Interview with Keli Gwyn & GIVEAWAY

Interview with Keli Gwyn & GIVEAWAY  | The Engrafted WordAward-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. She loves hearing from readers and invites you to visit her Victorian-style cyber home at, where you’ll find her contact information.


Savanna:  Welcome to The Engrafted Word, Keli. I’m so happy to have you here! Congratulations on your new release, Family of Her Dreams. It sounds like such a fun story. What was your favorite part about setting this book in the California Gold Rush-era town of Shingle Springs?

Interview with Keli Gwyn & GIVEAWAY  | The Engrafted WordKeli:  I enjoyed shining the spotlight on Shingle Springs, a small gem few know about. While it’s a sleepy town these days, Shingle Springs was experiencing its heyday in 1866/67 when my story takes place. The town was the terminus of the Placerville and Sacramento Valley Railroad. So many shipments bound for the Comstock in Nevada went through the station that there were three freight depots. I’ll be holding my book release at this rail depot, which is home to a delightful antique store. Can you say cool?

Savanna:  That is SO cool! What a fun place to celebrate your book release. 🙂 Wish I could be there.

It’s clear to see that history is very important to you. If you had to pick just one historical figure from the past, who would you enjoy meeting in person and why?

Keli:  Laura Ingalls Wilder. I’d love to tell her how much I enjoyed her Little House books and to learn all I could about what her life was like as a child so I could add more realism to my stories.

Savanna:  As a speaker, do you have a favorite topic or subject?

Keli:  I enjoy talking about dreams and encouraging others to pursue theirs.

Savanna:  Can you share with us a fond lesson and/or memory from one of the contests you’ve participated in?

Keli:  I’m a huge fan of contests. A final in one led to my agent’s offer of representation. I learned a great deal from my contest judges. I would encourage writers to enter contests with the goal of improving their writing and gauging where they are in relation to readiness for publication. Once an entry begins finaling, the writer has evidence that the work is query ready. To submit work too soon can lead to making a poor first impression.

Savanna:  What first drew you to the Victorian Era? You have a beautiful website, by the way.

Interview with Keli Gwyn & GIVEAWAY  | The Engrafted WordKeli: Thanks for the kind words about my website. Jason Walker of Website Minstries took my ill-formed ideas and created a site I love.

I’m smitten with the Victorian Era. I like the clothes, the customs and the Victorians preoccupation with social conventions. They were oh, so proper, which can create interesting situations in my stories. It was a period of advancement on many fronts, and I find that fascinating.

Savanna:  Can you share with us a piece of writing advice that has made a difference in your career?

Keli:  My friend Ruthy Logan Herne from Seekerville encouraged me to “loosen up.” I was so focused on following all the “rules” I was learning that I had lost the joy of writing. Her wise counsel helped me relax and enjoy the journey.

Savanna:  Thanks for sharing with us today, Keli. It’s been such a treat to have you here, my friend! Is there anything else you’d like to add? Any upcoming projects you can share with us?

Keli: I’m working on a new story set in my hometown of Placerville and am having a great deal of fun with it. The hero and heroine work together and are forced to spend time together outside of the office, too. If only they didn’t harbor shameful secrets that prevent them from pursuing more than friendship…

Thanks for hosting me, Savanna. It’s a pleasure to be here. I’d like to end with a couple of questions for your blog’s readers. Did you have a mother, grandmother, aunt, etc. who was a stickler for manners when you were young? If so, what rule(s) of etiquette was she determined to teach you?


Keli has graciously offered to give away one signed paper copy of Family of her Dreams to one lucky winner. Enter below and it could be YOU! 😉

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for entering! Contest is open only in the U.S. and ends June 9, 2015.  The winner will be notified by email. Happy Reading, everybody!

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.
76 comments on “Interview with Keli Gwyn & GIVEAWAY
  1. Amanda R. says:

    I love history and love reading historical novels. Thanks for sharing this interview. Also thank you for giving some great sound writing advice about loosening up when writing.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Amanda, a love of history is a real plus for a historical writer, isn’t it? What are some fun facts you’ve discovered as you do your research?

      If you haven’t met Ruthy (Ruth Logan Herne), who gave me the wise counsel, I highly recommend it. She’s one of the Seekers over at a wonderful blog called Seekerville. I’m actually guest posting there today as well. 🙂

      • Amanda says:

        Well my favorite history to study is American history. Some interesting things I have found out is that Benjamin Franklin was very involved in inventing different things like spectacles, chair that turned into a step ladder, the wood stove, etc. Also he was a big part in starting the first organized postal system, hospitals, libraries, police work and so many other areas. He was very involved in the starting years of our country and it was encouraging to see how he wanted to be apart of not just one area but in several in helping America become better.

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      So glad you stopped by, Amanda. Thanks for sharing what you’ve been learning about Benjamin Franklin too. That would be a very fun era to write about! Have a great day and good luck in the giveaway!

  2. My mom had a thing for keeping our elbows off the table 🙂

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Heidi, I’ve heard that rule many times, too. It’s a hard one for me to put into practice at home. I blame that on living in California, where we do casual well. I do better at keeping my elbows where they belong when I’m out in public.

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      That’s one I haven’t mastered myself yet, I’m afraid. 😉 Thanks for joining us, Heidi!

  3. Bonnie Roof says:

    I don’t know that these examples are specifically labeled as etiquette, rather than memories – however, in thinking of my family (past and present), things that come to mind are my grandmother’s love of wearing hats and gloves to church, praying before meals (even in public), and my mother’s displeasure if my brother or I were late coming in from a date/event, etc. without calling her.

    I enjoyed learning more about Keli and her writing, and would love to read “Family of Her Dreams”!! Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Bonnie, how sweet to have had a grandmother who wore hats and gloves. Here in California gloves are rarely seen, and hats are often baseball caps. I sometimes think that when the early settlers headed to California, they left many of their manners behind. We really do embrace the idea of life lived loosely here. Flips flops and jeans can be seen in many restaurants–and in church. Maybe I enjoy writing historicals because I have a secret desire to go back to the days when people took more care of their appearance and more interest in minding their Ps and Qs.

      I do wear hats. In fact, I’m known as the Hat Lady at church. I just posted a video on Facebook of seeing Family of Her Dreams put on the shelf at my local Walmart. In that video I’m wearing my favorite hat, the one seen in my modern-day author picture.

      • Savanna Savanna says:

        I saw the video and loved it, Keli! What a neat idea to capture that special moment and share it with all of us. Loved the hat, especially. 😉

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      Thanks for sharing some family memories with us, Bonnie. It’s always so nice to have you here with us. I hope you get to read this story too. 🙂 Good luck!

  4. Melanie Backus says:

    My mother was always teaching manners. No elbows, napkin in lap, etc.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Melanie, I’m a real napkin-in-the-lap kinda gal–three in fact if they’re the flimsy fast food variety. I married a man who leaves his napkin on the table. When I first met Carl I wondered what kind of mother he had and why she hadn’t taught him napkin etiquette. Then I met her and found out what a wonderful woman she was. I realized Mother must have picked her battles, as we moms are advised to do, and napkin positioning wasn’t one of them. I decided if she could let our guy leave his napkin on the table, so could I. Don’t ask me about him eating his peas and corn with a spoon, though. I bite my tongue every time he does that. LOL

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      Hi Melanie! We sure appreciate you stopping in. Good luck in the giveaway too! 😉

  5. No. We were to be good but not a stickler.

  6. Becky B says:

    My Grandmother and my mom. I believe the biggest was how to sit wearing a skirt and to wear a slip.

    Love the era too.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Becky, I remember well the sitting-properly-in-a-skirt lessons my mother taught me. I attempted to pass them on to my daughter, but as a young girl she loved skirts and playing on the monkey bars, which don’t go well together for obvious reasons. We solved the problem by having her wear shorts under those skirts. We moms to have to be creative at times, don’t we?

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      Ah yes, that’s an important one too. 😉 Thanks for sharing, Becky! Have a great week.

  7. Blythe J says:

    Oh yes, that would be both my grandmother and my mom. No elbows on the table. Say “please” and “thank you”. Sit like a lady (closed legs!). There are various others as well – yet in a way, it was a good thing.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Blythe, like you I find that having those manners firmly in place helps us out. If they become a habit at a young age then we don’t have to think about them later in life.

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      It sure makes you grateful for the women in your life who have guided you along, doesn’t it? 🙂 We’re glad you could join us, Blythe.

  8. Robin Bunting says:

    My grandmother said, and modeled, if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all.

  9. Merry S. says:

    My mom always made sure we said please and thank you, no talking with food in your mouth, holding the door open for others.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Merry, saying please and thank you are important. My husband, who just retired from teaching, has remarked many times how his students failed to use those words. He taught them how much better things would go for them in life if they learned to say them.

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      We definitely notice those attributes in others too. What a good thing to pass on to our kids, right? Thanks for commenting, Merry. Good luck in the drawing.

  10. Joan Arning says:

    I really was not taught many manners and wish I had been. Some of my grandchildren live in the south and I love how they always say “sir or ma’am”.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Joan, I’m dating myself here, but I remember the days of calling adults Mr. or Mrs. and addressing them as sir or ma’am. Here in casual California those terms are rarely heard now. Teachers are still Mr. or Ms., but we opt for first names in most other situations.

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      I love hearing that too, Joan. 🙂 Thanks for joining us for the interview and giveaway. Hope you’ll check out Keli’s book.

  11. No, I can’t say that I did. Either that or I was a VERY GOOD little girl, lol. I was very lucky to have the grandmother’s and aunts that I had!

    wfnren at aol dot com

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Wendy, it sounds like you were blessed with wonderful relatives. Perhaps the fact that you don’t remember any manners lessons means the women in your life did a great job of weaving them into your daily life without being obtrusive.

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      They sound like dear women, Wendy. 🙂 We appreciate you swinging by.

  12. Merry says:

    My mother taught us to be thankful and to always… always say thank you!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Merry, my mom taught me the importance of saying thank you as well. I remember her having me sit down and write thank you notes after birthdays and Christmas. Since I enjoy writing, I didn’t mind at all. I still send snail mail thank you’s today. Since a handwritten note is rare in our electronic world, I’ve had people thank me for my thank you. =)

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      Gratitude is such an important thing to pass along to our kids. Thanks for commenting, Merry. Good luck in the drawing!

  13. Anne Payne says:

    My mom set the table for every meal, every day. We did not put our elbows on the table and your napkin had to be in your lap. We had to say “Please pass the ___” and ask to be excused when we were done. No one started eating before our dad. If he was stationed overseas, we waited on her to start. And most of all, we used a fork like a fork, not like a shovel. 🙂

    • Anne Payne says:

      Oh….We always said please and thank you, yes ma’am and no ma’am, etc. When someone gave us a gift, we promptly wrote a thank you note, too.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Anne, my mom taught me every one of the things you mentioned. I was the oldest and very much of a rule follower, so I took her lessons to heart. They’ve served me well in life.

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      Hi Anne! Like Keli said, I bet those traits have served you well ever since. Thanks for sharing with us today. Good luck in the drawing.

  14. Deanna S says:

    Please, thank you and respect for others, especially elders.
    Mother appreciated good manners 🙂

  15. MS Barb says:

    My grandmother expected her grandchildren to have manners & taught us to be respectful to our parents & elders!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Barb, I grew up hearing the phrase “respect your elders,” too. I knew what my mom meant, but since I was the oldest of of four, I got a kick out of saying it to my younger siblings. They weren’t too happy about that, needless to say. =)

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      Sounds like a sweet grandmother to me. 😉 Thanks for sharing, Barb.

  16. Donna Parker says:

    My mom and my aunts all insured that I learn proper manners and to be respectful.

  17. Deanne Patterson says:

    Yes, my mother and grandmother taught me to walk like a lady. No running in the house and use my inside voice. As a mother of 12 children I do the best can teaching them manners but sometimes they act up to get a laugh from siblings.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Whoa, Deanne! Twelve children? In your case the word “busy” must be a huge understatement. I’m impressed you’re even able to visit this blog and leave a comment. Thanks for taking time out of your day to do so.

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      Bless you heart, Deanne. Your comments made me smile. I agree with Keli… we’re so glad you could join us here. 🙂 Hope you get to read her book too.

  18. Trixi O. says:

    First off, I wanted to say a great big warm “Hi” to Keli 🙂 I’ve “talked” to her via different blogs in the last week or so and I find she is just such a sweet lady and a great sense of humor 🙂 Oh and I LOVE her quirky knack for finding and wearing various hats. So nice to be able to learn more about you here on Savanna’s blog!
    You and I have something in common, and that’s our love for things historical, you mentioned the Victorian era…mine’s the Regency era. Probably for the same reasons: the customs, manners, etiquette, proper behavior in society and everyday life and etc. It seems we’ve lost that in society today, sadly! I think we could all benefit from going back to the good old days roots, common courtesy and respect for our neighbors, friends, family. I think scripture mentions in several places how our behavior should be towards one another 🙂 That being said, my grandmother was one for respect….for your person, for your parents (or elders) for each other. And proper etiquette in the fact, No slouching when you are sitting on the furniture, No elbows on the table, Don’t talk with your mouth full, say please and thank you, and my favorite..If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all! Among a few others I could name. I’ve often found myself telling my own children this when they were younger. I think you need to start them off right with manners. I’m teaching my 15 month old granddaughter (by example) to say please and thank you, to say excuse me when we make certain sounds, to say I’m sorry if we accidentally bump someone & etc. She may not really understand, but I know young children learn by example first 🙂
    I probably used to hate hearing all that stuff growing up (from Mom too), but it sticks with you when you are grown! As I’m sure my own grown kids can probably relate to..haha! Good memories though, there was a lot of love growing up and being able to spend time with my grandparents! I miss that lady, she passed on about 2-3 years ago now, but I can look back with love.
    Thanks for coming out to tell us about yourself and your book Keli, I just love getting to know you more 🙂 And for the chance to win a copy of your book “Family of Her Own”. And that picture you have here makes you look like you really belong in Victorian times…I have a sister-in-law who loves the color purple. So regal!
    Thank you, Savanna for a great author chat/interview with Keli. There are just some people that touch your life in some special way, and you both are among those for me! Always blessed by your blog posts, whether interviews or reviews of books or whatnot. Blessings to you both 🙂

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      Dear Trixi, I so enjoyed reading your comments here and reading your stories. I love hearing a little about your family too. Keep up the great work with those little grandkids. 😉 I’m always so happy to see you visit here. I know how busy life can get and I appreciate you taking time to stop in and chat with us. You’re a blessing to me too!

  19. Keli Gwyn says:

    Trixi, your wonderful comment blew me away. Wow! I enjoyed hearing about your experiences as a mother and grandmother. And your kind words made my day in a big way. If you’re on Facebook, I’d love to connect with you there, too. Just zap me a friend request. I’m pretty sure I’m the only Keli Gwyn on Facebook. =)

  20. Karen Hadley says:

    How exciting! I love this era too for all the same reasons. I’m fascinated with the language, the culture, the manners and especially the social season. I don’t think I would probably have been one of the elite but I love to read about this time era. I enjoy Downton Abbey, Midwives, North and South, When calls the Heart. The novels written in this era are ones I usually gravitate toward.

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Karen, I enjoy North and South and watch it again every few months. John Thornton is such a wonderful tortured hero. And he’s mighty good to look at, too. Sigh!

      My husband and I have enjoyed Downton Abbey. I do like some characters better than others. Anna is my favorite. She’s got such a good heart. I have a soft spot for Daisy. The Dowager Countess cracks me up. We watch the series on Netflix, so we’re behind. We finally saw the episode where Mr. Carson finally made Mrs. Hughes a very happy woman. Another sigh.

      I saw the pilot for When Calls the Heart and have the rest of the episodes in our queue. There’s a long wait, though. Not suprising, since I’ve heard so many good things about this series.

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      Hi Karen! I know, it’s impossible not to be drawn to this era, I think. 🙂 I’ve not seen those shows yet, but I sure want to. I’ve heard so many people talk highly of them. I’m glad you could join us for the interview. Good luck to you!

  21. Connie Saunders says:

    Keli, the grandmother I was closest to died when I was just twelve years old but her love and influence has remained with me all of my life. She taught me to respect my elders; she encouraged me to use the napkin in my lap, as needed; I was never to interrupt a conversation; “please” and “thank you” were words to be used quite often and we never began a meal without thanking God for our food and many other blessings. But most of all, she showed me, by her example, that there is good in every situation and every person and that there is no gain in “bad-mouthing” or talking about people. I’m not sure if these are rules of etiquette but I am sure that they are rules of successful living!
    Thanks to you and Savanna for a wonderful interview and giveaway.

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      Thank you for sharing some of the wonderful lessons your grandmother shared with you, Connie. Like Keli said, what a wonderful legacy she gave you. Such wisdom and love in your grandmother’s advice. I appreciate you stopping in for a visit. Have a blessed day!

  22. Keli Gwyn says:

    Connie, it sounds like your grandmother was a wonderful woman who made a big impression on you. I’m sorry she wasn’t around for more of your life. She certainly left a legacy of love and caring, didn’t she?

  23. Julie P says:

    Please and thank you were expected but also my mom thought my stride was too long and unladylike so she would remind me to take shorter steps!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Julie, it can be interesting what a mother chooses to focus on. With my mom it was my slouching. Apparently I had a love affair with my toes when I was a teen and looked at them while I walked. She reminded me all the time to “stand up straight.” I’m happy to report that I was doing better–until my (fairly early in life) osteoporosis diagnosis three years ago. Now I’ve become one of those women who’s afraid of falling, and I’m back to watching where I’m going. Can’t win, I guess. LOL

    • Savanna Savanna says:

      Thanks for joining us, Julie. It’s great to have you here. Good luck in the giveaway!

  24. Nancy Griggs says:

    I was raised to be polite to others. I was also taught that all people around the world are precious in God’s sight.

  25. Savanna Savanna says:

    Keli, thank you SO much for taking the time to swing by and chat with all of us here in the comments. That means so much to us. And thanks again for being my guest this week. Sending you a hug. 😉

  26. Brenda Arrington says:

    I was taught to say “please and thank you” and to have respect
    for others. Thanks for the giveaway.


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