The Writer who discovered, pitched and sold the Erin Brockovich story to Hollywood.
Pamela DuMond

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Lights, Camera and... Action! With: Author J.M. Kelley

Lights, Camera and... ACTION!

Today’s Pamela DuMond Author interview is with author:

J. M. Kelley

who, from time to time, fancies herself a writer of contemporary romance and women’s fiction.

Hi J.M.! Thanks for being here today. Can you please tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Born in Pennsylvania, I moved south a few years ago. Now this wannabe Carolina Girl can’t speak a single sentence without adding the word y’all at the end of it, and regards a blast of snow flurries as a doomsday-level event.  I am the author of Drew in Blue, Daddy’s Girl, and Almost Magic, and the forth-coming (tentatively titled) She Let Herself Go.

Okay J.M. You’re on my radar because you have worked on a super cool novel which is called

Almost Magic

Tell us a little bit about Almost Magic?

When it came to Vivian Burroughs’ unique connection with nature, her grandmother always said, ‘Mediocrity may not burn as bright as a firecracker, but it seldom blows up in your face’. But, the old woman never advised her on what to do when a sexy new neighbor stokes the flames of attraction within.

What was your inspiration for this book?

That’s a relatively convoluted explanation, so I’ll try to simplify it. A friend turned me on to Sarah Addison Allen books (Garden Spells, The Sugar Queen, etc.), and I adored the delicate hand she used to sprinkle magical elements into her stories.  I didn’t wish to imitate her writing style, but it did spark an interest in someday tackling a romance with a dash of magic.  Eventually a silly little story unfolded in my brain and I posted it on my website as a Halloween treat. The characters of Vivian, Jack, and Elizabeth were introduced in this very short ditty. I think there was mention of a coven trying to exist in a recession, and some flirty behavior between Jack and Viv. Elizabeth existed solely to be adorable in fairy wings.

At any rate, those few paragraphs never completely left my brain. I felt like there could be much more there. In time, I fleshed it out, changed up some elements, added some characters and some angst and voila: Almost Magic finally came full circle.

Why—out of all the ideas swimming around in your brain were you compelled to work on this?

At the root of it all, I am a sucker for a man with a broken heart. The angst potential for the original version of Jack was pinging off the charts in my head. I really put that man through the wringer, too. Luckily, I had a wonderful editor who told me to stop torturing the poor boy, and we found a great balance. I think Jack, from a very early stage of his ‘existence’, struck a chord in me and I had to find a way to work with him more.

What good things have come to you by working on this project?

I really stepped outside my comfort zone in introducing the various magical and paranormal elements into the story.  It was a challenge to combine elements that could be considered ‘common knowledge’  to the well-read paranormal fan, while inventing a mini-mythology of my very own.

What regrets/fears have you experienced by working on this project?

Lord, how much room do I have for this answer? The usual fears abound in the mind of your average neurotic author. I worried that I really missed the mark in this new genre, that all the vividness these characters projected in my own mind would not be apparent to readers. I think that’s the common thread in my writing worries: Will they get what I was trying to say all along?

Name of one or two people who helped you and why?

Miss Laurie, who is always my guide when it comes to matters of the pen…err, laptop. She knows my ways, and I consider her a tremendous asset.  Also, she is really good at telling me when a man’s naughty bits can’t do the things I try to make them do. (I write very awkward first draft sex.)

Editor Karen was just phenomenal. She truly helped me tame my characters into submission, and made sure I set just the right tone in the story.

And of course, lovely people like a certain Pamela DuMond who are always willing to lend a promotional hand to indie authors like me. I kind of adore her!

Thank you! 

If you could give fellow artists/fans/followers key advice from your experience working on this project—what would it be?

Keep challenging yourself. Don’t take the easy route. Push your own personal boundaries no matter what.

Your hopes/plans for the future and/or next project?

The usual hopes and plans: Hope to win the lottery, plan to buy a beachfront mecca with a writing lair that overlooks the surf as I pound out my own personal masterpiece of snarky romance. Not such a long shot, is it?

Hit us with your BRAGGING RIGHTS!

Almost Magic has been doing quite well this year. I’m especially proud to mention that it was named the 2013 Must Read Paranormal Romance in the Sneak Peek Competition hosted by the Celtic Hearts RWA Chapter.  And I am thrilled to share that I just found out it has been listed as a 2014 RomCon Readers Crown finalist!

If you had a super power what would it be and why?

I would like the power to eat all the chocolate and drink all the Pepsi, and still be able to fit in size 8 jeans.  Or X-Ray vision. Either or.

Favorite Famous Boyfriend or Girlfriend?

Hmm, that can change at a moment’s notice, but let’s go with Joe Manganiello for the time being. He’s fuzzy and growly and has many, many muscles I’d like to…uh, stroke.

Personal Hero you DON’T personally know?

I don’t really have one personal hero. I think aspects of random people appeal to me, and I admire what I see in them. Maya Angelou stands out for me at this time, with her recent passing in the headlines. I think of all she overcame and accomplished in her life and it blows my mind. I consider her a true intellectual champion.

Personal Hero you DO personally know?

I think just about every author I have on my Facebook and Twitter feeds are my heroes. I wonder how the heck they can be so prolific, even with busy lives. I wonder how they can be so fierce and determined all the time, and wish that would rub off on me more. Maybe I should do that: Ask all my author friends and acquaintances if I can rub their head and try to catch some of their awesomeness via the static discharge.

Sweet or Salty?

Oh god, both, preferably at the exact same moment.  Someday I may be caught trying to dip a salt lick into a vat of chocolate.

Favorite Animal?

Fredbert. My Freddie. He hates my guts, and he makes me cranky, but I suppose that makes us the perfect pair. I’m actually quite opposed to cats, what with the allergies and the cat-ness of them all, but I got suckered into adopting him because I was informed he was placed in a garbage bag and thrown out of a car, into the parking lot of a nearby Pier One Imports.

That’s not right.

So….he’s mine. Fangs and all. And when he isn’t trying to kill my ankles, he will occasionally curl up in my lap for about 30 seconds and try to ‘cute’ away all his evil ways. It kind of works.

How do fans and curious folks connect to you?






Almost Magic on Amazon:

Almost Magic on B&N:

Almost Magic on Smashwords:

Thanks for hanging out with us today J.M.!


Pam DuMond


  1. What a great interview! I wasn't familiar with J.M. Kelley, but her wit and sense of fun make me realize I need to check out her books!!

    1. Samanthe -

      She's very funny, warm-hearted, and tells a good story.


    2. Thanks, Samanthe and Pamela! *blush*

  2. Almost Magic is really good. I know JM was nervous about tackling a paranormal story. But the magic is lightly woven throughout and it only adds to the flavor. Viv and Jack are a couple that make you smile and root for. I also particularly enjoyed the supporting characters. Viv's mom and aunt are spirited old broads that are truly a hoot.

    1. Thanks Laurie! Always nice hearing from you. xo

    2. Thanks Laurie! And technically, I think you hold the blame for those two old broads getting such big roles in this story. ;)

  3. Sweet and salty, YES. Kettle corn is a huge downfall of mine. When we get a big bag, I don't want to share.

    1. Kate! Thanks for stopping by. Kettle chips are my personal downfall. xo

    2. Kate, oh how I love kettle corn! And Cracker Jacks in a pinch. Oh, or Fiddle Faddle! Oy, I'm making myself very hungry now.