Author of six published books, Kelly Jones grew up in Twin Falls, Idaho. She attended Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, graduating magna cum laude with a degree in English and an art minor. Her first novel was released in 2005.
Her titles are:
- The Seventh Unicorn
- The Lost Madonna
- The Woman Who Heard Color
- Lost and Found in Prague*
- Bloodline and Wine*
- Evel Knievel Jumps the Snake River Canyon
- (Angel Boy is the third in a mystery series* and will be released in late 2021)
Do you have a writing routine? Where and when do you write?
When I first started writing with the goal of publication, I was admittedly much more disciplined, but I still find mornings are the best for creativity and first drafts, afternoons for revisions. I’m definitely not a night writer. I’m lucky to have a home office where I do most of my writing, though, like most writers, I’m always writing in my head wherever I am.
Do you have any patterns or rituals associated with your writing time?
Not really. I do write on a computer.
What do you do when you hit a wall with your writing?
Keep writing. Fix it later.
The eternal question: Are you a “pantser”, a “plotter”, or something else entirely?
These are words that are relatively new to me! But, if I understand correctly, I think a bit of both, probably leaning toward “pantser.” I have attempted to do outlines, but this rarely works for me. When I think things are getting away from me, I might do a mini-outline to get back on track. Generally, I do have an idea of where I’m going when I start out, especially when writing a mystery.
What’s the last book you read that made you go “wow!”?
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
What book or author do you often find yourself recommending and why?
This changes from time to time as I read. I’ve always enjoyed Anne Tyler. Lately, I’ve enjoyed Lily King, Celeste Ng, Ann Packer, Jeffrey Eugenides. I tend to gravitate toward women writers or men who write like women!
What’s on your To Be Read pile?
My sister and I often exchange bags of books. I sent her the four books I received for Christmas, Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson, The Night Portrait by Laura Morelli, Writers and Lovers by Lily King, and The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett. She sent me a bag of Elena Ferrante.
I’m now reading The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty. I read it before, but during the Pandemic, I re-read several books that were already on my bookshelf. Something about this isolation and uncertainty made me want to read the good stuff all over again.
What advice do you have for readers?
Do readers need advice? Read what you like!
What author, past or present, would you wish to have a long conversation with?
I might like to talk to Anne Tyler because she does very little in the way of interviews and promotions. But, then, I think I might feel I was being intrusive. I just really admire her—she is so good at what she does that she can spend her time writing rather than trying to sell her writing!
What’s the first book you can remember reading on your own?
The first grown-up book I remember reading was Daphne du Maurier’s The King’s General. I had a very emotional reaction to that and continued to read her books. Some, like Rebecca, I’ve read more than once.
What books and/or authors have most influenced you as an author?
I’m not sure I have an answer to that because there’s an assumption if you are influenced by a writer, you are trying to emulate them. The authors I most enjoy are the ones whose writing is so good, I’m lost in the story and don’t notice the writing, or who write so beautifully, I’m thinking, I could never do that.
What do you most enjoy about being a writer?
That feeling that comes when you finally get the words right!
What do you least enjoy about being a writer?
The expected promotion and marketing. There seems to be an assumption now that a writer will offer something of themselves. I’m an introvert, as are many writers, and putting myself out there is often uncomfortable. Yet, I understand because after finishing a book I like, I often find the author’s bio, curious to know more about them and learn how they came to write a particular story.
What would you tell a new writer?
Read. Read what you enjoy. Write what you enjoy writing.
What might people be surprised to know about you?
I worked summers during my college years in a meatpacking plant in my hometown of Twin Falls.
Thanks to author Kelly Jones for participating in our Idaho Author Interview series. If you’re interested, or would like to recommend someone, please contact the IWU website editor.