Fiction Fest: Q&A with award-winning novelist Carla Kelly

carla-kellyYou might know her for her romance novels. Then again, you might know her for her journalistic writing or award-winning historical fiction. Whatever you know Carla Kelly for, today’s Fiction Fest Q&A edition should make for interesting reading.

Kelly’s latest Cedar Fort novel, “Miss Grimsley’s Oxford Career,” was released in May of this year and is currently available in bookstores and on,, and

Look for her new Cedar Fort novel, “Safe Passage,” in August.

We’re glad to have had Kelly take the time to answer a few questions in our Fiction Fest hot seat.

Do you have a favorite of the many books you’ve written?

Hard to pick one. I’m partial to “Here’s to the Ladies:Stories of the Frontier Army,” and “My Loving Vigil Keeping.” “The Double Cross,” coming out soon, was enormous fun to write.

What’s the most difficult aspect of writing for you?

Lately, it’s trying to keep three publishers happy, which is a nice problem to have, I suppose.Miss Grimsley 2x3

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in publishing since you first broke into the industry?

Without question, it’s the e-book revolution. For those of us with large backlists, it’s a pleasant and unexpected opportunity to earn more money on what I call “moldy-oldies.”

What about your writing routine would surprise us?

Probably how humdrum it is. I have a boring old schedule and I stick to it. The view above my computer is a wonderful photo of a 1948 trail drive in Sunlight Basin, near Cody, Wyoming, where my Dad was raised. I look at it often when I write. I outline extensively, and sometimes surprise myself by sticking to it.

Which genre would you most like to give a shot that you haven’t yet?

I’m pretty much writing what I want. “The Double Cross,” coming out in August for Camel Press, is a mild crime fiction set in 1780s New Mexico. I’m writing Westerns as well as Regencies. Life is good, if busy.

What’s your current work in progress?

I just (30 seconds ago) sent off a Regency to London and my Harlequin/Mills & Boon publisher. Next up is installment two of “The Double Cross” (see above). After that’s done in December or so, I’ll start another book for Cedar Fort. I’m going to try to stick to two books a year; that’s enough.

As a whole, what do the novels of today lack most?

Hmm. Hard to say. Lately, most of my reading has been for research, so I read history. I love crime fiction, but that’s about the extent of my novel reading, except for the amazing Richard Woodman, a recent discovery in the where-has-this-writer-been-all-my-life category. In the crime fiction genre, as long as Ruth Downie, Robert Crais and Philip Kerr keep writing, I am a happy lady.

What’s the last movie you saw and did you enjoy it?

Last movie I saw the the new Star Trek. I really enjoyed it. Don’t quite get the 3-D need, though. Most films stand well on their own without it, or at least, the movies I like.

Is there a TV show that’s “must-see” viewing for you?

I don’t watch television, except for “Downton Abbey.”

What’s the most joy writing has given you?

After the fact, it’s probably getting feedback from readers. The feedback from “My Loving Vigil Keeping” has been nothing short of amazing. I’ve spoken at beaucoup book clubs, historical societies, and even led groups through the cemetery in Scofield.

Probably an even greater joy is the privilege of spinning a yarn that people like to read. Yes, that’s my reward.