Today we have the honor of speaking with Kelly Goshorn. Kelly won a Pelican Group contract for her debut novel, A Love Restored. I’m excited to learn about it and her book.
Hello Kelly, tell us a little about yourself and how you were raised.
Hi Kristena, Thank you for having me on your blog. I look forward to chatting with you and your readers today. I’ve been married to my best friend, Mike, for 28 years. We have three grown children and live in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in northwestern Virginia. I grew up about 15 minutes from where I live now. I’m the baby of three girls but my twin sisters are nearly 12 years older than me, so I have the traits of both the first and last-born child! Although my immediate family is small, I’m part of a huge and very loud Irish Catholic family that loves to talk. I’m definitely not your stereotypical introverted writer. I’d have never survived my upbringing if I wasn’t somewhat of an extrovert. I accepted Christ as a freshman in high school and had no idea how that decision would change my life. I attended college in Pennsylvania where I earned a B.S. in social studies education at Messiah College then went on to earn an M.Ed. in history education from Penn State, however, I only taught for one year. Love, marriage and the Gulf war intervened. By the time life settled down I’d had my first child and couldn’t let her go. I chose to stay home and start an in-home childcare business. I love the mountains and am a huge fan of tea—iced or hot, just don’t offer me coffee. Besides reading, I love Jesus,
What’s your favorite genre to read and write. Who’s your favorite author?
Genre? That’s easy—historical romance! My favorite author—that’s tough. I can’t choose just one. I love the passion of Julie Lessman, the humor of Karen Witemeyer, and the incomparable description of Tamera Alexander!
What age did you realize you loved books?
I think I realized I loved books in middle school. My seventh-grade math teacher, Miss Slusher, would turn down the lights and read to us for 10 minutes every day after lunch (probably to settle us all down, LOL!). Two books she read that I still remember are Island of the Blue Dolphin and Where the Red Fern Grows. In high school, I started reading historical fiction by John Jakes and James Michener as well as classics by Charles Dickens and Jane Austen. My sister introduced me to Janette Oke’s, Love Comes Softly and I’ve been reading Christian fiction ever since.
When did you start writing?
In 2008, after seventeen years of in-home childcare, my husband and I began praying for God to give me a new passion—a new direction. In 2010, while still waiting for His answer, I began tinkering with storytelling. I’d always enjoyed writing research papers for my history classes but never, ever considered writing fiction. It didn’t take long for my secret hobby to become a God-given passion. Seeing A Love Restored in print is the answer to many, many prayers that all began with an earnest desire to seek God’s will and direction for my life.
Tell us about your book,A Love Restored. What did you learn about yourself through writing A Love Restored?
A Love Restored is not only a story of love, romance, heartache
I’m thrilled that A Love Restored earned a publishing contract with Pelican Book Group but more than that, my faith has grown by leaps and bounds through this process. My writing journey began with a simple prayer for the Lord to give me a passion to serve Him in some way. But the path that lay ahead would not only prove to be challenging from a craft point of view,
Do you normally use an outline for the books you write, or do you just start with a few ideas?
I’m not much of a plotter, which strikes me as odd because in every other aspect of my life I’m a planner. Since ALR is my story, I knew that basic plotline but the series I’m working on now has been largely developed as I write. The original spark for that story came while listening to the song “Sweet Annie,” by the Zac Brown Band. I started thinking about what the man singing might have done to be begging Annie to take him back and the next thing I knew my bad boy turned reformed hero, Asa Campbell, was born. Once I had that initial idea for the story, I did character development work and let the characters tell me their story through a first person narrative. I also spent time doing preliminary research on my setting and time period before I began.
Is there a special place you like to write?
Nope. Have laptop will travel! LOL! I’m an early riser, so at 5 am I’m downstairs where I won’t disturb my hubby. Later in the morning, you might find me at the desk in my bedroom, in the recliner, or the back porch if weather permits. Sometimes I meet up with some other ACFW writing friends in the area or head to my local coffee shop just to get out of the house for a while.
What was something that surprised you in the way this book unfolded? What character do you like best?
I was surprised with the way the secondary plotline developed. While researching Freedman’s Schools in post-Civil War Virginia, I found newspaper articles about trouble between a northern female teacher at one of these schools and whites in the community who did not want the freed slaves educated. A former Union Army captain was assigned to guard the teacher, but the situation continued to escalate, and more soldiers were needed to quiet things down. I knew instantly I wanted to capture this tension in my story.
Although I love my hero and heroine, what author doesn’t, I think I’m especially pleased with Myra, the Sutton’s family housekeeper. I love her “tell it like it is” personality as well as her protectiveness toward Ruth Ann.
What advice would you give a new author?
I love this quote from former president, Theodore Roosevelt. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” My advice is to keep writing, rejoice in the success of others, and always be willing to look at advice and rejection as part of the process to make you a better writer. Remember, the only sure way to fail is to quit.
What project are you working on now?
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. If you’d like to read the book blurbs for the series, you can visit the Surrendered Hearts page on my website.
Where can we find you and your books?
You can find me on my website: http://kellygoshorn.com/