- Writer, librarian, teacher. Living her best “bookish” life.
Readers, let’s give a good, hearty welcome to this week’s guest!
Kelly Ann Hopkins fell in love with mysteries as a teen and still can’t resist a good “whodunnit”. She spends her days as a high school librarian and creative writing teacher where she challenges her students to read with abandon.
The author of Gulf of Deception (Gulf Shores Mysteries), High Vices (July 2021), and Buried Beneath (August 2021), when Kelly isn’t creating perilous adventures for her characters, she is dreaming of her next trip to the Florida Gulf Coast.
Kelly lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two children, and too many books.
Kelly, thanks for agreeing to be here today. For transparency-sake, I have to admit that she was a mentor of mine and a delight to work with. While most interviews start off with bios and such, and while I’ll get to that as always, let’s start with the important stuff!
If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?
I’ve always been fascinated by dolphin, but we don’t see many of them in Pennsylvania! One of my favorite activities on the Gulf Coast is to go on dolphin sight-seeing tours. There’s nothing like watching them dance along the water at sunset. I have a favorite restaurant in Punta Gorda which is right on the water. We often see dolphins when dine there. It’s so cool.
Oh, wow! What a great choice. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dolphin in the wild, just in sea parks.
What do you write? And how did you get started?
I write young adult mysteries, thrillers, and contemporaries, but my love is mystery and thriller. I started writing in high school, but I didn’t get serious about it until a few years ago as I was graduating from college. Since I decided I was going to try to publish in 2012, I’ve written six books, three of which will be published this summer.
The novels have been revised many times while I learned about the publishing business, and I was fortunate to place three of my books with publishers in 2020, in the middle of a pandemic no less. I would have never thought that possible.
What a great set of genres. I’m amazing and pleased that the pandemic has treated you writing so well!
What do you like to read?
I’m a fan of mystery, both adult and YA. I’m a big Megan Miranda fan. In the past I started reading mystery author Mary Higgins Clark as a teen, and I even met her once. I was very sad to see her pass.
And—I have to confess—I love vampire and paranormal fiction. From the paranormal romances I read in college to Deborah Harkness, they are my escape. Karen Marie Moning is one of my go to authors. Love the Fever Series.
While I occasionally wander across some mystery novels, I must confess a shared soft spot for paranormal romances. *takes notes of these names*.
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.
Write what you know.
I disagree, maybe because I love to research. I write about places I haven’t lived, but I make sure I travel there or do my homework. I think if you write within the sphere in which you travel, it could be tedious. Learning about new places,
occupations, and people is half the fun of writing.
Definitely! Plus, as a fan of fantasy and science fiction myself, there’s only so much you can know — at least, in this reality.
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can pry out of your cold, dead hands.
Kill your darlings.
I’ve had to delete pieces I loved, kill off characters, and edit out some of my favorite words. But…I always keep a file called “cuts.” That way those words, characters, and scenes I loved have a chance to find a new home in a future book.
A good way to handle it. I’ve definitely cut stuff, but found new homes for the lines later.
Shameless Self-Promotion time!
On the cusp of her high school graduation, Lily Harmony needs to figure out how to break it to her lawyer parents that she doesn’t want to follow in the family footsteps—especially with her band in high demand on the Fort Myers beach scene.
When her father is killed inside his office and their mother accused of his murder, Lily and her estranged sister Annabelle are convinced the police have the wrong person. Clues are hard to come by until a mysterious man hands Lily a flash drive and warns her the information contained on it might get her killed. As Lily works to unravel what the files and pictures mean, a stunning discovery reveals the murderer might be closer than she thought.
With the help of her gamer BFF and a drone named Felix, Lily and her sister scour the Everglades for connections to their father’s killer. But what they find hidden in the canopy of cypress tress is more dangerous than she ever imagined—a long-lost secret worth millions—and worth killing for.
Coming in July: High Vices (Champagne Book Group)
Antoinette Lombardi didn’t ask to be the illegitimate daughter of one of the most feared cartel kingpins in the world, and she sure didn’t ask to be recruited to take her father down. But when the cartel finds Antoinette and her mother hiding in witness protection, her mother agrees to become the government’s bait to protect her daughter, leaving Antoinette in the care of agents who despise her family line.
Given a new identity at a super-secret boarding school run by former DEA agent, Antoinette is introduced to the other teens in a diverse posse, all of whom have lost parts of their lives to the murderous cartel. Together, this cast of criminal teens will train to infiltrate the cartel’s ranks at its most vulnerable levels and secure the revenge they seek—if they don’t kill each other first.
Coming on August 3rd : Buried Beneath
On the outside, Shelly Frank lives a normal teenage life, balancing her gas station job and a budding new relationship with a boy from school. But on the inside, she’s harboring a dark secret: her mother is an extreme hoarder. Within the pristine, outer walls of their beautiful New Jersey home, Shelly and her mother are living amidst piles of collected trash from her mother’s disorder, and Shelly is at her breaking point.
By some miracle, Shelly is offered a chance to escape when she receives a plane ticket to Florida from her estranged father, but she’s met with a decision: should she flee this life of filth and seize the opportunity of a future in the Sunshine State? Or should she risk her own health and sanity by staying with her mother who is helpless without her?
When Shelly becomes gravely sick from years of living in her mother’s nest, her decision is staring her in the face. She needs to save herself, but her mother is willing to do everything in her power to prevent that from happening.
This powerful YA novel exposes the gruesome realities of mental disorders and the emotional toils that many face when they are consumed by their illness. However, it also highlights the beauty of forgiveness, self-love, healing, and the necessary steps Shelly and her mother must take on the road to recovery.
Check Kelly Ann Hopkins out across the web!