Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Real-Life Story Inspiration with Kelly Goshorn (& a Giveaway)

Hello reader friends! I'm very excited to introduce you to a debut author whose book I've already added to my TBR pile! Kelly Goshorn's A Love Restored is brand new this week. Historical fiction, romance, and more are in store for you! Be sure and enter the giveaway before you leave!

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. Her debut novel, A Love Restored, received recognition as the winner of the 2015 COTT Olympia Contest and as a semi-finalist in the 2015 ACFW Genesis Contest. Kelly has been enjoying her own happily-ever-after with her husband and best friend, Mike, for 27 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 website:

SW: First of all, congratulations on your debut novel! We’re so pleased you could join us here at the mine and share a little about your journey.

KG: Hi Suzie, thanks so much for welcoming me here on The Diamond Mine. I’m excited to share A Love Restored with your readers.

SW: Let’s get right into it with a few multiple choice questions to warm us up!
Original draft: computer, paper, or phone?

KG: Computer

SW: Chocolate, vanilla, or something else? 

KG: I like vanilla based ice cream with lots of stuff in it—peanut butter cups, chocolate covered peanuts, M&Ms, coconut, chocolate chips…well, I’m sure by now you get the picture. Was this supposed to be a short answer! LOL!

SW: Anyone else craving ice cream all of a sudden? Spring, summer, fall, or winter?

KG: Fall

SW: Night owl or early bird?

KG: Early bird

SW: I'm always in awe of early birds (but, to tell the truth, I'm not really a night owl anymore either). Ok, now that we know a few surface things about you: When (or why) did you start writing? 

KG: Truthfully, I never saw it coming! So many writers I’ve talked to have wanted to be a writer since they were a child. Many have drawers full of half-written manuscripts. Me? Not so much. I had always enjoyed writing papers for my college 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 story writing and it didn’t take long for my secret hobby to become my God-given passion!

SW: I love that. You have a unique writing journey that proves there are multiple roads to publishing. Authors often say there’s no such thing as a consistent routine, but what would you like your writing day to look like? 

Levi and I working
KG: I’m still chasing the ideal writing day. As that rare breed, an extroverted writer, I am usually my own biggest distraction. When a friend texts to meet up for coffee or lunch I have a hard time saying no. I work from home in the afternoons as a virtual assistant, so the mornings are my time to focus on my writing. After a lifetime of being a night owl, I have recently been rising early to write. This has brought a great deal of discipline to my schedule that I never had before. On an ideal writing day, I set the alarm for 4:45 a.m. I hit the snooze a few times and begin the day talking with the Lord. Then I head for the kitchen and make a cup of tea, usually Earl Grey. My trusty companion, Levi (an adorable Welsh corgi), follows me downstairs and gets his morning treat. He can usually be found by my feet while I write. Before I begin, I pray. Writing is the hardest thing I’ve ever done and each day I ask God to come and inspire me and to tell the stories He wants told through me. By 8 a.m. I have usually met my daily word count. After I dress for the day, Levi and I head out for a walk. When we return home, I try to focus on other writerly tasks like editing, marketing, blogging and critiquing.

SW: Wow, I don't thing I've seen 4:45 am in years. I’m in awe of historical writers due to all the research. What drew you to this genre over contemporary or suspense? 

KG: Hahaha! I love that part and can get lost in so many historical rabbit trails while researching. I guess I’m just a big old-fashioned, nerdy, history-lovin’ kinda girl at heart! I’ve always loved history, even as a kid in school. In college, I earned a B.A. in social studies education and an M.Ed. in History. It’s my favorite genre to read as well and on my birthday, I enjoy dragging my children to historical sites and watching them cringe as I read every sign and placard! LOL!

SW: Maybe that's my problem, I was never a huge history buff. But, I love how it's brought to life in novels. Tell us a little about your road to publication. 

KG: God has blessed this journey in so many ways. I began writing in 2011. By 2013 I had a completed draft of A Love Restored and joined a critique group through American Christian Fiction Writers.  In 2014, A Love Restored finaled in ACFW’s First Impressions contest. In 2015, that was followed by winning the COTT Olympia, a reader-driven contest, and finaling in the WisRWA Fab 5 and the Tara, along with a semi-final nod in the ACFW Genesis contest. At the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference that same year, I had the opportunity to pitch my story to several agents and editors. I was blessed to have several requests for full manuscripts. A few weeks later, I received a call from one of the editors I’d met, Paula Mowery. A weeks later she called and offered me a contract with Prism Book Group. I was floored. She’d never read the entire manuscript. From all the contests I’d entered, the first few chapters were well-polished, but no industry professional had read the entire manuscript. When I questioned why she didn’t want the full manuscript first she said, “I have a God nudge and I like to follow my God nudges.” I’m so glad she did!

SW: God nudge, I love it! Here is your chance to acknowledge those who’ve walked alongside of you in the writing process. Who is your tribe? Who supports you, reads along with you, helps you out of a difficult place in your story, etc. 

KG: I’m so blessed to have a husband who supports this crazy writing journey of mine, in fact it was his idea to write A Love Restored. I also have a loyal group of friends who, are not writers, that regularly pray for my writing journey and read all my stuff—my sister, Cindy Scott, and dear friends Becky Redman, Steph Sloan and Colleen Hoernke. Colleen has read and critiqued my story so many times, I think she knows it as well as I do! My first critique partners through American Christian Fiction Writers—Angela Couch, Sarah Monzon, Tammy Kirby, Crystal Barnes, Jodie Wolfe, Jessica Konek Johnson and Linda Cushman. Where I’d be without those wonderful women, I do not know. And keeping me faithful to this writing journey are my early morning writing buddies, Megan Whitson Lee and Debb Hackett!

SW: Some of those critique partner names are familiar. What a fantastic group to get input and feedback from. I’m so excited that your heroine in A Love Restored is not the svelte character in so many (too many?) books. What influenced that decision?

Kelly and her groom

KG: You’re right, Suzie. The heroine in most romance novels does not resemble me or most of the women I see around me, but the primary reason Ruth Ann has a fuller figure is that A Love Restored is based on the true-life romance between my husband and myself. Ruth Ann is me in so many ways. She is stubborn, always seems to find herself in a pickle, and is definitely on the rounder side of feminine figures. I have struggled with weight issues my entire life and that struggle plays an important part in our story. Ruth Ann’s biggest weakness is not seeing herself as the beautiful, Godly woman she is. Her journey to self-acceptance is at the heart of the story.

SW: I think women need that reminder. And since we gave Ruth Ann some love, tell us a little about Benjamin.

KG: Now that you know A Love Restored is based on my story, you would be right to assume that Benjamin is based on my husband, Mike. Like my husband, Benjamin makes Ruth Ann laugh, holds her accountable to herself and is very generous with his time and talents. He is extremely intelligent, and like Benjamin, my husband wooed me with his guitar and teases me about my not-so-stellar singing voice. Like Benjamin, my husband struggled with his pride and let vows, words he’d spoken over himself, dictate his choices. Benjamin’s journey is about finding the courage to challenge society’s idea of what success looks like and trusting God’s plan for his life.

SW: What do you hope readers come away with after reading A Love Restored

KG: At its core, A Love Restored is a story about the power of words in 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.

Words have the power to lift us up and tear us down, and the most dangerous ones are the ones we repeat in our own mind every day. I spent way too many years repeating words of death to myself—that I was fat, ugly, unlovable and unworthy of the very God I believed sacrificed His son on my behalf.

1 Samuel 16:7b says, For the LORD does not see as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. My prayer for you and your 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.

SW: Amen! Are you working on anything new you can tell us about?

KG: I’m very excited about the series I’m working on now, Surrendered Hearts. Set in Civil War Virginia, the series 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 readers are interested in learning more, the can visit the Surrendered Hearts page on my website.

SW: Thank you for visiting with us today and may God bless your writing career.

KG: Thank you, Suzie. I had such a wonderful time sharing my writing journey with your readers.

More about A Love Restored

She was nothing like the woman he’d envisioned for his bride, but he was everything she’d ever dreamed of—until a promise from his past threatened their future.

Twenty-year-old Ruth Ann Sutton doesn’t measure up to society’s vision of a perfect lady. She would rather read Jules Verne or teach Negro children to read and write than join the Women’s Benevolent Aid Society or practice her voice lessons. Her pert opinions and less than perfect figure keep many suitors away. When Ruth Ann accepts a position teaching at the new Freedman’s School, it threatens the only marriage offer she is likely to receive. Should she risk life as a lonely spinster or reinvent herself to accept a proposal from a man she does not love?
Determined to rise above his meager beginnings, Benjamin Coulter’s reputation as a fast learner and hard worker earn him the opportunity to apprentice with a surveyor for the railroad—a position that will garner the respect of other men. All he needs now is a woman to share his promising future. When Benjamin has a chance encounter with Ruth Ann Sutton, he is smitten with her pretty face, quick wit, and feisty personality. When others ridicule his choice, Benjamin must decide whether he will listen to his heart or put ambition first.

Order from your copy here


Kelly Goshorn is giving one reader a book charm with a quote from her debut and a copy of A Love Restored (Paperback if you are in the US, Ebook if you are international). To enter, leave a comment below along with a way to contact you if you are our randomly chosen winner. For an extra entry, follow Kelly on social media or sign up for her newsletter and let us know you've done that as well. Plus, if you sign up for her newsletter, you'll get a sugar cookie recipe (yummy!).

Book Charms for A Love Restored

***Must be five unique commenters for giveaway to be valid.


Lucy Reynolds said...

This sounds like a wonderful debut novel. Thank you for sharing and the chance to win. Have a blessed fourth.

MJSH said...

Sounds like a great novel. Congrats on your debut novel!
mindyhoung AT msn DOT com

Kelly Goshorn said...

Hi Suzie, so fun to be on The Diamond Mine today after reading so many other interviews of author friends. Pinching myself...this is really happening! Good luck in the drawing everyone and I hope you all enjoy, A Love Restored!

mamacita5 said...

What an amazing writing journey. I love your perspective and your faith in God.

Jennifer said...

I get up at 5:30 am for work and I have a hard time getting up. So understand the early rising when I’m actually a night person. Congratulations on your new release and I’m glad you have a furry writing companion.
jennydtipton at gmail dot com

Suzie Waltner said...

Congratulations on your release, Kelly! From the mentions online, I need to squeeze this onto my TBR soon!!

Abby Breuklander said...

Oh this sounds so good, I can't wait to read it!

alander87 AT allcom DOT net

Tiffany Hall said...

I can't wait to read this book! It sounds so good!
Thanks for the chance to win!

Tiffany Hall said...

Followed On Facebook.

Vivian Furbay said...

What an interesting story. I would enjoy reading it. Vivian Furbay jtandviv(at)q(dot)com

Kay Garrett said...

Congratulations Kelly on the release of your debut book - and a great one it is!

Kelly Goshorn's "A Love Restored" is definitely on my TBR list. I love her statement of what she wanted her readers to take away after reading the book.

Thank you for the wonderful interview. I love learning more about the author and more about the book through interviews. I can't wait for the opportunity to read what I know will be the first of many books by this author.
2clowns at arkansas dot net

Kay Garrett said...

I follow Kelly on Facebook and Twitter
2clowns at arkansas dot net

Patty said...

Sounds like a great debut novel! I love the fact that the main character so based on Kelly and her husband

I followed Kelly on FB


Anonymous said...

Congrats on your debut release! I certainly enjoyed your interview and getting a peak at your writing schedule and style. It sounds like something I really would enjoy reading.
perrianne (DOT)askew(AT)me(DOT)com

Maximary said...

Looking forward to reading your debut novel Kelly - Congratulations - sounds like it is "right up my alley"!

Anonymous said...

Kelly, congrats on your debut novel.
I love reading historicals and would love to read Ruth Ann and Benjamin's story. The location and story line interest me also.
marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com

Caryl Kane said...

Kelly, Congratulations on your debut novel! How exciting!!!

Kelly Goshorn said...

Hi Caryl, Love those psalms! Thank you for visiting Caryl!

Kelly Goshorn said...

Hi MaryAnn, Are you from Virginia by chance? The series I'm working on now is also set in Loudoun County, Virginia.

Kelly Goshorn said...

Hi Perianne,

Thank you for your kind words about ALR. I hope you enjoy the story!

Kelly Goshorn said...

Hi Maximary, aww thank you. I sure do love historical romance too and I hope you enjoy the story.

Kelly Goshorn said...

Hi Patty,

You might like to know that not only is the story based on my relationship with Mike, but he's the one who suggested I write our story. I said "are you sure, because you don't look so good in that story for a long time?" He said "yeah, but I think it turned out all right." It sure did, we've been married 28 years.

Kelly Goshorn said...

Hi Kay,

If just one person changes the way they see themselves, if just one person can see how much God loves them just the way they are...then it will all be worth it. I hope you enjoy the story.

Kelly Goshorn said...

MJSH, your welcome and good luck in the drawing!

Kelly Goshorn said...

Thank you Tiffany!

Kelly Goshorn said...

Thank you, Lucy! I hope you enjoy the story!

Kelly Goshorn said...

Hi Mamacita5, It's been a long, hard battle to get where I am today. The enemy knows our weak spots and loves to exploit them. But so thankful that God is already victorious! So many times I lapsed back into negative thinking but He is so faithful even when we are faithless. Huge life lesson.

Kelly Goshorn said...

Jennifer, I'm totally a morning person now. I love it. I don't get up at the crazy hour to do anything but write. I find myself less distracted, but I'm exhausted by 9 and in bed by 9:30. My kids say I go to bed earlier than their grandmother and they're right! LOL!

Kelly Goshorn said...

Hi Abby, Thank you! I appreciate your kind words. I hope you enjoy ALR!

Kelly Goshorn said...

Hi Tiffany! Thank you and good luck in the drawing!

Kelly Goshorn said...

Hi Vivian, Thank you so much! I hope you get a chance to read ALR! Good luck in the drawing.

Deanne Patterson said...

Congratulations on your new release. The cover is gorgeous and I am always glad to hear of a book I haven't heard of before that sounds interesting. I signed up to follow your blog,newsletter and Twitter follow.
Cnnamongirl at aol dot com