Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Walnut Springs Press Month: Spotlight and Interview with Kelly Nelson

Spotlight on
Author Kelly Nelson

Kelly Nelson was raised in Orem, Utah, and now resides in Cornelius, Oregon, in the heart of the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She enjoys life on a ten-acre horse property with her husband, four children, and, of course, lots of horses. Kelly has a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University. She worked as a certified public accountant for several years before opting to stay home and raise a family. As a young girl, she was an avid reader and had a passion for creative writing. Her travels to England, France, Egypt, Israel, West Indies, Mexico, and across the United States sparked a love of history, adventure, and exotic places. This led to the inspiration behind her debut novel, The Keeper’s Calling, the first book in The Keeper’s Saga.

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Book Bug: Welcome to The Book Bug, Kelly!

When and why did you begin writing?

Kelly: I started my first book when I was 15 and another one in my twenties, but it wasn’t until my fortieth birthday loomed on the horizon that I decided to get serious about it. I started out wanting to see if I could even do it—write 80,000 words and have it make sense and be a story that someone would want to read. After I read my first draft of The Keeper’s Calling I thought, “Wow, this is actually really good. I should try to get it published.”

Book Bug: What book(s)/author(s) have influenced your life and writing?

Kelly: In my early teen years I read a lot, but life got busy and I fell away from it for awhile. Gerald Lund’s The Work and The Glory series rekindled my love of reading and brought history alive for me. His books are among some of my all-time favorites.

Book Bug: That series are my all-time favorite books! I love Gerald Lund!

What is your favorite genre to read/write?

Kelly: My favorite genre to read is inspirational romance followed closely by historical fiction. When I was 17 I looked in the mirror and thought, “I could be 17 forever and perfectly happy.” Those late teen years were some of my favorite. Hence, I blended teen romance with historical fiction in my debut, time-travel novel.

Book Bug: Everything is better with a little bit of romance :)

What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine?

Kelly: I daydream, plot, and plan what my characters will do next while I’m cleaning stalls for my horse boarding business, running my kids to their activities, and lying in bed trying to fall asleep at night. Then, I prop up the pillows on my sleigh bed and settle in with my laptop. If I’m feeling inspired, writing a book is just like reading a good novel—I can’t put it down.

Book Bug: Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

Kelly: Writer’s block usually feels like a jigsaw puzzle to me. When I get stumped I spend every possible second thinking about and deciding where I am and where I want to be. Once I have that figured out, I decide what series of events will get me (I mean my characters) there.

Book Bug: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Kelly: The grammar. After I got a comment—“the grammar mistakes do get distracting”— from a contest judge on one of the early drafts of my first book, I bought a Language Arts textbook and spent hours studying up on the nuances of the English language. I hate to admit it, but yes, it had been awhile since I took English.

Book Bug: What do you think are the most important elements of good writing?

Kelly: First, I don’t want my writing to interfere with the storytelling or to detract from the emotion of the book. I think my writing should allow the reader to see the story in their mind as if they were watching a movie. Ideally, they shouldn’t have to pause to figure out what I’m saying.

Second, good pacing is essential to keeping readers engaged. I try to avoid ‘wordy’ sentences and excessive adjectives. If I can say it with less words, I do. That way my readers get to the action quicker.

Third, not telling the reader everything. Allow them the opportunity to discover what is happening through showing them the character’s actions. If you’ve been around writing for any length of time you’ve heard this before, but I believe it is so important: Show don’t tell what your characters are doing and thinking.

Book Bug: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Kelly: I enjoy spending time with my family since my kids always keep me laughing. I love riding my two horses: Texas & Fancy. I’ve had Texas since she was born. She is now 24 years old. Fancy is a young paint horse that I recently trained. Also, I can’t forget to mention how much I love to curl up with a good book.

Book Bug: What book are you reading now?

Kelly: The Keeper’s Quest—the sequel to my novel. I’ve been reading this for awhile now. When I’m done with my final editing I can splurge on a book for fun, but I’m not sure which one that will be yet.

Book Bug: What are your current/future projects?

Kelly: I will finish up my trilogy for The Keeper’s Saga and then I’d like to finish a companion book to this series currently titled The Keeper’s Brother. I also have an LDS contemporary romance novel set in the Pacific Northwest titled The Farmer’s Deception.

Book Bug: Ooooo . . . Sounds intriguing! Can't wait!

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Kelly: Read and keep writing. I know of so many authors who wrote multiple books before having one accepted for publication. Learn something from each rejection and invest in a creative writing course. For me it paid huge dividends. If writing is important to you, never give up. At one point I asked myself, “Is it time to throw in the towel? At what point do I say, okay, good try but I guess it didn’t pan out.” Then the thought came to me that I haven’t failed until I quit trying. That day I decided I’d keep going until I had queried every publisher I could find.

Book Bug: Thanks so much for the advice and for being on The Book Bug today!

About the Book

Title: The Keeper's Calling
Author: Kelly Nelson
Release Date: February 2012
Publisher: Walnut Springs Press (Facebook | Twitter)
Genre: YA Fantasy
Series: Book #1 in The Keeper's Saga
Chase Harper's to-do list for senior year never included "fall in love" and "fight for your life," but things rarely go as planned. Tarnished gold and resembling a pocket watch, the counter he finds in a cave during the summer of 2011 will forever change the course of his life, leading him to the beautiful Ellie Williams and unlocking a power beyond his wildest imagination. In 1863, Ellie Williams completes school in Boston and returns to the Utah Territory only to discover that her grandfather and his counter, a treasured family heirloom, are missing. When Ellie is abducted and told she must produce the counter or die, an unexpected rescuer comes to her aid.
Purchase the Book


  1. Kelly,
    I loved reading how you started your writing career. I don't know where you found time to read a textbook with all that you do, but it paid off! I LOVE your book and can't wait for the sequel!
    Michelle King

  2. Great interview! I can't wait for The Keeper's Quest! :)

  3. I really enjoyed your interview. I can't wait for The Keeper's Quest! My 8 year old granddaughter wants me to read it to her! We really enjoyed reading The Keeper's Calling together.

  4. I have never read this series and just heard of this author! So excited for a new book to read!! :D