Author, Speaker, Theater Critic

Welcome to my blog, Donna Kelly Writes!


Imagine walking away from your career to embark on the most fascinating, at times frightening, journey toward fulfilling your lifelong dream.

Would you do it – even if it meant discovering reality was not quite what you expected?

I’d do it again faster than you can say, “Go write a book!”

I’m blessed to be living my dream – writing novels, teaching writing classes, public speaking, and reviewing community theater performances.

In 2012, at 52 years old, I leapt from the craziness of a constantly changing newsroom to the equally challenging world of publishing and self-employment.  Scary? You bet!

Rewarding? Oh yeah.

I cut my teeth on cozy mysteries but now I’m delving into the paranormal realm with what I call the “book of my heart.” The Spirit of the Derry Down was inspired by the legend of the late country rock pioneer Gram Parsons and the listening room where he and other musicians honed their talent in the 1960s.

I’ve not penned a bestseller or made national talk shows, but I’m doing what I love, and sharing my passion with others who feel pulled to write, but don’t know how to start. Sharing is the most important word in the last sentence.

Some folks believe being an author is all about words and solitude.

But it’s not.

Writing stories is about people – how they think, what they do, their motivation, places they live and work, their loves, their hates, their world.

It’s about their friends and families, pets, bosses, and co-workers. What are their dreams and schemes? Their job and hobbies? Beliefs and realities? Failures and successes? Fears and tears? The list is endless.

And fascinating.

During my nearly 14 years writing for newspapers, the stories I found most interesting were the quirky tidbits uncovered while interviewing sources for articles assigned to me. Each story taught me something about people and the world. Many ideas for my books were sparked during these interviews.

Books ignite their own sparks. Researching a novel takes me to places I’d not visit otherwise. I meet the most extraordinary people who might never have crossed my path. My world expands with each discovery – music, food, architecture, theories, books, ideas, beliefs, friendships – found solely through talking to people and getting to know them.

Each discovery is like a treasure meant to be enjoyed and shared. This weekly blog is a way for me to pass along the gems I find along my path as an author, explorer, and observer.

You’ll find book reviews, Q&As with emerging musicians, anecdotes and photos from research interviews, answers to reader questions, wisdom gained along the path, and anything else I think will intrigue you!

I look forward to taking this journey with you! If you’d like to receive my blog updates on a regular basis, please subscribe to my blog feed.  You can also stay informed of my public speaking appearances, book progress, and other interesting notations on my Donna Kelly Author page on Facebook and at DKellyWrites on Twitter.

Thanks for visiting! Please come back soon.


  1. Andrea Cruz

    Congratulations, Donna. I am so happy for you and honored that I could be a part of this next step in your career. I believe you will go far. Stand tall and know that you are following your heart. Bravo!

    • Donna Kelly

      Thank you, Andrea! I’m certainly blessed with a strong support system and you are a huge part of it. There’s joy in paying it forward and that’s what I plan to do.

  2. Jamie Beckett

    I’m so pleased to see your site up and running, Donna. I’ve followed your career and your work for years, so it is with great enthusiasm I find you publishing novels and teaching the art of writing. You’re a true talent and a fine woman. Here’s looking forward to your next installment here, and your next release into the marketplace. Type away, woman. Type away.

    • Donna Kelly

      Thanks for your kind words, Jamie! My career path has had an interesting trajectory and I’ve met some wonderful people, yourself included. I value your support! Tap, tap, tap…

  3. Ashley Hurst

    Hi Donna, my name is Ashley. I am an aspiring freelance writer. I recently had a meeting with the communications manager of the city of Auburndale, Merissa Green . She gave me a lot of things to think about as far as this industry goes. My goal as a writer is to keep young people reading and writing. I want to help mold the minds of the next generation and contribute to the minds of this one in a positive way. I look foward to your upcoming posts. You are an excellent writer and an inspiration to us just beginning in our journey towards the life we want to live. Thank you for your time.

    Ashley Hurst

    • admin

      Hi Ashley, welcome to my blog! I took a peek at yours – you’re off to a great start with your writing career. Please feel free to join us at Sidestreet Studio in Winter Haven for a new writer’s group, Coffee and Quill, 10 a.m. to noon on Aug. 29. We meet on the last Saturday of each month.

      • Ashley Hurst

        Thank you very much! I will try to make transportation arrangements to attend. I look foward to it.

  4. Joni M Fisher

    Looking forward to reading all about Derry Down. You will make this historic place come alive again.

    • admin

      Thanks Joni! It’s been fun connecting the past with the future in the Derry Down.

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