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:
Loudoun County, Virginia
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.
More 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.
Leave a comment below about your FAVORITE fictional couple to be entered in a random drawing for an e-copy of A Love Restored!