Friday, May 13, 2011

First Book Stories: Goodbye Forever by Mary Jean Kelso

Boy, what a day it has been. With Blogger being down since yesterday I am behind on everything.  Joining us today is Mary Jean Kelso. She'll be sharing her First Book Story for Goodbye Forever.

I met Mary Jean through our publisher, Guardian Angel. I've read many of her books, and I have a copy of this one sitting on my Kindle begging for my attention. If you could just see the floor of my office, you would know why I haven't gotten to it yet.

Goodbye Forever by Mary Jean Kelso

Wanting to write since childhood, I started out writing short stories because I thought that would be easier than a long novel. Not true!
Then, in 1963 a trip to Virginia City, NV, inspired me with the town's history. The historic sites were tangible--and they still are.
Having been bored by history in high school, I was surprised early mining history (1850s) so inspired me.

At first it was a manuscript of historical fiction:  half truth and half fiction. A couple of publishers offered to publish it if I would commit it strictly to factual history. Because I had read history books that didn't always have their facts straight, I didn't want to add to that crime. With the fiction, I felt, I would have a certain amount of flexibility--"poetic license." So, I chose to maintain the book as fiction and it evolved, over many years, from historical fiction to young adult contemporary fiction. Not something most publishers were willing to take a risk on.

After 20 years of rejections, I decided to go to the Nevada State Historical Society and check facts with the tentative thought of self-publishing in my head. At that time, I lived in Oregon and had to make an 800-mile round trip to research my questions.

One of the people assisting with research at the time (who became one of Nevada's top authorities on its history at the Nevada State Archives, Guy Rocha), talked with me about the project. He offered to introduce me to a friend who, along with one or two others had formed a small press (Great Basin Press) in Reno.

He called Eric Moody, Publisher and he came into the museum and met with me, took the manuscript and it finally saw publication. 

I was elated! My first copy arrived on Christmas Eve via special delivery. What a thrill!

When I went to Reno to do my first autograph signing the publisher warned me not to be disappointed if noone showed up. You just couldn't tell if people would come in. He said a lot of people would not go to a signing but come in afterward and purchase the books.

However, when the publisher and I arrived at the book store, there were people lined up in the hallway. Some told me they came just to meet me. What compliment! It was a very big highlights of my life. A day dreamed and, finally, realized.

Since then I have seen nearly 20 of my books published. There are several still in the pipeline at Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. and I am working on several others.

Every release is still a thrill! I hope every aspiring author has the chance to experience their first time holding their newly published book in their hands.

Mary Jean Kelso is a multi-genre’ author. Besides RV Mouse, The Christmas Angel, and its sequel, One Family’s Christmas, and the Andy & the Albino Horse series, she is also the author of the young adult Lynne Garrett series.

Mary Jean wrote for many newspapers and magazines and was an Assistant Editor prior to concentrating on fiction for children, young adults and adults. Mary Jean recently received awards from The Nevada Press Assn. and The National Press Assn. as a correspondent for The Lahontan Valley News.

She is a member of Made in Nevada--

Visit Mary on the Web at  or  


Nicole weaver said...

Wow! twenty years before publication. What an inspiring story. Thank you, thank you, Cheryl for sharing this wonderful interview. Mary Jean, I am hugely impressed with the way you stood your grounds. Good for you!

Nicole Weaver
Trilingual Children's Author

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

What a great story behind your first book. I can so relate to the history in school and then discovering that history is really interesting when you visit the places you read about and learn about the people who lived there.

I see your name a lot and enjoyed learing more about you.

Anonymous said...

I've ad the pleasure of reading this book. I'd never guessed it was your first.
J. Aday Kennedy
The Differently-Abled Writer & Speaker
Children's Author of Stella the Fire Farting Dragon (April 2010)

Margaret Rose said...

What a terrific, inspiring story, Mary Jean. I'm glad the predictions for your first signing were dead wrong. Best wishes for this book and all your future works.

Raquel Byrnes said...

Twenty years is quite a journey. So glad to see it turn out so wonderfully. Sounds like a fun read.
Edge of Your Seat Romance

Margot Finke said...

Wonderful interview Cheryl. Mary Jean, you are an inspiration, mate. This is a book I must read.

Margot’s Magic Carpet
Kids Books With a WOW Factor!

Pat McDermott said...

Your twenty-year commitment to your story and its ultimate success are wonderfully inspiring, Mary Jean. I enjoyed reading about your journey to publication, especially your first book signing. Best wishes for continued success!

Donna M. McDine said...

Mary Jean:

Thank you for sharing your personal road to publication. Talent and determination are a wonderful combination. Best wishes for your continued success.


V.R. Leavitt said...

What a great story, Mary Jean! Continued good luck to you!!