Kelli Hawkins lands a four-book deal with HarperCollins Australia | Manning River Times

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Ever since she was a little girl, Kelli Hawkins always wanted to write stories, but it never occurred to her that writing stories could be a serious career. However, as fate would have it, it has turned into a career, albeit in a very bittersweet way. Kelli is now a published author on a four book deal with HarperCollins Australia. She grew up and went to school in Wingham, in the North Central Coast region of New South Wales. A keen reader, Kelli could often be found at the Wingham Library, or at home, writing stories. “I remember writing a story for Dolly magazine when she was very young,” she laughs. After studying communications at Bathurst University, Kelli worked as a journalist and traveled with her husband Matt, whom she met at university. After living and working in the UK and the US, Kelli retrained to become a graphic and web designer. But she never gave up her love for writing. “I’ve been writing probably since my kids were little,” says Kelli. And then a very personal tragedy changed everything. Matt was diagnosed with cancer and told he had two months to live. With chemotherapy, he survived for eight months, but was very sick the entire time. “I didn’t do much at all while he was sick, there was obviously a lot going on,” Kelli said. Four months after Matt’s death, Kelli discovered two books she had written, one a domestic psychological thriller (think Girl on a Train) and the other a children’s chapter book. She looked for a literary agent. “I decided it was time to fire them. I guess one last chance, really, before I have to go find a job and go back to normal life,” she said. One of the agents sent the adult book to HarperCollins, who “she really liked.” “It was kind of weird, because a friend of mine had a friend in the children’s department at HarperCollins and she suggested I send the children’s book to a publisher she knew, and that publisher really liked my children’s book,” recalls Kelly. . . By a strange coincidence, both Kelli’s adult and children’s books were brought to the same acquisition meeting at HarperCollins, and the result was the four-book deal, negotiated by the agent. The first two books, Other People’s Houses, and a children’s chapter book titled The School of Talking Pets, were published in 2021. (Her children’s books by her are published under the name Kelli Anne Hawkins.) Kelli’s latest book All She Wants, another domestic psychological book. thriller, has just been released. The fourth book in the deal, another children’s book for high school students, will be released in September. The first draft of All She Wants was written just three months after receiving the deal. It’s set in Newcastle, and he says the publishers were surprisingly keen to have it set there, in the city Kelli now calls home. “There are a lot of places that people would know about: go to Nobby’s, one of the people lives in Mayfield, another lives in Newcastle. It’s actually good to write about local stuff.” When asked what it’s like to be published by a well-known publisher, Kelli said you don’t realize until you start writing how hard it is to get published. “It was pretty weird. Especially after Matt died too, and I was still in shock. I still am, really,” she says. “It was also a bit bittersweet knowing that Matt supported me while he was writing all these books, and he will never know they were published or that I now have a new career.” all different than what I expected from my life.” Kelli supplements her income as an author by writing reports for a private investigator, another job she can do from home, since she prefers to do it with her two teenage children. And she can probably wait to see more than only the four books published by HarperCollins: Kelli is currently writing another adult novel. Kelli’s books can be found in bookstores, online, and at MidCoast Libraries, and are also in e-book format. For more information on Kelli and his books, visit Our journalists work hard to bring up-to-date local news to the community Here’s how you can access our trusted content: Did you know Manning River Times online subscribers not only have 24/7 access to local and national news, sports, what’s on and entertainment- they also have access to our print editions in digital format, with all the ads and classifieds at your fingertips.


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