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Let Us Introduce You to...D.A. Kelly!

J. Kent Holloway

Managing Editor



First of all, I'd like to apologize for missing last week's blog post. It was due to technical difficulties. Then again, I'm late with this week's post by a day for the same reason. But I believe we have the kinks all worked out now, so I'm excited to share this week's author with you.


I've had D.A. Kelly on my To-Be-Read list ever since seeing the amazing cover for her first book in her Arabella Black Paranormal Cozy Mystery, Brooms Away.


I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but after interviewing Ms. Kelly for this post, I can tell you I've moved it up on the list and will be diving in very soon. I think many of you will be too.


So before we get to the heart of the interview, let me start by sharing Ms. Kelly's author bio with you as a means of introduction:


D. A. Kelly is a writer and delighter in all things magic. Her stories are relentless, spellbinding mysteries stuffed full of quirky characters, wicked humour and delicious murder. Imagine a mish-mash of Eureka’s wackiness, the wonder of Harry Potter and the small town mysteries of Murder She Wrote and you’ll get some idea of her stories. She is writing the first book in her Arabella Black cosy paranormal mystery series. It’s called Brooms Away. If you like magic with your murders then watch out for her upcoming novels.


D. A Kelly has written stories on and off for most of her life. If you ask anyone, they will say she spent more time not writing than plonking her bum in a chair and typing. Self-doubt and crippling fear chase every word she writes, so she plays it safe and hides from her characters, while looking busy. Lots of paper shuffling, research and mounds of notes are all a smoke screen. To anyone who pokes their nose around the door to see what she’s doing for so many hours, alone in her office, she looks prodigious.


So with introductions out of the way, let's dive right into our discussion with D.A. Kelly and learn everything we can about her books, her writing career, and a few things in between.

 

For those unfamiliar with you, tell us about your Arabella Black series of mysteries. Who is Arabella Black? What is the overall premise for the series?


Half banshee, half dryad, Arabella Black grew up on earth. She had no idea she was from another world, a world stuffed full of magic, dragons, goblins, fey folk and fantastical creatures so bizarre they hadn’t even been on her radar.


The series is loosely set around a mishmash of two premises: ‘a stranger in a strange land’ and ‘coming to grips with one’s true nature’.


Almost immediately after Arabella is magically transported back to her home planet, she’s arrested for the kidnapping and murder of her sister. After escaping, she sets about solving the mystery while navigating a world of magic. (Sounds awfully dry and boring when I distill the story down like that. Booo for distillation!


Here is the Blurb instead!


A quirky, otherworldly mystery.


Fun, wacky with snort-chuckle moments, Brooms Away will have you up way past your bedtime.


An enchanted world. A missing sister. And suspects with dangerous supernatural abilities around every corner.


When Arabella Black is swept away to a fantastic and faraway land by her cat, who she thought was an everyday Maine coon, she discovers everything she knew about her life was a lie. The biggest lie of all: she’s not human. Not even close. And to top that off, her sister is missing, her family home is threatened, and a mysterious shapeshifter is following her. So what’s a half-banshee, half-dryad to do but get her sleuth on.


Can Arabella harness her new powers to unlock her family heritage, help her sister, and save the family home in this place of secrets and sorcery?


If you like murder with a splash of magic, a dollop of wonder and a cast of quirky characters then you’ll love book one in D. A. Kelly’s new fantasy cozy mystery series.


Unlock the fun of Brooms Away today!


Book two of your series, Sequins of Events (great title, by the way!) just came out last week. Tell us a bit about this one. Can your books be read in any order or should readers start with book one, Brooms Away?


It’s best to read them in order because the backstory for all of the characters follows through the series.


In Sequins of Events, a grim reaper called Imalia Grimm wants Arabella to help her become a famous actor, even if that involves murder. Before Arabella can refuse, she’s dragged into a murder investigation where Death is the prime suspect. To make matters worse, Papa Death, Imalia Grimm’s father, threatens Arabella into proving his daughter is innocent even if she’s not.


Arabella stumbles deeper and deeper into a plan so perilous she doesn’t know who to trust.


Here is the Blurb:


Sequins of Events…Researching murder has never been so deadly.

A grim reaper on sabbatical. A double murder. And a deal with Death.


When Arabella Black is swept away to a fantastic and faraway land by her cat, she discovers everything she knew about her life was a lie. But sometimes a new life and a second chance are perfect for a fresh start.


Now the grand opening of Arabella Black's new magic shop is looming, and everything is going to plan? Until Death flounces in wanting a favor.


Death has a dream. She wants to be a world-famous actor. And she wants Arabella to help her. Before Arabella knows it, she's dragged into a double murder investigation with Imalia Grimm as the prime suspect. To make matters worse, one of the victims' bodies is missing, along with an heirloom that's the key to a dead king's treasure. With suspects on all sides, Arabella has her work cut out for her. If you like murder with a splash of magic, a dollop of wonder and a cast of quirky characters, then you'll love book two in D. A. Kelly's new fantasy cozy mystery series.


Unlock the fun of Sequins of Events today!


What do you think makes a DA Kelly book a DA Kelly book? What are common themes? Mood? Help our readers get a picture of what your books might be like in a few sentences.


I could ramble on for ages answering this question and I still wouldn’t answer it properly because it’s hard to quantify your own work. Maybe snippets from my readers’ reviews will nail it down for you.


Athena: I was immediately pulled in by the vivid and evocative imagery D.A. Kelly laid out, and utterly charmed by the wholly intriguing cast of characters. I reeeeeeally enjoyed this book and I cannot wait for the second in the series!!!


Trisha J. Kelly: This is a book like no other I've ever read. A mystery, a fantasy, set in a magical world that Arabella finds herself whisked away to after a visit from a ghostly presence warning her of her sister, Rebecca's impending doom. Her sibling is calling for help from a dark, frightening place…With so many twists and turns, danger and suspects, we never know where we are heading to next. Where do I begin? Clever clues are spread out through this mystery and I couldn't begin to describe the surroundings. Think Oz, think Potter, think Labyrinth, think Lion, Witch, Wardrobe, think Fantastic Beasts and anything breathtaking you've ever watched, or read, and you'll find it all here, then some. Great read and worth every one of the 5* and some.


Federica De Dominicis: A breath of fresh air! This is the first thing that I thought while diving in the story.


So, I guess, my books are fun, fresh and funny cosy magical mysteries with loads of adventure. :)


You have a few other books in your catalog that don’t appear to be mysteries. Tell us a bit about your other books.


I have two short stories about Sneath and Clutter, a couple of side characters in the Arabella Black Magical Mysteries. They are goblin brothers who are less than scrupulous and always out for themselves. A goblin has to look after himself, you know, especially when that involves gold and treasure.


One story is called Fire Rain, and the other is The Jig’s Backdoor

Because they are set in the same world as my Arabella books, they are just as quirky and fun. I have one reader who rereads them whenever she’s having a bad day because they cheer her up.


Then there’s my short story called Riding the Fire Horse.

That story reveals my other, darker side. (I am a Gemini, after all.)


I don’t suggest my cosy readers read this story. It’s quite violent and dark as it follows an imaginary version of Genghis Khan as he seeks to harness the powers of Halley’s Comet so he can rule the world.


Tell us a little about your journey as a mystery writer. Have you always wanted to write mysteries or is that something that sort of developed organically? What attracted you to mysteries to begin with?


I haven’t always loved mysteries, but I’ve always loved words, magic, fairies, dragons and anything otherworldly.


When I was about 8 years old, I read Enid Blyton’s magical books and was smitten. I devoured them. So much so, I wrote my own stories complete with illustrations. Of course, I never finished writing any them.


I wrote stories with my best friend in high school where we were fashion designers with sexy footballers as boyfriends. (Cringe!) I still have our hand-scrawled story tucked away somewhere.


At slumber parties I would tell all the girls stories where we’d meet and go out with our favourite pop-stars. Most of us loved the Bay City Rollers, so it became a little convoluted when two of the girls liked the same guy.


I stopped writing then until after the birth of my first son, then decided I would write a real book and get published. Talk about naive! I’ve since learned that at the beginning of your author career you think you are a wonderful writer because you don’t know what you don’t know. It’s only after you start reading craft books, doing writing courses, and having your work edited that you learn how crummy you truly are. Imagination is different though. For me, that was innate. (Thank goodness!)


It took until the early 2000’s before I finally completed a novel. It took me over ten years, and was almost 300,000 words. I was so proud. There is huge story about what happened after that, but I won’t go into it here. Needless to say, I was given a wonderful opportunity and sabotaged it.


It was in 2018 after writing another fantasy story, that a friend of mine, Dionne Lister, suggested I try writing a cosy paranormal mystery. I read a few and then started writing Brooms Away. And, of course, my take on the genre followed it’s own stubborn route, so much so it didn’t quite fit in your typical cosy mystery pigeon hole. It was more a cosy-fantasy-mystery-adventure.


I’ve since written book 2, Sequins of Events and the short stories mentioned above.


Speaking of mysteries, who are some of your favorite mystery authors? Favorite mystery books? How have these books help influence you in your own books?


I’ve been more influenced by fantasy writers, than mystery writers. Katherine Kerr, Kate Forsythe, Simon Greene, Stan Nicholls, Terry Brooks to name a few. I have 100’s of fantasy books, many unread. (But they look great on my shelves!)


Finally, if you could offer just one piece of advice for aspiring writers, what would it be?


Let’s see… I have so many things to say, but I will offer this one because it’s the advice that hit home the hardest for me.


Write each scene through your characters senses. Describe what they notice, not what you think is good. And when writing the scene through your character’s senses keep your character’s background, training and culture in mind because they influence what the character notices and how they react.


I’ll be the first to admit that I forget to do this, especially in a light cosy story. I’m still learning myself. We never stop because there’s always something new to add to our craft toolbox.


Good luck, and I believe in you.

 

Thank you, D.A. Kelly for taking time to share a bit about yourself and your books with us today.


If you're interested in learning more about Ms. Kelly, visit her website HERE. If you're interested in picking up her books, check them out HERE and at Amazon HERE.

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