Writer’s Desk with Elly Gilbert
Elly Gilbert lives in central Kentucky with her husband, daughter, and twin sons. Being a lifelong bookworm, she finds immense joy in reading and writing inspirational fiction and devotions for adults and teens. Whenever she’s not at her desk, you’ll likely find her searching for the nearest nacho joint with her family or cozying up with her rescue dogs, Gus and Charli. She absolutely adore her pearls, never says no to dessert, and firmly believes that when it comes to earrings, bigger is always better.
More about Under the Blue Skies
A matchmaker for an instant father. Secrets. And friends who just might find a happy ending if his past doesn’t destroy everything.
He just wants a fresh start…
Thomas Smucker moved to West Kootenai to escape his past. But when tragedy happens, he suddenly inherits a five-year-old niece…now what?
She’s always wanted a family…
Scarred by a childhood accident, Lovina Graber believes she’ll be single forever, despite her deep longing for a husband and family. And then she meets Thomas, an instant father, who needs a wife.
Lovina to the rescue…she’ll find him the perfect Amish woman. Even if she has to ignore the spark between them…
But her secrets could cost him everything
Thomas wants a wife…but he can’t ignore his feelings for Lovina. But when her secret comes out, he’ll have to choose between his niece and the woman he suddenly can’t live without.
Instant father. Matchmaker. A found family…and unexpected love. But will her secrets—and his past—destroy everything?
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Q&A with Elly Gilbert
TG: Everyone always asks for an interesting fact, we’re going to flip the question. What is one boring fact about yourself?
EG: Gee. I’m pretty boring in general so picking just one boring fact is hard. Here’s my attempt: I live in the fourth smallest capital city in the country- Frankfort, KY. (That’s actually not too boring- Frankfort is a fun little town with a lot going on!)
TG: Where did you get the inspiration for Under the Blue Skies?
EG: Initially, when I pitched the premise to Sunrise for my audition, I just knew I wanted to write an “instant family” story, but I wanted some twists, so I thought about what kind of wounds would make the characters more interesting. I knew I wanted to write a female main character who had some kind of physical challenge because that’s a very real thing that many women deal with and it really impacts how they view themselves as wives and moms. From there, the characters grew under Tricia and Susan May Warren’s brainstorming guidance.
TG: Do you have any habits or rituals as a writer?
EG: Not really- but I do have a very supportive writing community that kicks me into gear when needed! Starting the day “sprinting” with other writers for 30 minutes sets the tone for a super productive day.
TG: What habits would you encourage others to take up to be a more productive writer?
EG: Find a community! Find others who understand what you are experiencing and can commiserate or talk you off the ledge. Write in small time chunks. You can do anything for 30 minutes.
TG: What do you snack on or drink while writing?
EG: I drink water all day long and not much else besides my morning coffee. Gummy candies are my favorite treat—especially gummy peach rings!
TG: How do you overcome writer’s block?
EG: Again, setting a timer and “sprinting” is hugely helpful to me- and having others to write alongside keeps me accountable. If I set a 30 minute sprint and only write 50 words, it’s clear I’ve not been focused.
TG: Are you an “edit-as-you-go” writer or do you wait until the very end before you do any editing?
EG: Small things I try to fix as I go, but I find that I can’t polish a scene before moving on to the next or I never move on. There’s always more work to be done.
TG: What would you say is the most common mistake new writers make?
EG: Thinking that experienced writers don’t struggle. That was huge for me—to realize that you didn’t just wake up and pop out a novel like a chicken lays an egg! You wrestled and questioned and revised. Getting that first editorial letter was tough but knowing that you get them, too, and they hit you just as hard was helpful in learning to de-personalize the critique.
TG: What is the best piece of writing advice you’re ever received?
EG: I think you might have said to me a few hundred times, “Don’t delete that!” when I was ready to hit Ctrl+A and delete it all! Walk away from it and come back with fresh eyes.
TG: What is coming up next for you?
EG: A second Sunrise book is coming in 2025 featuring Lovina’s sister Josie—that’s been drafted and is in the revision process. I’m also working on some ideas for Southern small-town contemporary romances. I’m going to my first ACFW conference in a couple of weeks, so I’m hoping to generate some interest in that idea!
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