Tag Archives: Kim Kelly

Kim Kelly – Portrait of an Author

Yes, we are being creative with our author Q&A!

Kim, with pose and composition such important factors, what kind of ‘look’ would you want for your portrait.

A. On a chaise lounge (Kate Winslet/Titanic style)?

B. Fully clothed in a rocker (Whistler’s Mother style)?

c. A close up of your face (Girl with the Pearl Earring style/Mona Lisa)?

D. In all your formal finery befitting your ‘authorly’ status (Regal style)?

E. Other?

Jenn, a combination of A, D & E here, please. I write mostly lying down on my mad-yellow couch and I usually frock up for the day (today it’s a 60s reproduction A-line mini in blue daisy print) even though no-one but the cats and chooks see me, so if you’re going to paint me in my preferred habitat and costume, paint me like this – plus laptop on lap vying for space with one or two cats, and a cup of tea and a buttered weetbix on the side table.

If you were being painted RIGHT NOW, tell us what you are wearing. (Be honest!)

A: As above. Honestly. Don’t be fooled by the black skivvy in my author pic. To my shame, at present count I have ninety-two everyday frocks. Most of them are recycled and they all get recycled and reinvented eventually, but yes, I have a frock problem. If I really did have to choose a frock to wear for a portrait painting, I’d have a series of small breakdowns before deciding how history should remember me in print – fabric print, that is.

Given a choice, what precious item would you want included in a portrait of you?

A: Only one? I’d have to include a sideboard photo of my muse de bloke, Deano, and one of my boys as well. They are my everyday inspiration. And the cats. And the chooks. And my tea cup collection (seriously, almost as bad as the frocks). I’d want my books in there as well – the books I’ve worked on as editor, too, and all those that have opened doors in my mind.

With acquired savant syndrome featuring in my next novel, I’m curious . . . If you were to wake up from a coma one day to find yourself totally obsessed and a genius (in something other than writing, of course) what would you want it to be? (music, painting, languages, maths, touching your toes while typing, etc)

A: I’m so boring, I’m hopelessly devoted to the patch of dirt I already plough. I want to keep becoming a better writer. I’m already obsessed and I don’t believe in genius – just work, curiosity and generosity of spirit. I would like the ability to download books directly into my brain, though. I am a slow and careful reader – always worried I’m going to miss something important.

If you happened to wake up one day and be a genius with a paintbrush, whose portrait would you want to paint and why?

A: I am an accomplished painter already! Not. I paint on my mental health days – those days when I have to get up off the couch and get messy with my imagination – and my paintings are always bright splashes, cartoonish, mostly of flowers, sometimes abstract, and never much good. But if I was any good, I’d love to be able to paint my characters so that readers could see what I see when I’m with them. Responsible literary citizen that I am, though, I’d be sure to mark those pic files as potential spoilers – peek at your own risk.

Picasso once asked the question: “Are we to paint what’s on the face, what’s inside the face, or what’s behind it?” In my next novel, the artists says to 58 y.o Ava, “A mature person has depth of character and it’s their layers, built from life’s lessons that interest me the most—when wisdom replaces curiosity and experience replaces youthful exuberance.”

What two traits would you hope an artist captures in a portrait of you?

A: Love and curiosity. I can’t function without the giving and receiving of the first and I’m hard wired for the second. I don’t ever want to stop wondering and asking questions – especially of myself (most common one being, what the freak are you doing?).

Because every fireplace deserves a portrait, in whose house would you hang a Portrait of You as a surprise and what would they say?

I’d want my portrait hung over the hearth of the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection to remind him that immigrants and refugees have made Australia not only the colourful and beautiful place it is but they also made me. And when he is eventually ousted, I want my portrait to go to the National Library of Australia together with all other author portraits in the Jenn J McLeod collection to show this country what a wealth of storytelling heart we have, right here, right now, particularly among women writers.

Keeping in mind that lucky recipient of your portrait, how would see yourself framed?

  1. Minimalist or no frame at all – just the canvas (take me as I am)
  2. Modernist – chrome, nothing too fancy
  3. Sophisticated – warm, wood, old world
  4. Flamboyant – go all the way and gilt edged!

A: No borders – of course!

Finally, if someone was to add a plaque/title your portrait, how would it read?

A: The Authorlady

Acrylic on old fence-palings; 2000cm x 3000cm (that’s right, Mr Dutton, it’s HUGE).

On the surface all is romantic whimsy and yet the work is rich with literary allusion and classical symbolism. Most strikingly, the use yellow, predominantly on the couch, is suggestive of madness, while cats and chooks, well, we all know what they say about a woman in middle age. The masculine details apparent in the painting, in the form of portraits within the portrait, make no clever commentary whatsoever on the nature of portraiture itself but rather point to the author’s philosophy that one can smash the patriarchy and love all her blokes to bits at the same time. The underlying narrative of the image explores a powerful nexus of love and curiosity, and seeks to interrogate the national soul, at the same time drawing attention to its concretely central but ironically ethereal meta-theme, most simply described in the broad-brush statement: the lady rocks a frock.

Thank you for playing along on Author Portraits. Now, lovely readers, some serious stuff about Kim Kelly who really is one of a kind. A beautiful person who writes beautiful stories, which are half price until the end of December. Stock up on your holiday reading! Find all the fab deals at all the major retailers here worldwide: https://books.pronoun.com/kimkelly/ Buy one, buy all four!

About Kim…

Kim Kelly is the author of six novels, including the acclaimed Wild Chicory. (I LOVED Wild Chicory and The Jewel Sea so much – Jenn J) 

Her stories shine a bright light on some forgotten corners of Australia’s past and tell the tales of ordinary people living through extraordinary times. The Sydney Morning Herald has described her style as ‘colourful, evocative and energetic’. The Daily Telegraph has noted her ‘impressive research’. And, to her enduring shock, the Melbourne Age has said: ‘Why can’t more people write like this?’

A widely respected book editor and literary consultant by trade, stories fill her everyday – most nights, too – and it’s love that fuels her intellectual engine. Love between lovers, friends, strangers; love of country; love of story. In fact, she takes love so seriously she once donated a kidney to her husband to prove it, and also to save his life.

Originally from Sydney, today Kim lives on a small rural property in central New South Wales just outside the tiny gold-rush village of Millthorpe, where the ghosts are mostly friendly and her grown sons regularly come home to graze.

Website https://kimkellyauthor.com/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/KimKellyAuthor/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

Before you go, I have some more author portraits to celebrate the release of my 5th novel (April – here in Australia/NZ and overseas) so you might want to subscribe to my blog (right) or check out my Book Room.

Author, Kim Kelly, writes a letter to her 15 y.o self.

Dear Kim,

You’ve just run out of the classroom in heaving, desperate tears. This feels like the worst thing that’s ever happened – and it feels like it’s all your fault. It seems that you’ve let everyone down – your parents, yourself, your school, and your lovely teacher, Mr Emery, who you’ve just told to go away.Jewel Sea - FB blog Banner

Your head is spinning. Your heart is a bird beating madly against a window. You can’t catch your breath. The summer heat is suffocating – and it seems you’ve brought that on yourself, too.

But it’s okay. Really, it is. You’ve had an anxiety attack – that’s all this is. A trick of the mind. The world won’t stop turning because nerves have got the better of you and you’ve had to pull out of the public speaking competition. No-one cares about the competition. They only care about you. Tell the people who love you how you feel. Tell them what’s going on.

Holding these shadows inside yourself is going to cause you a lot of grief for a long time, and shame will cause you to make some fairly appalling decisions. Anxiety will trap you in its fist for thirty years, dragging you down, blinding you to your strengths and gifts. It will physically trap you in your house at one point, making you too terrified to go outside, making you unable to drive your kids to school.

It will cause you to not quite see the very brave and tenacious woman growing all the time beneath the shadows. The woman who gives of herself so fiercely: a mother, a friend, a lover. A writer.

Kim Kelly 15You will do some outrageously courageous things. You will step out into the sun despite your
fears. You will even risk your life to save your lover and never quite understand how you did it. You will write out your heart every day – novels and novels of it – and although right now, here as you catch your breath outside the classroom, it’s unthinkable that you will ever be able to talk about your writing, you will overcome this fear too. In fact, these days it can be difficult to shut you up.

You still have anxiety – you will always have your struggles with anxiety – but you will learn to listen to those who love you, you will learn to speak through the shadows when you must, and you will never let anxiety rob you of the sun again.


Your forty-eight-year-old self.

PS: And you really needn’t have worried about embarrassing yourself in front of Mr Emery. He can guess what you’re going through, and he’s a writer too. He’ll go on to become an esteemed Australian poet – and one of your biggest fans.

KK high res (2)JewelSea_low res copy


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kim Kelly has written four novels and the acclaimed novella, Wild Chicory. When she’s not writing, she’s an editor and literary consultant – because too much story is never enough.

Her latest novel is Jewel Sea. Buy from preferred retailer:
CLICK: The Author People and for the next stop on Kim’s blog tour go to:  A Bigger, Brighter World: Wednesday 14th September

Blog: https://kkauthorlady.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KimKellyAuthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KimKellyAuthor

[bctt tweet=”What advice does @kimkellyauthor give her 16 y.o self? #LetterToMyself https://www.jennjmcleod.com/blog/a-letter-to-myself-author-list” username=”jennjmcleod”]

Wanting to honour the lost art of letter writing through this blog series, I also opened my fourth novel with a character writing a letter. And not just any letter. It’s a story — perhaps the most important he’ll ever tell.

The Other Side of the SeasonReady for a sea change

Life is simple on top of the mountain for David, Matthew and Tilly until the winter of 1979 when tragedy strikes, starting a chain reaction that will ruin lives for years to come. Those who can, escape the Greenhill banana plantation on the outskirts of Coffs Harbour. One stays—trapped for the next thirty years on the mountain and haunted by memories and lost dreams. That is until the arrival of a curious young woman, named Sidney, whose love of family shows everyone the truth can heal, what’s wrong can be righted, the lost can be found, and . . . there’s another side to every story.

BUY now from Amazon, KoboiTunes, or



Cue the music: I’m ready to blog hop.

I’m recognising Australia Day by saying …

ozdaydonateNO to fireworks.

NO to fake, foreign-made flags, thongs, and drink holders.

(Oh, and giving away a book to one lucky reader.)

aussie helpersYep, I’m keeping it real and celebrating the 26th of January by being a REAL Aussie. You can too by donating to Aussie Helpers – helping the heart of our country (our farmers and graziers)

I’m also sending one Blog Hop reader a signed copy of their choice:

Any book.

You choose.


To enter the draw simply… leave a comment below and TELL ME what month my new book – The Other Side of the Season – is out. (Not sure? Look here.) AND, of course, tell me which book you’d like to win*.


DOUBLE your chances: I’ll pop a second entry into the Akubra with your name on it if you share this post on your Facebook page (if you have one – and don’t forget to tag me.) or you can Click to Tweet:

TRIPLE your chances by donating to help our farmers. It’s the Aussie thing to do: Go to www.aussiehelpers.org.au

CLOSED *Entries into the draw close at midnight on January 27th. Winner announced within 7 days. Australian postal address only.

After leaving your comment below, check out Book’d Out for more Great Aussie Author Blog Hop participants with more giveaways.



Grab a snag, a beer, and if you can DONATE to Aussie Helpers. Then kick back feeling good and remember… slip, slop, slap, read.

And if you’re still with me and you read ebooks on iTunes, head over to this blog post I did earlier and go into an extra draw to win one of three copies of Wild Chicory by Kim Kelly (courtesy of The Author People).


I’m wild about Wild Chicory w/ giveaway

We’re told to not judge a book by its cover.

You also can’t judge a book by size.

Wild Chicory by Kim KellyThis little beauty from Kim Kelly is a mere 92 pages, but the story and the surprises she packs into it makes for a powerful, magical and mesmerising read.

What starts out as a young girl’s interaction with her Grandma becomes a journey back in time. While Kim takes us to a century-ago Ireland, my personal favourite parts of this story was walking the streets of early Sydney with the characters — and, believe it or not, those 92 pages have lots of characters. Yet another testament to the cleverness of this author.

I’m not going to give anything away here (you have to read this book) but towards the end I not only started to understand Kim’s passion for this tale, but also how some things are meant to be. Like, for instance, Kim taking this latest work to The Author People, a new, innovative publishing house. (Here is the link to Kim’s book at The Author People.)

There is no better proof that this partnership was meant to be than the story behind the story — and the cover that is so much more than just an image and a title.

Here is Kim to tell us about that…… (and you can check out my review below.)

When my husband Dean and I first saw what would become our little patch of paddock-paradise back in 2014, it looked like the refuge of peace and beauty we’d been searching so long for, but it was the wild chicory blooming like sprinklings of blue sky along the verges of the track outside the property that whispered especially to me: you’ll write amazing things here. 

And I have been writing like a full-on mad lady ever since – I’ve never been so inspired. But like all writers do from time to time, I found myself one day asking why I write at all. What is this thing inside me that makes me strive so hard to put words on a page, forging them into tales? I’d just had my fourth novel published but, in the corporate crunch of the publishing biz, I felt as if the worth of all the love I poured into my stories was being measured only in sales spreadsheets. 

My mind began to cloud over with the most awful doubt, until a vision of my grandmother came to me. She was standing with her back to me, at her kitchen sink, about to tell me a story – and suddenly my mind was alive and bright again with all the stories she told me when I was small. Stories of being poor and Irish in Sydney in the early 1900s, of mischief and magic, and the wisdom of popping on a pretty frock against just about all ills. It was as if my grandmother was paying me a little visit to remind me that my stories don’t just belong to me. They come from the centuries of love and wonder and courage that put me here on this earth, on this particular patch of paradise. Wild Chicory then poured out of me in a great rush – an expression of who I am, where I’ve come from and why I do what I do.

Around the same time, an old publishing colleague, Lou Johnson, was asking herself similar questions about the process of making books and connecting with readers, masterminding her new company, The Author People. Almost at the moment I finished Wild Chicory, our paths crossed again and – wham. Our joining forces on this adventure feels so uncannily right, there must be some magic at play here, too. 

In hunting around for cover images, I sent Lou a photograph of the wild chicory growing along the track outside my place, to show her what set off my inspiration. Then she sent me a photograph of her daughter Ruby. I shouted out when I saw her – and turned my laptop round for my husband to see – because Ruby wasn’t just perfect. She was Nell – the little girl in my Wild Chicory. The little girl sprung from the stories my grandmother told me, and from the love we shared.

Synchronicity makes for a stunning cover.

Take one publisher (Lou), her darling, Douglas Frost (photographer), delightful daughter Ruby, add Kim Kelly’s own wild chicory field then ask designer, Alissa Dinallo, to bring it all to life.

A family affair - the Author People

Douglas Frost photographer
Ruby and Kim


Kim's chicory field

Jenn’s Review of Wild Chicory by Kim Kelly


Kim Kelly family

I’ve never met Kim Kelly, author, other than on Facebook. I have read and enjoyed her previous published novels, so when the publisher (The Author People) asked if I’d like to read her latest offering, Wild Chicory, I didn’t hesitate. At only ninety-two pages I figured a novella would be a short read.

As expected, I read the ninety-two pages in one sitting. What I didn’t expect were tears—mine! Not because the ending was a sad one, but because the significance of Brigid Boszko’s storytelling became clear to me in the final chapter. (I think I even gasped.)

Wild Chicory is absolutely remarkable reading and a rich and wonderful history lesson that every child—every person—in Australia should read. (If I had been given this at school instead of Jamaica Inn I might have fallen in love earlier with reading, and writing, Aussie stories!)

For the reader, Wild Chicory is a step back in time. A celebration of Australia and (what Kim, herself, describes as) ‘the economic refugees who have made and continue to make our country what it is: a colourful patchwork of beauty and bigotry both, all sewn together with love’.

For any writers out there: Wild Chicory is a short and extremely enjoyable lesson in clever crafting, superb structure, and the perfect use of POV. Like her character, Brigid Boszko, Kim Kelly is wonderful storyteller and ‘her’ story is so real I wanted more pages to read.

My opinion:  This novella is the author’s tour de force. With a sublime narrative voice Wild Chicory is the kind of story that lingers long after the last page.

WIN one of three ebooks (from iTunes only).

Leave a comment below. Maybe tell us your favourite wildflower (or weed, because my fave–the gossamer ball of the dandelion–is classed a weed by some).

 Buy links hereeBook available and paperback (and it is so pretty).

Here is Kim on herphoto shoot and I am pretty sure the photographer is saying something like: “Gee, Kim, you are this much shorter than I imagined.” *wink*

Kim Kelly photo shoot_1



Bar Yarns with Author ~ Kim Kelly

Kim Kelly is the author of the novels Black Diamonds, This Red Earth and A Blue Mile. A book editor for nigh on twenty years in ‘real’ life, she lives in Orange, in the Central West of New South Wales.

Welcome to Calingarry Crossing pub, Kim. Come on in. Grab a pew. What can I get you to go with your beer nuts? (Shandy? Wine Spritzer? Pink Lemonade?)

I’ll have a Pilsner Urquell, please, otherwise known in these parts as Eastern European Koala Juice for its super fast delivery of a deliciously contented stupor. Apparently pensioners in the Czech Republic lobbied the government to have this stuff put on the Czech equivalent of the PBS. They failed, but they gave it a red hot go. True story. Maybe.

Hey, did you hear the one about …

The past, the present and the future walked into a bar. It was tense.

I’m a beer nut nut, Kim! What bar snack would you be and why?

Bread and something dippy like humus or tapenade. Posh pig here, thank you.

Ahh, that beer hit the spot. Let me slip a drink coaster under your glass while you tell us, as a writer, are you a messy desker or tidy desker? (1 = “I am a neat nut case” and 10 = “What desk? Where? Is there a desk here somewhere?”) Are you game to post a working space picture right now?

At the moment I don’t actually have a desk as we’re between houses and I’ve been Kim Kelly deskrelegated to a coffee table (sobs). Ordinarily, though, I’m fairly scarily neat , perhaps a 2, up from a 1 only because my notebook might not always be exactly square with the edge of the desk, or one of the knitted teddies that keep me company while I write might have keeled over with the stress of it all. I’m not neurotic, not really…

Okay Kim, the publican offers you free drinks all night if you will: Dance to Gangnam Style, sing John Denver’s ‘Take me Home Country Roads’ on the Karaoke machine, or spend an hour washing dishes?

Gotta love a bit of John Denver erupting from a contented stupor, don’t you? But can I sing ‘Annie’s Song’ instead? I’d like to show my romantic side and my talent for nasal whining.

Time to liven the place up. Got a buck? We can crank up the old jukebox in the corner. You get to pick three songs.

  1. Just Because I Love You – Masters Apprentices
  2. Rollercoaster – Machine Gun Fellatio
  3. Thank You (For Loving Me At My Worst) – The Whitlams

An author, an agent and a chicken walk into the bar… How do you know which one crossed the road?

The author, of course. Being a narcissistic sociopath, the author is in fact the only one there.

There’s a stapler on the bar. Tell me what it’s doing there.

The author uses it to staple the chicken to the agent: to feel a tangible sense of engagement with reality, to create a point of drama, and to see what happens next.

The pub is the heart of a small town and most locals would be lost without one. What are three things you’d be lost without?

  1. Husband.
  2. No.1 son.
  3. No.2 son.

Shhh! The last race of the day is on the TAB screen and I reckon I’ve picked a winner. I browse the race guide with the jockey colours influencing my bet. When browsing a bookshop, what influences you?

  1. Review or recommendation – i.e., I ain’t browsing, I’m hunting
  2. Subject
  3. First chapter
  4. Australian author

There are a few good prizes up for grabs in the bar jackpot. Do you have a lucky number?

Are you insane, Jenn?! I’m not telling you that. Someone might pinch it.

(Am I insane, Kim? My dog certainly thinks I am as I ROFLMAO over this yarn!)

The publican, Maggie, has called last drinks, my friend! But before we go, tell us how we can find out more about you and your writing/books.

Well, what a load of fun that was, Jenn! Thanks so much for inviting me to the pub. I’m chuffed. This Red Earth

First the blurb to go with the amazing cover of The Red Earth:

It’s November 1939, another war in Europe. And Bernie Cooper is wondering what’s ahead for her. She knows Gordon Brock is going to ask her to marry him – any second now. An honest country boy about to graduate from university as a geologist, he’s a good catch by anyone’s standards, too. And she’s going to say no.

The harsh realities of this Second World War have other plans for Bernie, though, and once her adored father is commissioned to serve again, she accepts Gordon’s proposal – mostly to please her dad. In any event, with Gordon off to New Guinea for the job of a lifetime, she’ll be glad of a temporary reprieve from walking down the aisle, won’t she?

As Gordon braces for the inevitable Japanese invasion of Rabaul, Bernie finds herself in the midst of the battle being fought on home soil – against the worst drought in living memory, against the menace of an unseen enemy, and against the unspeakable torment of not knowing if those dear to her are alive or dead.

From the beaches of Sydney to the dusty heart of the continent, This Red Earth is as much a love letter to the country, with all its beauty and its terror, as it is an intimate portrait of love itself.

Above all, this is a story of the greatest power we each possess – hope.

Not enough information? Click away…

Kim Kelly Facebook page

Pan Macmillan book page, for paperback & ebook

Bolinda ABC Talking Book page

You’ll discover an amazing line up of emerging and established authors joining me for a bar yarn and a beer nut throughout spring, summer, autumn and winter.

WINNER: Kim reckons it’s first in best dressed today. Thank you to everyone for commenting. There are more generous authors heading into the Calingarry Crossing pub for a yarn with me soon. (If you have not subscribed to my blog, now would be a good time!)

Heather Garside you will receive a copy of Kim Kelly’s fabulous This Red Earth.