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, won the Director’s Choice Award for Adult/YA fiction at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference in 2019, and earned recognition as both a Selah Award finalist in the Historical Romance category and as a Maggie Award Finalist for Inspirational Fiction. When she is not writing, Kelly enjoys spending time with her young adult children, binge-watching BBC period dramas, board gaming with her husband, and spoiling her Welsh corgi, Levi.
I first met Kelly Goshorn when I joined Deena Adam’s Hope-filled Fiction Summer Book Club on Facebook. The book we read was Kelly’s debut novel, A Love Restored. I felt such a connection to both Kelly and her heroine, Ruth Ann Sutton. One link is a common theme in Kelly’s first novel and my own debut since they both have main characters who are judged by their appearance rather than their noble character.
I also got to spend some time with Kelly on Zooms during monthly ACFW Virginia webinars which she facilitated. I love the fact that Kelly is willing to invest her time to help other writers achieve their dreams in the world of authoring.
I am sure you will feel a connection to Kelly as well as you learn more about her and her writing in this interview!
What would you like readers to know about you as a person?
Well, I’m just a great big history nerd girl at heart. I often drag my family to museums, battlefields, and other historical attractions where I insist on reading every descriptive detail! LOL! I’ve been married to my best friend, Mike, for 31 years. Together we’ve raised three children, four cats, two dogs, a turtle, a guinea pig, a gecko, and countless hamsters. Thankfully not all at the same time. Our family loves to play board games together and watch movies (in which I’m often known to fall asleep). I love BBC period dramas like like Miss Scarlet and the Duke or All Creatures Great and Small, and I’m terrified to walk on grates (city grates, cattle grates)! I listen to more audio books than I sit and read these days and I’m obsessed with my sweet corgi, Levi. Most of all, I love the Lord Jesus Christ with all my heart.
What led you to become an author?
In 2009 I began praying with my husband and my small group from church for God to give me a new direction, a new passion in life like I had for teaching when I graduated. I poured out my heart and petitioned him for nearly 3 years and the answer as it turns out was writing—something I hadn’t seen coming. I’d always loved tinkering with words in my many term papers as a history education major in under grad and grad school, but I NEVER considered writing fiction. That was all God. Inspired by my youngest son, I began writing a story about mail order brides just for fun. When my husband suggested I write our story, my desire to write grew and grew occupying any free moment. It wasn’t long before I realized my secret hobby had become the God-given passion I’d been praying for.
What would you like readers to take-away from reading A Love Restored?
I love this question! It goes right to the heart of why I believe God wrote this story on my life. At its core, A Love Restored is 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.
Words have the power to lift us up or 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.
In a world that often equates our worth to the size of our paycheck, our appearance, or the diploma hanging from our wall, it can be very tough to see our own value. We are ignorant if we don’t agree with the current PC opinion. We are ugly if we don’t look like the air-brushed images on the covers of fashion magazines in the check-out lines. We are a failure if we don’t earn a six-figure income and have the latest devices at our fingertips.
Friends, that is a lie. The enemy of God longs to distort your perspective, so you no longer see the truth of who you are in Christ. The Bible tells us in John 10:10 that “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (NIV)
Here are just a few things the Bible has to say about you:
1 Thes.1:4 You are chosen and dearly loved of God. (NIV)
Ps. 139:14 You are fearfully and wonderfully made. (NIV)
Zech. 2:8 You are the apple of God’s eyes. (NIV, I just love that one!)
2 Cor. 5:17 You are a new creation in Christ. (NIV)
John 1:12 You are a child of God. (NIV)
Col. 1:14 You have been forgiven. (NIV)
Rom. 8:1 You are free forever from condemnation. (NIV)
What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Write as often as you can, read best-selling authors in your genre, and most important of all, don’t give up! Learn the craft, attend workshops and conferences, and find your tribe of supporters. Writing is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It can be solitary and even discouraging at times, but quitting is the only sure-fire way to never be published. Writing challenges all my fears—self-worth and rejection most prominently. I have to repeatedly lay them down at the cross and trust that God will inspire me to write a story that will bless, entertain, and challenge the body of Christ because I cannot do it on my own.
I love Kelly’s messages in this interview: to stop believing the words that tear us down and to lay our challenges down at the cross. It is unbelievably freeing to put both your identity and your future into the hands of a loving and sovereign God.
I highly recommend A Love Restored to all, but especially for single ladies navigating the dating realm. There are powerful messages throughout the novel that our young women need to hear. Here is more about the novel:
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.
With pert opinions and a less-than-perfect figure, Ruth Ann Sutton doesn’t measure up to society’s vision of a perfect lady. When she accepts a position teaching in a Freedman’s School, it threatens the only marriage offer Ruth Ann is likely to receive. She’s forced to choose between life as a lonely spinster or reinventing herself to secure a respectable proposal.
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. After a chance encounter with Ruth Ann Sutton, Benjamin is smitten with her pretty face, quick wit, and feisty personality.
When others ridicule his choice, will Benjamin listen to his heart or put ambition first?
You can connect with Kelly on:
Her website: http://kellygoshorn.com/
And now for a GIVEAWAY!
You can have a chance to win both A Love Restored and A Misplaced Beauty in eBook format OR your choice of one of these debut novels in paperback by answering this question with a comment here on this blog: What is a topic or theme that you would love to see in a novel?
(Each commenter will be assigned a number, and on October 1st, 2021, random.org will be used to select the recipient of the giveaway. The paperback giveaway is only available to those in the continental US due to postage rates.)