2006-10-19 / News

Author Kelly Easton writes another winner

By Sam Bari

Kelly Easton Kelly Easton Jamestown resident Kelly Easton is a renowned author whose popularity is growing quickly, and for good reason. Her new novel, "Aftershock," was nominated for the American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults list before its release, and was listed by Scripps News Service as one of 12 books teens should read. The release date for the hardcover edition is Nov. 7. The Margaret K. McElderry book is Easton's third novel for a Simon & Schuster company.

"I've published two children's books for Candlewick Press and three, so far, for Simon & Schuster," Easton said. "I've been fortunate. My teen novels have won awards."

Easton described "Aftershock" as a tragic story, but funny and emotional at the same time. "It's about masculinity. The book addresses the difficulties of being male in a society that demands repression of feelings, violence, and all the things that make manhood hard to attain," she said.

"A sub-theme about the affect of the Iraq war on families also winds its way through a layered plot," she added.

"The book took two years to write, but I'm happy with it," Easton said. She went on to say that the novel is book number one of a two-book deal with Simon & Schuster. She also has a two-book deal with Random House and a one-book deal with Dutton - all major publishers.

"Dutton called and asked me to write a novel for them about spirituality," Easton said. "It was a pleasant surprise.

"Publishers have been asking me to write young adult novels, but I also plan to write children's books as well as adult novels. I have an adult novel written, but it needs a little revising," she said.

"Creativity is all I can do," she said. And creative she is. A born inductive thinker, the prolific author plays piano, writes music, and has written two plays that have been performed by several companies. Her play "Ordinary Objects" was performed in the late 1980s, and the Cleveland Public Theater produced "The Modern Heart and Housing," a satire on corrupt government agencies.

When asked the standard questions about her inspirations and when she decided to become a writer, Easton was quick to answer. "I loved books and reading since I was a kid," she said. "My inspirations were "Alice in Wonderland," by Lewis Carroll and the author of "The Wizard of Oz," Frank L. Baum. I knew I was going to write for a living since I was nine, but for some reason I didn't get started until I was 30," she said with a smile.

Blessed with the looks of eternal youth, Easton appears to be a reflection of her young fans. Nonetheless, her accomplishments are many.

Easton spent her formative years in Los Angeles and attended the University of California, San Diego, where she attained a graduate degree in playwriting. She then moved to North Carolina, where she was on the faculty of the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. In 2000, Easton accepted a job in the theater department at the University of Rhode Island. She also taught creative writing at Roger Williams University, and young adult literature at Rhode Island College.

In addition to being a playwright, author and professor, this prolific, energetic woman is a wife and mother. Easton and her therapist/social worker husband, Michael, live with three of their four children, Isabelle, 18, Isaac, 8, and Mollie, 19. Rebecca, 23, lives in Washington, D.C.

Easton has published four novels, "Life History of a Star," "Trouble at Betts Pets," "Canaries and Criminals," and "Walking on Air," which she claims to be her favorite. Her fifth novel, "Aftershock," is available now on Amazon.com and will be available in bookstores throughout the country on Nov. 7.

Her books are available in Jamestown at R&R Gallery. Kelly Easton has lived in Jamestown since 2000.

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