Heroine Interview from A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, CA by Keli Gwyn

» Posted on Jul 3, 2012 in Blog | 25 comments

This week I’m hosting Keli Gwyn with A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, Jocelyn Green with Wedded to War, Cheri Cowell with Parables and Word Pictures from the New Testament (I will forward the entries to the publicist for a 3 basket giveaway. The winners will be contacted by her.) and Margaret Brownley with Dawn Comes Early. If you want to enter the drawings for the books, please leave a comment on one of the post during the week with your email address. I will not enter you without an email address (my way to contact you if you win). If you don’t want to leave an email address, another way you can enter is to email me at margaretdaley@gmail.com. The drawings end Sunday (July  8th) evening.

Interview with the heroine from A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, CA by Keli Gwyn:

1. Elenora Watkins, tell me the most interesting thing about you.

Interesting? Me? If you ask my nine-year-old daughter, Tildy, she’d tell you I’m as plain and stuffy as a piece of dry toast. If only she knew all the things I’d love to do if I weren’t busy starting my own business so I can provide for her.

While working in my shop is rewarding, the most interesting thing I do is play violin. I’m enraptured by the composers’ works, even though Tildy finds them “boring.” She’s just all atwitter because she found out her new friend Mr. Miles Rutledge plays the fiddle. She wants me to learn, which I’ll never do. I’ll stick with my violin and leave the smelly barns where folk musicians play to a certain mercantile owner with a shop across the street from mine.

2.  What do you do for fun?

Besides playing violin, I enjoy taking long walks. The terrain here in the Sierra Foothills of California is so different than what I was used to in Omaha, Nebraska and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I hear there are gold mines in the area, and I’d like to see one for myself.

3.  What do you put off doing because you dread it?

I don’t care for cooking and other household chores. Since Ma died when I was young, Pa’s housekeeper tended to them and had no desire to teach me, so I’m lacking in those womanly arts, I’m afraid. I try my best, but I can ruin a good piece of meat faster than my talkative Tildy can run her mouth.

4.  What are you afraid of most in life?

Tildy is adventurous and has a fascination with outlaws and such, but the one who stopped our stagecoach on the way into El Dorado turned my skin to gooseflesh. My Pa and I had an encounter with an outlaw back in his mercantile in Omaha, and I can still see— No, I’ll not speak of it. Such things are best left in the past. Suffice it to say, if I never see another outlaw again, I’d be a happy woman.

5.  What do you want out of life?

I’d love for Pa to be proud of me. I worked so hard for him in his mercantile, and yet he did nothing but find fault with me. I look forward to the day my shop is thriving and I can tell him. He’ll be proud of me then. I’m sure of it.

6.  What is the most important thing to you?

I treasure my memories of Mama. She was a godly woman with the loveliest voice, one as soft and warm as a kitten pressed against my cheek. She used to take me to church every Sunday, and I was so happy to sit by her side and sneak glances at my pretty Mama. If she caught my eye, she’d smile and squeeze my hand. I’d love to be half the woman she was, but I lack her faith. If only I could sense the Lord’s presence the way she did…

7.  Do you read? If so, what is your favorite type of book to read?

I’m so busy working to get my shop established and to care for Tildy that I have little time for playing my violin and even less for reading. I squeeze in a few pages of Scripture each week, but if I could hole up with a book, I’d read Little Women. I saw a number of young women on the train West with their noses buried in it, and they recommended it highly.

8.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Mr. Rutledge thinks I’m too strict with Tildy. I do hold her closely, but she’s all I have. My dear girl means the world to me, and if anything were to happen to her, I don’t know how I’d go on. I wish I could trust her to the Lord the way my new friend Pearl does her children. It would be nice not to fret so.

9.  Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?

Tildy would love it if I’d let her have a kitten, but I’ve yet to get one for her. She enjoys spending time at Will and Pearl’s farm and seeing all the animals there. That will have to suffice until I get the shop established.

10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?

I’d go back to my childhood when Mama was still alive and Pa was happy. I’d tell Mama how much I love her. I didn’t say it often enough, and that’s one of my biggest regrets. 


  1. A lovely interview thank you. I can see how much Elenora Watkins loves her daughter. The violin has to be my favorite instrument.


    • Mary,

      I fell in love with violin music while writing the story and researching classical violin pieces. I got to hear both Itzhak Perlman and Joshua Bell in concert at my daughter’s university while I was writing the story. That’s some of the most fun research I’ve ever done. 🙂

  2. Wonderful interview, yes you can see she loves her daughter and family, I have a brother living in Omaha so reference to her mercantile there brought a smile. I will be looking for this book and author…
    thanks for sharing
    Paula O

    • Paula,

      I love including interesting places in my stories. I’ve never been to Omaha, but after writing this story, I’d love to visit the town Ellie hails from.

  3. I love the interview. I wanna know more!
    Campbellamyd at gmail dot com

    • Amy,

      Thanks for your kind words. You know how to make an author smile.

    • Amy,

      I’m glad you enjoyed the interview. Elenora would be pleased to hear it.

  4. Ooo, a violinist! I loved playing one when I was in elementary school. Elenora sure loves her daughter, hope Tildy recognizes that gift.

    mylab1122 (AT) Gmail (DOT) com

    • Kimberly,

      Elenora does enjoy her violin. It plays a special part in the story.

      I think it’s neat that you played one when you were younger. Do you still play?

  5. I love to read and how it takes you away from everyday stress! We’re missionaries in Nicaragua and when we finally get to relax or travel on those crazy busses with folks crammed in everywhere – if I have a book – I can do anything!

    • Melody,

      Books are such a great form of entertainment, aren’t they?

  6. Only 8 comments – I cannot believe it. I would love to be entered to win. Enjoyed this a lot.

    • Jane,

      Thanks for visiting and for leaving a comment. I’m glad you enjoyed the interview. Elenora certainly did.

  7. Nice interview. Taking walks in that area sounds nice.


    • bn,

      My husband and I take lots of walks. It gets pretty warm here in the Sierra Foothills during the summer, so we’re walking later in the day now. Due to the heat, the hills are taking on their golden hue. Didn’t know that’s why we’re called the Golden State, did you? 😉

  8. Great interview! Loved it and would love to read the book now.


    • Jo,

      I’m glad you enjoyed the interview and hope you enjoy the book, too.

    • Jo,

      Congratulations on winning the drawing! I look forward to hearing from you, so I can get the book on its way to you. Please check your email for a message from Margaret and one from me.

  9. I love reading debut novels and would love to win a copy of Keli’s. Thank you for the opportunity.

    😀 Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    • Cindy,

      I’m with you. Reading debut novels can be such fun. I’ve discovered many awesome writers that way who are now on my must-reads list.

  10. Interesting interview Ms. Gwyn!

    Congrats on getting published! 🙂

    PS Thanks for the compliment on my name; it means blessing. 🙂
    Not that I’m always a blessing, especially to my brothers. 🙂

    I can’t wait to read this book, either through the contest or by other means….;)

    • Deevena,

      I like your name even more now that I know its meaning. I’m sure your parents consider you a huge blessing–although there might be times your brothers won’t admit that they agree. Brothers can be that way, can’t they? 😉

      • Yes, they can, but it goes both ways, and we still love each other to no end! <3

        Thank you!

  11. Keli, enjoyed the interview with Elnora. I love Violin music. And am sorry she lost her mother at an early age. I to, would want to find the gold mines if I lived there. Did travel in Colo. and would stop where they had dug for gold. Large piles. We stopped, as diid others, always to find a small piece of gold. Would love to win your book. Maxie ( mac262@me.com )

    • Maxie,

      Isn’t history fascinating? I love learning about the past and the courageous people who lived then.

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