ABOUT AUTHOR: Kellie Coates Gilbert is a former legal investigator and trial paralegal who writes with a sympathetic, intimate knowledge of how people react under pressure. Kellie's books tell emotionally poignant stories about women in life-changing circumstances. She writes about messy lives . . . and eternal hope. 

Kellie currently makes her home in Dallas, Texas with her husband and a very spoiled 2.7 lb. Yorkie named Emmie Sweetpea. 
Visit her online at  

How did you come up with the idea for A Woman of Fortune?

In late 2008, many of us watched as master financier Bernie Madoff’s story unfolded. I couldn’t seem to pull my eyes from the television as the man accused of swindling thousands of innocent victims—including family and friends—out of billions of dollars in the world’s largest Ponzi scheme, was taken from his posh Manhattan apartment in handcuffs and his family became vilified in the media. The events held particular interest for me. In my former role as a legal professional, I helped unravel, what was then, the largest cattle fraud in the United States. I interviewed dozens who were caught in the betrayal and who found themselves and their businesses floundering as a result. These stories fascinate me on many levels, but in particular, I’m intrigued with the families behind the scenes. What is it like for a wife to learn her husband is a criminal? What happens to children when they face that kind of shame? We know, at least in part, what transpired in the Madoff family in the aftermath—fractured relationships, family devastation and suicide. As a novelist, I yearned to explore what might happen if the converse were true. What would the story look like if a strong woman protagonist bucked the odds and used her faith to land on solid ground?

Perhaps I was so intrigued because I spent a lot of time in courtrooms working on high profile cases. People are often at their most vulnerable in these tense situations where much is at stake, and I gained a unique perspective on the human psyche.  Early in my writing career, I recognized there could be value in telling stories about women facing relationship fractures, betrayal, and loss and what it looks like to exhibit strength and dignity in these journeys.

This story is particularly seeped with my legal background. As a legal investigator, I helped unravel the largest cattle fraud in the nation. I spent weeks in the Midwest interviewing and collecting records from farmers and ranchers who had invested with United Producers, a large cattle brokerage outfit. Ultimately, the owner George Young and his office assistant, Kathleen McConnell were imprisoned for many of the things you’ll see showcased in A Woman of Fortune. Last I checked, Mr. Young died in prison and Ms. McConnell was released after serving her sentence.

Nora: This situation grabbed my heart and and attention. I couldn't put this book down. I felt like I was part of this family dealing with the craziness of the situation. I liked how you showed each family member and their reaction to what happened to their father. No everyone handled it the same. Could Claire keep this family together? Would they give the situation to God. Hard times! Thanks for telling us what happened to the man you based the story on. I wondered about that.

From an author’s POV and in developing Claire I ask “Claire enjoys a fabulous life until her husband betrays her and his actions put everything she holds dear at risk.” Why do you think she didn’t see it coming?
Carla Steward, Lisa Wingate, Kellie Coates Gilbert and a friend
Isn’t it interesting how often we’ll see something, hear something, wonder about something—our “insides” send off a warning signal as bright as a yellow caution light on the highway. But, we talk ourselves out of our concern.

Denial can be a powerful tool we try and use to protect our emotions.

Poor Claire, in the early part of the story she maneuvered feeling loyal –scared – angry—protective—confused—depressed—all at the same time.

Those emotions all seem to contradict, but isn’t it true that as women, parts of our character are in conflict? We’re good and bad, smart and silly, brave and frightened . . . sometimes all at the same moment.

Nora: I was fascinated by how you developed all this in Claire and her family.

In A Woman of Fortune, Claire Massey experiences a life event in which her security shifts beneath her feet. Have you ever felt a similar blow? Describe how you made it through.

Claire became so real to me as I journeyed through the creation of this novel. More of my own “stuff” landed on the page than I’d intended, frankly.

My own sensibilities were tested years back when I stood with my little boy in a deli shop waiting for our sandwiches. The room darkened, my vision blurred and I felt . . . well, just icky. Suddenly, I lost the ability to talk and got horribly confused. I was aware of what was happening around me, but the best way I can describe the situation is that I felt “outside myself” watching.

I had a stroke that day, the result of a fairly severe brain bleed. The following months were spent in the hospital with three separate surgeries to correct a tangle of blood vessels that threatened to take my life, or worse, make me a vegetable.

In what felt like an instant, my life was altered. I couldn’t mother my boys, I couldn’t be a friend, I couldn’t work. My head was bald and filled with huge metal staples. Nothing was the same. In the end, I learned a very valuable lesson—God is good, and HE measures my days, not me.

PS – I am fine today, except for a few scar areas and a very bumpy head!

Nora: Oh, wow. How scary. I'm so glad the Lord got you through and you were able to used some of that situation in your book. It was very gripping.

What do you hope readers take away from A Woman of Fortune?

Well, first – I just hope readers enjoy the story. Early readers are telling us the book reminds them of watching a PARENTHOOD or GOOD WIFE episode on television.  As an author, I’m known for creating an emotionally poignant story, with twists the readers never saw coming. This email reflects what I commonly hear from my readers:

“Hi Kellie . . . I just wanted to say your book was touching, gut wrenching and truly amazing at the same time and made me cry a lot. This book made me feel like I knew this family just by reading your book. You’re an amazing writer! It's very hard for me to find the "Right" book to where once I start to read I can't put it down. I finished it and just wanted to let you know I can't wait to read the next one!”
(Readers, you have no idea what your emails and reviews mean to an author!  Thank you for taking the time to give feedback when you read a novel.)

Ultimately though, I’d love women to come away from this novel with a re-calibrated understanding of where (and in Whom) our security rests.

Nora: I did walk way with this and so much more. Grin!

What was your favorite scene in A Woman of Fortune? Which was the most fun to write? Which was the hardest? Why?

Nora, this question made me pause and really think. Amazingly, I came to realize that the answer to each of these questions is summed up in one scene . . . the final.  I treasure any story that ends in victory, and most especially when the journey before has been rough. I didn’t know how I was going to end this story, but the last line just flowed from my fingers:  “Claire Massey was still a woman of great fortune.”

Strangely the same final scene was my favorite, but also the hardest. I’d spent months with Claire and with her adult children, Garrett, Max and Lainie. I’d felt their emotions, their pain, and their triumph and I just hated to say goodbye.

Nora: I didn't spend months with them but I hated for it to end. I wondered how you were going to end this. I was satisfied and had learned much along the way. Great read!


What movie affected you most when you were young? If you didn’t watch movies what books affected you most? 

The Disney movie BAMBI affected me as a child. My mind was mesmerized by the fact that life could change on a dime, that you could lose a loved one due to someone else’s careless act, and that there was the Prince who would come alongside and protect, guide and fill in the gap. Such a metaphor for Jesus, huh?

Nora: I remember being affected by this movie as well. I felt horrible that Bambi's mother died and he was left all alone.

You are shipwrecked on an uninhabited tropical island with a group of Christians – all friends and relatives of yours. You all have to work as a team to survive. Many roles have to be filled. Which role do you think you’d play? 

Ha – no question. I’d be the PLANNER, the one who took the chaos and made order and created a course of action to follow.

Nora: I'd be the worker bee. 

A friend of yours has a time machine and they will let you use if for a while. Where would you go and what would you do?

I’d turn the clock back to 1970. I’d be sitting around the table in our ranch house near Sun Valley, Idaho . . . with my family gathered to eat dinner. I’d treasure talking with my dad about when the haying crew was due to arrive and how sheep prices were especially good this year. I’d watch him tell my mother the lamb chops were done just right (smell the garlic?) and see her grin. I’d argue with my little sister over who got the “shiny spoon.” And, in the background I’d hear GUNSMOKE on the television in the living room.

Ah, good memories . . . ones that, at the time, I didn't know would be so fleeting.

Nora : Grin!

What two jobs have you had that would surprise people?

As a teen, I worked at the Sun Valley Lodge and made Ted Kennedy’s bed and picked up his towels off the floor. Oh, and I cleaned a lot of lambing sheds.

Nora: Wow!

Out of all the sounds in the world, which are your favorites?

The sound of my little three and a half year old grandson when I open the door, “Hi Dammy!”

My husband shutting off the bedside lamp before we turn over to sleep. “Love you, Kel.”

My writing partner’s voice on the telephone each morning. “You’ll never believe what I just wrote.”

And the ocean . . . I love the sound of waves.

Nora: Fun!


I am one of you . . . an avid reader who loves good books.

I barely remember a time when I didn’t have a book in my hand. My tiny hometown of Carey, Idaho had no library, no bookstore. The bi-weekly bookmobile provided the only avenue to books . . . that, and my Gram, who spent a lot of her Social Security checks on books for her granddaughter with an insatiable appetite for stories.

I grew up on a sheep ranch in southern Idaho, a business my family had been in for generations, never dreaming I’d ever see my own name on a novel. I left home to attend Boise State University and spent most of my adult years pursuing a sensible legal career, raising two boys, and learning to be happily married.
But God heard the quiet prayers of a woman who dared to dream big and ask her Lord for the outrageous. In early 2011, I signed my first book contract. Today, I am living my fantasy. I live in Dallas with my husband. I work from home, writing novels.

Thank you for buying and reading my books. Life simply couldn't get much better.

Nora: I loved your book and how it made me think about things I normally don't give a second thought to. I'm thrilled that the Lord has put where you are for a time such as this. I look forward to reading more of your books and to see what adventures you take us next.

Thanks for stopping by and helping us get to know you and your books. I’m thrilled about the Giveaway Opportunity at TBCN going on right now until the end of the month at . 

Looking forward to it to reading the participation between you and readers! It’s always so much fun! Everyone has to be a member of TBCN in order to participate. It’s Free and easy. Participate as your schedule allows. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!


  1. One comment for Nora and one for Kellie. Nora, so glad to see you offering some of the same titles offered in the chat. I know there were several more people who wanted some of these popular books than there were books offered. Hurrah for a second chance!!
    Kellie, I can't believe what you've been through, but thanks for sharing both your work and your personal life with us, as well as your writing talents! Can't wait to read your book!!

  2. What an interesting idea for a book! I'd love to win a copy. Thank you for the opportunity.

  3. A Woman of Fortune looks very good, exciting, and based on true events in the cattle trading market. Love to win and read it. wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

  4. Out of all the sounds in the world, which are your favorites?

    My niece laughing

    The waves hitting the shore

    Rain hitting the roof

    I love when a group of people are singing to God that it gives me goosebumps.


    1. HI EVERYONE THANKS for reading about Kellie's new book. It was a gripping read and thought provoking on so many levels.

      REMINDER To ENTER the drawing everyone needs to JOIN THE BOOK CLUB NETWORK ANSWER one of the questions listed to be entered. It's FREE and EASY!!

      We have So many giveaways and Review groups you can join. Learn about Book Clubs and so much more!

      CHECK IT OUT! The authors are joining the discussion as their schedule allows!

      SEE YOU THERE at TBCN For lots of BOOK FUN!!

      Nora :o)
      TBCN Where Book Fun Begins

  5. Kellie,
    Thanks for doing the interview with Nora. That was fascinating to hear of what you have been through and then that you published your first book so recently! It sounds wonderful!!

    1. It is a book I couldn't put down and one I won't easily forget! It's worth your time for sure Kris!