Author Interview with Kelly Goshorn

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I’m so excited to host author Kelly Goshorn on the blog today. Welcome, Kelly!

Hi Rachel. Thank you for hosting me on your blog. I look forward to chatting with your readers today.

Tell us something unusual about yourself. Something not in the typical back of the book author bio.

 Hmmm…the first thing that comes to mind is a little quirk I have. I don’t like to walk on grates. Thankfully, I live in a small town and the only place you really find them are in parking lots at the shopping centers, so they are easy to avoid. But when we go into Washington, D.C. I won’t walk on them. That can be awkward on city streets full of people. My husband will jump up and down on them to prove to me that they are safe, and I still won’t try it!

When did you discover you were a writer?

Truthfully, I never saw it coming! I had always enjoyed writing papers for my college history classes, but I NEVER considered writing fiction. I’d been a successful in-home childcare provider for nearly twenty years, but I knew in my heart it was time to move on to something new. My husband and I began praying for God to give me a new direction, a new passion in my life I would undeniably know He’d planted in my heart. On a whim, I began tinkering with storytelling and it didn’t take long for my secret hobby to become my God-given passion! 

Which 3 words describe the type of fiction you write?

Faith-filled, humorous and passionate.

Who is your favorite fictional character/couple?

I’d have to say Marcy & Patrick O’Conner from Julie Lessman’s Daughters of Bostonand Winds of Changeseries. Marcy and Patrick are in there 40s and Julie writes the most beautiful relationship between the two throughout the series. Even though they are not the main characters, their story is featured as the secondary plotline in several of the books. Julie eventually wrote a prequel telling their story inALight in the Window. They probably resonated with me because I am closer in age to Marcy & Patrick then most of the hero and heroine’s I read and write. I actually have their parts of the story dog-eared in my copy, so I can just reread the Marcy & Patrick sections (confessions of a book nerd).

 Ooh I love that couple too! That entire series was phenomenal! So let’s talk inspiration. What was your inspiration for writing A Love Restored?

A Love Restoredis based on my true-life love story with my husband, Mike—all of our ups and downs, including our emotionally devastating break up. When I first began writing, I tinkered with a story about Irish mail-order brides (the whole mail order bride thing just fascinates me). Hubby read it, told me it “wasn’t bad,” then suggested I write our story. Skeptical, I questioned him. “Are you sure. I mean you don’t look so good in that story for a long time.” He grinned and responded, “Yeah, but I think it turned out all right.” I’d have to agree. We celebrated our 28thwedding anniversary last June.

Congrats!! Being married for over 28 years is an accomplishment not many can boast about. Okay, since A Love Restored is based on your “real-life” romance with your husband, how much of your heroine’s journey mirrors your own?

Like my full-figured heroine, Ruth Ann, I’ve struggled with weight issues my entire life. That struggle plays an important part in our story. I’ve had cruel things said about my appearance. Oftentimes by people who were supposed to love me. But their insensitive words failed in comparison to the ugly way I spoke to myself. I’d become so defined by the negative comments and opinions of those surrounding me, I no longer saw anything to esteem. I’d allowed my self-worth to be determined by a yardstick that measured my value according to the size of my waist or the flatness of my stomach, always coming up short. My own journey to self-acceptance, as well as what a loving God will do to grab a stubborn woman’s attention, are pivotal to the story line.

That will resonate with a lot of women as well. What was the most difficult part for you in writing the story?

I found it challenging to write our characters, Ruth Ann and Benjamin, who both struggle to come to terms with Ruth Ann’s fuller-figure, without making her look weak and pathetic nor him seem shallow. I hope readers find them to be strong, good-hearted characters struggling with very human flaws who look to God and scripture for guidance and healing.

In A Love Restored, Ruth Ann’s domestic skills are lacking, and Benjamin teaches her how to make sugar cookies. Since the book is based on your life, are you a disaster in the kitchen?

Although the Food Network will not be offering me a spot in their line-up, I certainly know my way around the kitchen. Unlike my heroine, I didn’t grow up with servants and learned how to cook as a teenager. But my husband is an excellent baker. Mike is known for his sugar cookies that are just melt-in-your-mouth delicious and inspired the baking scene in A Love Restored. He learned to make them from his Grandmother Dorwaldt. Hubby keeps a copy of the recipe in our lockbox with all the important papers like our marriage license and the kids’ birth certificates. True story! The recipe is available to you when you subscribe to my newsletter (yes, that was a shameless plug) at http://kellygoshorn.com/my-writing/newsletter. 

That’s so fun! I love when recipes are included! Fans of historical fiction & romance love the details that your research provides. Was there anything particularly interesting that you learned while researching your book that you were able to use in your story that you’d like to share?

While researching the post-Civil War history of my town and the county as a whole, I began reading about the life of the freed slaves in the area and the Freedman’s Schools to educate them. I discovered that Fannie Wood, a white woman from Middleboro, Massachusetts, came to the area to teach in one of the newly authorized Freedman’s Bureau schools in the nearby town of Warrenton. But in Reconstruction Era Virginia, Miss Wood’s tenure would not be without opposition from those who did not want the freed slaves educated. A Warrenton newspaper, The True Index, printed the first paragraph of a threatening letter sent to Miss Wood: “We the young men of this town think you are a disgrace to decent society and therefore wish you to leave this town before the first of March and if you don’t there will be violence used to make you comply to this request.” That threatening note became the inspiration for my secondary storyline in A Love Restored.

What do you hope readers take away from reading A Love Restored?

A Love Restoredis 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

An Excerpt from A Love Restored:

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Loudoun County, Virginia

August 1873

Benjamin Coulter cringed as the shrill tune hung in the air. That woman sure knew how to ruin a Sunday afternoon. Sounded like something was dying and needed to be put out of its misery.

He shook his head. All he wanted to do was rest a while longer. His decision to go around his headstrong superior and talk to Mr. Farrell directly about his boss’s inaccurate measurements had made for a nerve wracking week. That decision could have cost him his job. Thankfully, his discovery had been received well, saving the struggling railroad both time and money.

Benjamin leaned against the sycamore tree and tossed his line into the creek. A slight hint of remorse nicked his conscience. He now sat poised to guide the construction of the Washington & Ohio Railroad through the town of Catoctin Creek and over the Blue Ridge Mountains to Winchester, but he hadn’t intended to get his boss fired. If only the man hadn’t refused to admit he’d made a mistake.

Yep, it was all coming together. Just the way he’d hoped it would when he agreed to leave Texas and take this apprenticeship in Virginia. All he had to do was pass that examination next spring and…

He shuddered. The woman’s screeching escalated to a bone-grating pitch. She’d frighten the fish away for sure. Like most folks, Sunday was his day off, and he didn’t intend to spend it listening to her sing off-key.

Wedging his pole in the mud of the creek bank, he set off to investigate. Her ear-piercing slaughter of The Merry, Merry Month of Mayled the way. He spied his first glimpse of the lyrical assassin through the thin limbs of a dogwood tree. Perched on a large, flat rock at the edge of the creek, she swirled her bare feet in the water. Behind the rock sat a pair of woman’s boots—fancy ones. Too bad she hadn’t spent some of her shoe allowance on singing lessons.Her voice cracked. “The skies were bright, our hearts were light, in the merry, merry month of May…”

Benjamin winced. That was the fourth time in a row she’d sung that part. For the love of Pete, didn’t Miss Fancy Boots even know the words? He needed to put a stop to this so he could continue fishing—and napping. He stepped forward then stopped. The woman reached up and removed a pin from her hair, then another. Mounds of long chestnut brown ringlets spilled over her shoulders into the middle of her back.

Curls. He groaned. Why’d she have to have curls?

“The skies were bright. Our eyes were light…”

Never mind.Curls or not, the woman’s voice could haunt the dead.

You can purchase A Love Restored on Amazon US, Amazon UK and Barnes & Noble

Author Pic Inside 1.jpgMore About Kelly:

Kelly Goshorn weaves her affinity for history and her passion for God into uplifting stories of love, faith and family set in nineteenth century America. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. Kelly has been enjoying her own happily-ever-after with her husband and best friend, Mike, for 28 years. Together they have raised three children, four cats, two dogs, a turtle, a guinea pig, a gecko, and countless hamsters. Thankfully, not all at the same time. When she is not writing, Kelly enjoys spending time with her young adult children, scrapbooking with friends, board gaming with her husband, and spoiling her Welsh corgi, Levi.

You can connect with Kelly on: Her WebsiteFacebook , Twitter , Pinterest Instagram, Goodreads, Bookbub

Giveaway!!!!

Leave a comment below about your FAVORITE fictional couple to be entered in a random  drawing for an e-copy of A Love Restored!

 

 

 

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When You Look At Me Review

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When You Look At Me is another dazzling story by the fabulous Pepper Basham.

About the book:

An unexpected mother-to-be
A romance-leery composer
And a forgotten melody from the past that holds the keys to their futures

When Julia Jenkins’ great aunt dies and leaves her a Victorian mansion with decades of secrets, Julia never expects to unearth a World War 2 espionage mystery. Struggling with her own past since an assault left her pregnant, her future as a solo parent leaves her dreams uncertain. The inheritance from her great aunt gives Julia the ability to take a step back into her future, but also sends her into the discovery of a love story she’d never anticipated. As she goes through her aunt’s treasured possessions, Julia uncovers some oddly written piano music with a musical code she can’t decipher on her own. Not to worry, introverted Englishman and composer, Henry Wright, is thrust on the scene by a pair of homespun matchmakers who know the ‘right’ man for Julia’s wounded heart.

Henry arrives in Pleasant Gap with the task of composing the soundtrack for his best mate’s newest film. The Jenkins’ family’s southern welcome and gregarious personalities set his reticent nature on edge, but he’s inexplicably drawn to his gentle and music-loving hostess, Julia. Uncertain how to build a friendship with the wounded woman, and rather hopeless in communicating well through words, the bond of music becomes a bridge between her uncertainty and his awkwardness.

But her broken past and his families’ expectations build a wall much greater than the cultures that separate them. As they work together to solve a musical mystery from the grave, will an unlikely romance from the past inspire their hearts to trust in a God who’s written the perfect melody for their lives?

My thoughts:

I love how the author tackles different personalities in each of her books. In this story, the main characters are both introverts with a passion for music. The heroine, Julia, is reeling from a devastating incident which left her heart wounded and her mind cautious of romance. From the first chapter I found myself rooting for her, championing her happily ever after.

Henry is the exact opposite of the outgoing hero, Wes Harrison, from book one. Henry’s reflective. One who’d rather listen than speak. But just like the music he composes, there’s a richness to his character. Pair him with the tender-hearted Julia, and you have a beautifully crafted romance.

One thing I love about Pepper Basham’s writing is that she paints the scenes with words. You not only can visualize the stunning backdrop of Blue Ridge mountains, but you are there, inhaling the crisp air, taking in the vibrant hues. With this lovely story, you also get enthralled with the music. The author describes it so vividly you can almost hear the strums of each song.

Above all this, there’s a thread of mystery with Julia’s aunt and the charming home bequeathed to her.

I love the spiritual elements that the author weaves into each of her stories, and this one is no exception. The theme of being brave, of stepping out even while fear screams its ugly threats, is refreshing and heart-strengthening.

Hats off to Pepper Basham for yet another five-star novel. I’m eagerly awaiting the next story in this series.

*I received a copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Click HERE to purchase When You Look At Me!

About the Author:

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of 5 great kids, speech-pathologist to about fifty more, lover of chocolate, jazz, and Jesus. Her debut historical novel, The Thorn Bearer, released in May 2015 and has garnered awards such as Reader’s Favorites Award, finalist in the Grace Awards, shortlisted for the Inspy Awards, and a finalist in ACFW’s Carol Awards. Her second historical novel, The Thorn Keeper, released in Feb 2016 and her first contemporary romance, A Twist of Faith, released in April 2016 with a 4 star review from Romantic Times. In December 2016, her third historical in the Penned in Time series, The Thorn Healer – released with a 4 1/2 star review from RT and a Top Picks rating. You can get to know Pepper on her website, www.pepperdbasham.com, on Facebook, or over at her group blog, The Writer’s Alley.

On Magnolia Lane Review

 

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On Magnolia Lane by Denise Hunter was a tender conclusion to her Blue Ridge Romance series.

About the story:

Falling in love with Daisy was easy for Jack. But finding the courage to tell her becomes problematic when his secret feelings lead to even bigger complications.

After two years of counseling sessions with Daisy Pendleton, Pastor Jack McReady has earned a permanent spot in her life as a spiritual leader—and nothing more. Jack would never risk losing her trust by exposing the depths of his heart, but he’s hopelessly in love with her.

Daisy loves her southern small-town life and her job at her family-run flower shop, but she doesn’t have the thing she longs for most: someone to share it with. Her recent foray into online dating has been a disaster—until she meets TJ.

Jack could kill his friend Noah for using his initials and some indistinct photos to set up a profile on the dating app Daisy is using. But when he’s finally afforded the opportunity to show her a different side of himself, he’s sucked into the plan before he has time for second thoughts.

Online, Daisy shares some of her greatest fears with TJ, but in person, Jack and Daisy are spending more time together. When a devastating family secret surfaces, Daisy knows that only her trusted friend and counselor can bring her comfort. Jack wants nothing more than to be both men for Daisy, but revealing his secret will prove to be the ultimate test of Daisy’s grace.

My Thoughts:

I adore Daisy Pendleton. In fact, I’m gonna go as far as saying that she’s my favorite Denise Hunter heroine to date. Daisy’s always-do-what’s-right attitude coupled with her sweet nature earned my highest respect. But even more, she struggles with the dyslexia which affects her self-perception. Experiencing how she faces her inner demons while battling the external conflicts which arise in her family is poignant and heart-strengthening.

Of course there’s a tender romance BUT what stood out to me in this book more than any other of Ms. Hunter’s novels is the running theme of relationships. Throughout the story, Daisy encounters situation after situation regarding relationships with everyone she’s close to (And even some she’s NOT close to—when you read the story, you’ll know exactly whom I’m referring to. ;)) She’s met with pivotal decisions that alters her perception of past relationships and affects the status of current ones. On top of all this, she’s juggling a could-be romance with an online admirer while also becoming aware of her growing feelings for her pastor, Jack McReady.

Ms. Hunter tackles several difficult subjects in this novel with such a grace-infused delicacy that it leaves the reader’s heart uplifted and refreshed. This author also excels in creating characters that are relatable as well as unforgettable. This story will appeal to  many readers especially those who adore the movie You’ve Got Mail and the classic Shop Around the Corner.

* I received a copy of this story by the author. All opinions are my own.

To purchase On Magnolia Lane click HERE!

About the Author:

Denise Hunter is the internationally published bestselling author of more than 25 books, including A December Bride and The Convenient Groom, which have been adapted into original Hallmark Channel movies. She has won The Holt Medallion Award, The Reader’s Choice Award, The Carol Award, The Foreword Book of the Year Award, and is a RITA finalist. When Denise isn’t orchestrating love lives on the written page, she enjoys traveling with her family, drinking green tea, and playing drums. Denise makes her home in Indiana where she and her husband are rapidly approaching an empty nest. To learn more about Denise, visit her website DeniseHunterBooks.com; Facebook: AuthorDeniseHunter; Twitter: @DeniseAHunter; Instagram: deniseahunter.