oodles of invitations for interviews and guest posts from my awesome friends, and I'm ever so grateful for each and every one. Since I'm offering a copy of my book as a drawing prize on many of the posts, that means more chances for readers to win. =)

I loved that Life cereal commercial and little Mikey. I saw the actor all grown up once, and it was kinda weird. Mikey will always be a young boy to me.

Keli Gwyn said...

Joanne, since we didn't have computers or computer games when I was a kid, TV was the big deal. I remember getting excited about new commercials. =)

The Slinky commercial is fun, and I loved the Burger King one. My sister worked at Burger King back when that commercial was on the air, and I loved singing the song to her.

Keli Gwyn said...

Love, love, LOVE you back, Case!

Keli Gwyn said...

Miss Kallie, I do recognize your name and love seeing it in the comment trails. It's such a pretty one.

I remember the Maxwell House commercial, the drip, and the slogan: "It's good to the last drop. It's Maxwell House." I have a hunch the coffee companies that used to be such big names never dreamed coffee would become such a sought after item, spawning so many chains and independent coffee houses.

I don't remember the Chevrolet commercial, though. Could be because my dad has always been a Ford guy. =)

Krista Phillips said...

WOW! I missed some fun yesterday!!!! I was away from the computer the WHOLE day unexpectedly otherwise I would have joined in!!! THANK YOU KELI for holding down the fort, and for stopping in and answering my goofy questions!

The animal vs annabelle was my fault. It DID say Annabelle when I sent the question to Keli... but that was a mistype on my end! HA! Got Annabelle on my brain obviously!

Great commercials everyone! Some I remember, some I'll be googling to watch on youtube:-)

Keli Gwyn said...

Krista, you were away from the computer the whole day? I hope everything is OK.

I loved your questions, Krista. They were very clever--and fun!

I'm glad to know it really did say Annabelle when I saw it. I was wondering if I was losing it. =)

fOIS In The City said...

Keli, I am so loving all the wonderful articles and interviews featuring you and your new book. I signed onto your new blog so I can get all your news !!

Much love and good thoughts to you, my dear friend :)

fOIS In The City said...

Ooops ... forgot. Loved this really different interview and your great answers. This site was forward to me by a recent Margie Lawson classmate, Paula. It's good to know the word gets around ... and you have so many of the best words :)

Anonymous said...

Hello, there. If I'm not too late, I'd like to enter in the giveaway, please. (Man, I really can't remember any old time commercials, now... but I'll take a look at the comments.)

Thanks =)


Keli Gwyn said...

fOIS, I'm glad you're enjoying the interviews. Didn't Krista do a great job with hers? Her questions were such fun to answer.

Keli Gwyn said...

Ganise, there are still some drawings going on. If you visit my blog--found on my website--and look at the bottom of my posts, you'll find links to blogs featuring my guest posts. Some of the drawings are still open to entries, and most of the wonderful hostesses are giving away a copy of my book. Don't miss my drawings for a Bushel of Fun and Elenora's Extravaganza.