Friday, June 1, 2012

Interview with Kelly Nelson, author of The Keeper's Calling

Today I’m super excited to post this interview with Kelly Nelson, author at WalnutSprings Press. Kelly’s debut novel, The Keeper’s Calling, is an adventure that will appeal to like, well, anyone. Seriously, young or old, male or female… You name it. Time travel, romance, magic, adventure--this book has a little of something for everyone. So, without further ado…

Welcome, Kelly! First off, what are you most passionate about, other than writing?

I love my two horses—Texas and Fancy. From the time I was three I wished for a horse on every birthday candle blowing, every first star I saw and every wishbone I broke. When I was 16 my dad finally gave in and bought me Misty, a thoroughbred mare and ultimately the mother of Texas. She had come off the race track and loved to run. More than once she took the bit in her mouth and ran full-speed down the canal frontage road while I hung on for dear life. She was a lot of horse and I learned through trial and error how to be a horseperson. I’ve owned her foal, Texas, longer than I’ve known my husband.

A horse lover! My three-year-old is horse crazy too. I find ponies everywhere: in my bed sheets, in the pantry, in the sleeve of my bath robe. She has a “savings jar” that she plans to use to buy a “rainbow horsie” named “Paint.”

Alright, this is random (but fun). Five of your favorite movies. Go.

I’m going to list one from each of the past five decades:
1960s  ~ The Great Escape
1970s  ~ Star Wars
1980s  ~ Raider’s of the Lost Ark
1990s ~ Titanic
2000s ~ Hidalgo

Several of those would make my top list, too. But Kelly, no Man From Snowy River?

So, why did you begin writing?

I simply wanted to see if I could—you know, actually put together 80,000 words and have them make sense and be interesting to read. I had wanted to write a book since I was 15 years old. Over the years I had started and abandoned two different novels. With my 39th birthday looming on the horizon, I figured I’d better get going on writing that novel if I wanted any hope of making it a reality.  

Published novel…CHECK! That has to feel great. On that note, what do you find most rewarding about writing?

The most rewarding thing is the feeling of excitement and exhilaration I get from knowing I created something. The year I spent writing The Keeper’s Saga was the happiest year of my life. My favorite step in the writing process is completing a novel and then reading it through from start to finish for the first time. 

A saga! Pretty please, tell us more.

I’m working on The Keeper’s Quest, an exciting sequel to The Keeper’s Calling. The expected release date is early November.

Hooray! I can’t wait. Kelly, how did you come up with the title?

I went through three titles before settling on The Keeper’s Calling. I had been coached by my writing mentor in the ACM Christian Novel writing contest to choose a title that hinted at the deeper meaning in the book. My main character faces the decision to either accept or reject the calling as a Keeper.

Tell us about your all-time favorite character (of your own creation).

This is a tough one, but if I had to pick a favorite it would be Garrick. He is a supporting character in The Keeper’s Saga. Garrick is confident, never backs down from a fight, super studly, and has a touch of a wild streak. In fact, I might write a book about him someday.

Studly indeed! Anyone who hasn’t read The Keeper’s Calling yet will know what we’re talking about when they do. And I, for one, would love to see that novel about Garrick.

Is anything in your book based on real life experience or purely all imagination?

There are several real-life threads running through the pages of The Keeper’s Calling.  I used my own home and location as the building blocks for my setting. My son and daughter attend Hillsboro High School, the same as Chase Harper in my novel. And when my editor requested I change the name of Chase’s twin sister to something more common of a 17 year old girl, I used my daughter Jessica’s name. Also, part of the lecture Chase Harper refers to in the first chapter of my book is the same one I’ve heard my husband give to my kids.

What is your favorite chapter or scene and why?

I love the scene in which Chase and Ellie first talk to each other. He is a modern teenager and she is from the 1860s, and yet, at the time they meet, neither one of them has figured this out. I love it that he thinks she is a bit crazy, while at the same time admiring her.

She never once turned around. Never said a thing. I grew tired of hiking after her with no plan. “Where are we going?” I finally asked.
She pointed up the canyon, and in a businesslike tone said, “I’m not sure where you’re headed, but I’m going this way.” Then continued hiking.
Pretty, but rude. I shook my head and moved forward, keeping myself one step behind her. “Why are you going this way? There’s nothing up ahead but a bunch of rocks and sagebrush. I spent all day coming down the canyon.” She kept walking and didn’t answer me. Frustrated and tired, I grabbed her arm. “Hey, we need to talk—“
Wheeling around, she slapped me across the face. My jaw went slack, and I loosened my hold. She yanked her arm out of my hand and pulled a pistol from her skirt pocket. I stared open-mouthed down the barrel aimed at my chest. She took a step back. “Mister, I reckon I owe you a debt of gratitude for helping me back there. But there’s something important I need to do, and I’ll thank you to let me be about my business alone. I do appreciate your kindness, but if you don’t mind, pull foot and find your own trail. I don’t care where you go, but don’t follow me. Or—or I’ll have to shoot you.”

Ooo, thank you for the sneak peek! And thank you, Kelly, for “stopping by.” For more about Kelly and her upcoming books, visit her website


  1. Fun interview. Love the book cover. This is on my to read list.

  2. Thank you for the fun interview. It isn't everyday you get to blog hop to your little sister's blog. :) I love your website!

  3. Loved this interview. Will definitely put this book on my to read list.

  4. Ooo, very nice tidbit! I am partial to a fiesty heroine, especially if she's from the 1860s!