The “Official” Kelly Fiore-Stultz
Kelly Fiore-Stultz has a BA in English from Salisbury University and an MFA in Poetry from West Virginia University. She received an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council in 2005 and 2009. Kelly’s poetry has appeared in Small Spiral Notebook, Samzidada, Mid Atlantic Review, Connotation Press, and the Grolier Annual Review. Her first young adult novel, Taste Test, was released in August 2013 from Bloomsbury USA, and her second, Just Like the Movies, again from Bloomsbury, was releasted in 2014. Forthcoming novels include Thicker Than Water from HarperTeen in 2015.
Kelly lives and teaches in West Virginia with three children, two dogs, one hedgehog, and a very patient and loving husband. You can connect with Kelly at her website (www.kellyfiorewrites.com), on Twitter (@kellyannfiore), on Tumblr (kellyfiore.tumblr.com), or on Facebook (www.facebook.com/KellyFioreYAAuthor).
The “Less Official” Kelly (Fiore) Stultz
No, I don’t live on this cruise ship. If only. Sigh.
Instead, I live in Eastern West Virginia, which, despite it’s lack of ocean, is a beautiful place in itself. I’ve strayed to the eastern shore and West Virginia mountains for college, but I’ve found my way back home, just 40 miles from my childhood town.
Writing is something I’ve almost always done. My first story, The Peach Tooth, was published in the first grade newsletter. My foray into poetry and it’s subsequent publication took a little longer — until the seventh grade yearbook, where my poem, “Right Now,” inspired by the Van Halen/Crystal Pepsi campaign, was the back cover art.
I wrote my way through high school in journals that bemoaned crushes and crushed relationships — some of which never had a chance to begin with. I was a sucker for unrequited love and the Dawson’s Creek of it all. In college, I never considered creative writing as a career path, bouncing from communications to pre-law to English. Finally, after a prolific and life-changing poetry course with poet, Michael Waters, I changed my focus to writing, both creative and professional.
At West Virginia University, I had the pleasure of studying under Pulitzer Prize winning poet Stephen Dunn and equally talented writers Mary Ann Samyn and Jim Harms. I met great friends and got an MFA in poetry. Both of those things are priceless, if not money makers.
After college and graduate school, I got a job, first as a technical writer for a government contractor, then as an English teacher at a public high school. At 27, I had my son, Max. It was a beautiful time, but post partum depression (PPD) threw me for a loop and the only thing that managed to pull me out of its depths was writing.
Six months after my son was born, I started writing my first work of fiction. Six months after that, I had an agent who was trying to get that book published. It didn’t work out, but it led me here.
Then, a few years later, I found myself in the most unexpected of places – falling in love with a former high school classmate who has since completely changed my life.
We’re now married and share a home and children together in West Virginia. I consider our life together something out of the movies – it was a coincidental encounter that brought us together as adults and practically love at first sight when all was said and done.
I get my writing genes from my mom and my emotional genes from my dad, both of which make writing YA a lot more natural for me. I spend all of my free time that isn’t spent writing cooking and baking. I’m a locavore and an extremely supportive member of a local farm CSA. My son also follows the Feingold Diet, a food program for kids sensitive to artificial additives and natural salycilates. This program has changed my son’s life and I recommend it to anyone who has allergies, food intolerences, seizures, or neurological concerns.
There are days that writing feels like a job and days that it feels like a blessing. But most of all, for me, writing feels like a calling. It is what I’m supposed to be doing. When I think of a self-indentifier, I think “Writer” and “Mother.” Who I am is on the pages and in my son and my step-daughters and in my marriage. I love being able to share that with the world.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (AKA FAQ’s)
Back before I was published, I scoured the web for author FAQs, trying to figure out how I could break into this crazy business. I sincerely hope this will answer some of your burning questions. I’ve borrowed the wording/organization from Richelle Mead, of Vampire Academy fame, because I think she pretty much covers the questions here that I’ve been asked over the years. Thanks Richelle!
Will there be a TASTE TEST sequel?
As of right now, there aren’t any plans for a sequel. That doesn’t mean it won’t ever be written, it just means I’m not currently planning on doing it. The book would lend itself really well to a sequel — the further adventures of Nora and Christian would be a lot of fun to write about.
Is TASTE TEST going to be a movie? If so, can I be in it?
I would love for TASTE TEST to be a movie or play or TV show or cartoon or magic act or mime routine or whatever else it could be. TV/Film rights haven’t been sold (although, if you want to buy them, you can contact Pouya Shahbazian at New Leaf Literary + Media…) And, while I’m sure you are a tremendous performer, I have absolutely nothing to do with the casting of a film, even if the book is mine. It’s kind of hard to explain this, but once the rights are purchased, they’re out of my hands.
Who is on the cover of your books? Do you know them? Can I be on the cover? (Or can I design your cover?)
I have amazing covers, don’t I? I can take absolutely NO credit for them — the publicity and design departments at my publisher(s) are responsible for the covers. I don’t know the people on them — although, I’d LOVE to meet them and give them a big hug!
If you are interested in designing covers, that’s awesome! You can’t design one for me, since I work through (and for) a publisher, but I suggest you look into designing covers for self-published authors. There are lots of people looking for good cover art out there!
When is your next book coming out?
Right…so, this one is a little complicated since I write under two names. So, bear with me.
AMONG THE SHADOWS: 13 Stories of Darkness and Light (A short story anthology)
THICKER THAN WATER (Kelly Fiore YA Novel – Harper Teen)
JUST LIKE THE MOVIES: An If Only Novel (Paperback Re-Release – Bloomsbury USA)
There will be two more romance novels by Annie Kelly in 2016, I just don’t know the dates yet.
Are you on tour?
If you mean that in a traditional sense, no. But I have book readings and conferences sessions scheduled for 2015-16. Check out my Appearances.
Can you sign my book?
Of course. If you’re going to be at any of my appearances, I would love to meet you and sign your book! However, if you can’t make it there, just drop an email to kellyannfiore(at)gmail . com and give me your mailing address. I can send you a bookplate with my signature, along with bookmarks. 🙂
Are your books available outside the US?
Absolutely! You can order all of my books, with free shipping, from The Book Depository!
Are there audio, Kindle, or ebook versions of your books?
How did you get started writing?
As with most writers, I’ve always been writing. I have a big imagination and I like telling stories. My first written story was called “The Peach Tooth” about a girl who lost her tooth while eating a peach. It was published in my first grade newsletter.
I continued writing as I got older. In high school, I kept journals and wrote poetry and monologues that I performed in talent shows. When I went to college, I majored in Creative Writing (in part because I am terrible with foreign languages and that major didn’t require FL credits…) But my focus was poetry until I was about 28 years old. That’s when YA literature and the passion behind it found me. I’ve been hooked ever since. I don’t really write poetry anymore, but I feel like my process is very similar.
Where do you get your ideas from? Are your characters or books based on real life?
I have a really hard time answering this question. I believe really strongly that, as a writer, I must write what I know. I’m not good at world-building in the sense of coming up with a whole new place. There are authors who are AMAZING at this, but I have to be firmly rooted in this world.
But, regardless, that doesn’t mean all of the books I write have a personal connection. I do like to write about things I have some authority about — like TASTE TEST’s food focus. I’m a big “foodie” and I love to cook, so I felt confident writing about something I knew so much about.
To an extent, my books do have a foot in my real life. For example, the high school in JUST LIKE THE MOVIES is Molesworth High, named after my childhood neighborhood, Molesworth Hills. I use character names that I like based on real names, too. Nora in TASTE TEST was named after a friend’s daughter because I really like the name.
But my work isn’t memoir. It isn’t true. Not even close. 🙂
I want to be a writer. Can I send you samples of my writing or tell you about my ideas?
I think it’s fantastic that you want to write! You should do it! Unfortunately, I can’t look at your work for a variety of reasons. But I can’t encourage you enough to write. It’s one of the best and rewarding creative processes there is.
I want to be a writer. Can you give me writing advice or tell me how to get published?
There are so many great websites out there. It greatly depends on what kind of writer you want to be, but a great general site is Janice Hardy’s Fiction University. Likewise, if you’re looking to publish in a more traditional sense, Harold Underdown’s Purple Crayon Blog gives lots of great industry advice.
If you want to know more about finding a literary agent, check out Agent Query for a comprehensive list of agents who are looking for clients right now.
Do you have more questions that weren’t answered here?
Visit my CONTACT page or find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/KellyFioreYAAuthor or tweet me at @kellyannfiore and ask away! I’ll post answers here.