Today we have a visitor, Kelly Goshorn, who is celebrating the release of her debut novel A Love Restored. (You can read my review of her wonderful book here.) Details on how to enter to win a $5 Amazon gift card and vintage book charm are at the end of the interview.
Hi KyLeann, I look forward to chatting with you and your readers today!
Great! We’ll start with an easy question. 😉
KyLeann: What color shirt are you wearing right now?
Kelly: Pink (but it’s my nightgown, LOL)!
Ah, we match. I’m in pink and black stripes. (Also pajamas. 🙂 )
KyLeann: When did you discover you were a writer?
Kelly: Around 2009, my husband and I began praying for God to give me a new direction, a new passion in life like the one I’d had as a young woman for teaching. During that time, I went back to college to get my teaching license renewed even though I wasn’t convinced I’d be going back to the classroom after a nearly twenty-year absence raising my family. Through those classes and the term papers I wrote for them, I was reminded how much I enjoyed writing. Seeing my youngest son, Noah, write fiction (Noah has the dream of being a published author someday) I began tinkering with storytelling. The desire to write grew and grew, occupying any free moment I had. As far as confirmation goes, it’s hard to explain when you know God is speaking to your heart about what direction He wants you to take, but for me I think it was the way God was changing me on the inside (see the question below trials and tests).
KyLeann: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Kelly: Keep writing and don’t compare yourself to others. It’s so easy to become discouraged, but concentrate on writing the best story you can, learn from great craft books and by reading authors who are way better than you. Then buckle down and rewrite that draft (often many times). You can do it!
KyLeann: I’m on the sixth draft of my book! It does take time, perseverance, and much handwork.
When Ruth Ann and Benjamin meet for the first time, Ruth Ann is singing (caterwauling, according to Benjamin.) What is a favorite hymn of yours?
Kelly: Hahaha! Yes, well if your readers don’t know, A Love Restored is based on my real-life romance with my hubby, Mike, who loves to tease me about my not-so-stellar singing voice. Mike has a very nice voice. He’s active in community theater and people often turn around in church and compliment him. Me, not so much! One of my favorite hymns is Great is Thy Faithfulness.
KyLeann: Aw, I love that one. Sweet Hour of Prayer is at the top of my list. I think it’s a wonderfully peaceful song.
A writer’s life is known to be one of trial and tests. Where do you draw your strength from when facing discouragement?
Kelly: While I’m thrilled that A Love Restored is published, God used the journey to grow and stretch my faith. It’s funny how God took the journey to publication to help me face one of my biggest personal and spiritual obstacles—the fear of failure. For way too long, I listened to the enemy who told me I couldn’t succeed at anything—it was too hard, or you’ll fail anyway so why not quit now and save yourself the heartache and aggravation. That’s what the enemy wants—to bind us in fear and complacency so we are ineffective for the Kingdom of God. But the passion God placed in my heart to write helped me overcome my fears. It required me to be on my knees because it was a spiritual battle I faced every time I wrote a sentence, read a critique, or sent a query letter. But what I discovered on this journey is that God sees not only who we are, but who we can be when we place our trust in Him. He calls us to tackle our biggest obstacles so that we can rest in total dependence on Him. Wherever the writing journey takes me, I’ve been irrevocably changed. There’s no going back and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
KyLeann: Amen, Kelly. Well said.
So what is next on the table for you as a writer?
Kelly: My current series, also set in Virginia, follows the Ashby family as they struggle to survive as the nation and their family are torn apart by America’s Civil War. Surrendered Hearts examines what happens when God calls us to surrender those things we hold most dear. Characters are called to sacrifice their dreams and ambitions, their pride, and ultimately their hearts as God recklessly pursues each of them. Hearts and wills are challenged, and lives transformed as characters experience restoration with one another and with God.
kyLeann: I read on your “about” page of your blog that you’ve had a few pets. As secondary characters’ challenge main characters and, often, help them grown. How did Ruth Ann’s corgi do this in A Love Restored?
Kelly: Anyone who is friends with me on social media knows that I’m a little crazy about corgi’s. Okay, obsessed is probably more accurate. Buddy, my heroine’s corgi, was really the one constant for her, I think. He is her refuge. The dog follows her everywhere and gives her the unconditional love and acceptance she lacks in her relationship with her mom and her betrothed. It wasn’t by accident that the man who is unsuccessful in winning her hand doesn’t care for the dog she loves and the one who does win her favor understands their unique bond. In a way, Buddy becomes a litmus test for those who will see beyond her strong veneer into the vulnerable places she has learned to hide from others.
KyLeann: In your book, Benjamin teaches Ruth Ann how to make sugar cookies. What is your favorite kind of cookie?
Kelly: My husband’s sugar cookies, of course! Like Benjamin, my husband is an excellent baker (Yes, he sings and bakes. Lest you think he’s perfect, he has no rhythm! LOL)! The scene in A Love Restored where Ben teaches Ruth Ann to make these cookies was inspired by the sugar cookies my husband makes. His grandmother Dorwaldt taught him how to make them. They just melt-in-your-mouth. Because they are so soft, the dough doesn’t work well with cookie cutters. But that is one fault I’m willing to overlook! BTW, we keep a copy of the recipe in our fireproof box along with our marriage certificate and the kids’ birth certificates. True story! If you or your readers would like the recipe, I’m sending it out as a thank you for signing up for my author newsletter. http://kellygoshorn.com/my-writing/newsletter
KyLeann: If you could travel in time and meet with one historical person, who would it be?
Kelly: Oh boy, asking an indecisive historical romance writer to pick just one historical figure to meet is a pretty tough order. Besides Jesus, right? Because who wouldn’t want to meet Jesus? I know I should probably say one of the disciples or an important statesman or something on that level, but I’d love to sit with Jane Austen and learn all about her world, find out who she really based Elizabeth and Darcy on, and if her heart had truly been broken by a wealthy gentleman who couldn’t overcome the lack of money and connections her family had among the gentile class. Maybe she could take me to Bath, and to balls, and I could learn all of those “tippy-toe” dances I see in the Regency-era dramas I love on the BBC.
KyLeann: You write “inspirational stories of love, faith and family set in 19th century America.” Why American history?
Kelly: I think because I fell in love with history watching Little House on the Prairie and The Waltons growing up. Also, my master’s degree has a concentration in 19th century American history and I’m blessed to live in Virginia, which is so rich in our nation’s history and so far, is the setting for all my stories.
KyLeann: If you wrote another genre of fiction, what would you write?
Kelly: I’ve been mulling over historical romantic suspense. I might give that a try at some point.
KyLeann: Oh! That would be such fun.
Kelly: Well, we’ve come to the end of our questions. Is there anything you want to add?
I’d like your readers to know that A Love Restored is not only a story of love, romance, heartache and restoration, but also a story about the power of words over our lives. It is a story about the struggle each of us faces to take our thoughts captive to the truth of Scripture so we may experience the fullness of God’s unequivocal love for us. As my husband and I discovered, it is only then that we are truly able to give and receive love, unconditionally.
My prayer for you and your lovely readers is that you will not allow the enemy to steal the joy that is rightfully yours as a child of God. Speak the truth of the gospel over yourself every day and ask God to give you His eyes to see yourself as He does.
“For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7b
Thank you for hosting me your blog, Ky-Leann. I’m so honored to count you among my friends!
KyLeann: You know you are welcome here, Kelly. Thank you for sharing with us, for your constant kindness, and for always encouraging others to keep trying. I know you are a great encouragement to me.
If you like giveaways, here’s another opportunity to win some really fantastic prizes. Kelly’s book is part of Pelican Book Group’s Christian eBook Bonanza & Giveaway. A Love Restored is on sale for .99cents and there are $400 in prizes including a Kindle Paper White or a Nook GlowLite. No purchase is necessary to enter. Just click here or on the picture below.