My Books!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Welcome Mary Jean Kelso

Back in 2007 a small press called Wings Press published my novel The Welcome Inn. I had a great experience with them. Their editors were courteous and treated me as a professional which isn’t always the case. Their authors are friendly and helpful too. Wings puts out its work in both print and ebook form, and they take a good many different genres. If you’re an author and would like to submit to them or a reader who’d like to check them out their address is

During the month of October I’ll be featuring several Wings authors here at the blog. If you leave a comment for one of my guest authors you’ll automatically be entered in a drawing for an electronic copy of my Wings release The Welcome Inn.

We’ll begin to today with an interview with Mary Jean Kelso. Mary Jean, thanks for coming to the blog.

1.I’m always curious about where authors get their ideas. What about you? Do you ever write about real people and events?

A. I suppose, in a way, I do. I have a lot of historic events in my family history and found myself automatically writing about the early west. Upon further research I found the characters oftentimes might be a spin-off from some of these genealogical happenings. However, they in no way reflect the actions of family members. At least, not in the past. Now that I have done more research and found out interesting tidbits, I’m sure some of those will pop up in future stories.

2.When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? How long did it take you to get published?

A. I have written ever since I could put my fingers on Qwerty keys. I finally recognized it as a possible career in 1963. Although I had items published in local newspapers, it took until 1984 to finally see my first novel published. Goodbye Is Forever first came out through Great Basin Press, Reno, NV, as Mystery in Virginia City. It is in it’s 3rd printing through

3.What’s your favorite of the books you’ve written? Can you tell us why?

A. That is so hard. Ask any writer that question and it is like asking them to choose one of their children as their favorite. Each book has it’s own characteristics. I would probably have to say the first book because it is still in print and launched my writing career.

4.How long does it take you to write a book? Do you plot the book in advance or make it up as you go along?

A. Completing a manuscript can take me from 3 months to a year. It all depends on how much other work is going on. Since the Children’s Picture Books started coming out, I find a lot of my time tied up with those—proofing galleys, approving art work, etc.

Plotting, for me, leads to writer’s block. My stories are mostly character driven. That’s the fun for me. It is like the experience the reader gets when the story is fresh and there are twists and turns and excitement. That is when writing is FUN. The rest—making sure everything fits, all the questions are answered, the character doesn’t have blue eyes in Chapter 2 and brown in Chapter 10, etc.,-- is plain hard work.

5.What do you think is the easiest part of writing? The hardest?

A. See above.

6.Do you belong to a critique group?

A. No. I don’t have time to be a “joiner.” In the past, I did belong to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, The National League of American Pen Women
and other groups.

7.How much of yourself is in your books?

A. Not much except for one. It has a lot of autobiographical details in it. And, no, I’m not going to say which one. Only my closest friends know.

8.Can you tell us about when you received ‘the call’?

A. When I met a woman who had 8 kids while I had 3. Some of her first words to me were, “I am a writer.” I thought about it and decided if she could write with that many kids, surely I could do it with five less. My first book was dedicated to her.

9.Do you have any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?

A. Never give up! There are many people out there that could have seen success if they had just kept trudging along. I have had many distractions, disasters and difficulties in my life. Still, I am finally feeling like a success. You have to keep writing through all these tribulations if you are going to reach your goal. Sometimes, you will find, the writing is therapeutic. It’s what gets you through the tough times.

10.Please share your links with us so we can find you on the web.

To search for me use “Mary Jean Kelso”

Six years of newspaper articles are up on

I won a 1st Place for Best Spot News – 2008 from The Nevada Press Association
and a 3rd Place for “Fernley Floods” from The National News Association
and recently was invited and joined Made in Nevada.

Here's a little excerpt to whet your appetite for more of Mary Jean's work. After reading it, I'd sure buy her book!

Charlie studied the baby. “Why’s his eyes so slanted? And why’s his skin so light? You and me’s more deep brown. How come he’s so much lighter, Effie Mae? You tol’ me I was the first.”
“You was, Charlie.” she lowered her eyes.
“We was married. What’d you do, Effie Mae?”

Thanks for coming today, Mary Jean. It's been a pleasure.

1 comment:

Historical Writer/Editor said...

It's always interesting to read about other authors because we have so much in common at the same time as having many unique qualities and influences. Thanks for sharing a bit about your writing with us! I wish you well with your endeavors. -Laura H.