About Carla

Carla Kelly

Award-winning author Carla Kelly is a veteran of the New York and international publishing world. The author of more than thirty novels and novellas for Donald I. Fine Co., Signet, and Harlequin, Carla is the recipient of two Rita Awards (think Oscars for romance writing) from Romance Writers of America and two Spur Awards (think Oscars for western fiction) from Western Writers of America.
Recently, she’s been writing Regency romances (think Pride and Prejudice) set in the Royal Navy’s Channel Fleet during the Napoleonic Wars between England and France. She comes by her love of the ocean from her childhood as a Navy brat.
Carla’s history background makes her no stranger to footnote work, either. During her National Park Service days at the Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site, Carla edited Friedrich Kurz’s fur trade journal. She recently completed a short history of Fort Buford, where Sitting Bull surrendered in 1881.
Following the “dumb luck” principle that has guided their lives, the Kellys recently moved to Wellington, Utah, from North Dakota and couldn’t be happier in their new location. In her spare time, Carla volunteers at the Railroad and Mining Museum in Helper, Utah. She likes to visit her five children, who live here and there around the United States. Her favorite place in Utah is Manti, located after a drive on the scenic byway through Huntington Canyon.
And why is she so happy these days? Carla is enjoying writing for an LDS audience now, where she feels most at home.

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43 thoughts on “About Carla

  1. I am a member of a wonderful book club and we love your books. We are reading Borrowed Light and Enduring Light for our July meeting and would love to invite Carla to attend. Please email me back so we can chat.
    Thanks so very much.
    Cindy Soderstrom
    Salt Lake City, Utah

  2. I love the website! I made it a favorite. I checked your blog today because my nephew and his family have now moved to Mt. Pleasant from Huntington and they were here today to pick up my Sister from Salem OR and take her up there. They were full of fire news (Her Dad has now lost two grazing pastures and will be forced to sell his stock or buy hay for them) so I got to wondering how you are faring in all of this. Your blog is always so informative. The mountains around Ogden are tinder dry — so far they’ve had only small fires on the East Bench, but it’s only a matter of time I would guess. It really steams me to see firework stands still. Thanks for all the info. Your Friend, Keitha

  3. I’ve read (and loved) several of your Regencies, most recently Miss Grimsley’s Oxford Career. Characters in romance books are so often cardboard cutouts walking through their familiar paces to a happy ending, but your heroes and heroines are wonderfully imperfect. They’re so real in fact, that I almost worry about some of them–I mean, they’re living in wartime, without antibiotics, and at a time when women commonly died in childbirth! Here’s my question: do you ever kind of know in your heart that the couple’s time together will be a short one? And if you do, how does that affect the way you write the book?

    • Interesting question, Dee. Of all my novels, Miss Whittier Makes a List is the only one where I wondered if this would be a happily ever after. They were so different, and there is war. Mostly, I just write as though everyone is going to have a long and happy life. Who of us knows, even now, what will happen?

  4. I very much enjoyed “Mrs Drew Plays Her Hand.” Have you considered writing books about the family. It is always so comforting to read books with characters that you know from the beginning because they appeared in other books. How about a book on Helen or Felicity ? I just finished the book this morning and already miss the family!

    • Beth, that’s been a popular book, and I have always enjoyed Mrs. Drew. I’ve thought about the girls, too. Probably the reason I never wrote a sequel about them is that it would have taken me out of the Regency era, what was all Signet ever wanted from me.

  5. Carla, Read the book Adventures on the Upper Missouri, my great great grandfather was among those who worked at these forts during the time frame of Letellier. I would like to ask you a few questions.
    Maydean Tilton

  6. I’m so glad to see that your Signet Regencies are coming out in e format. I’ve read so many to tatters. Any chance that Mrs. McVinnie’s London Season will be released any time soon? It is one of my favorites.

  7. I’ve just come upon your website and had an urge to tell you I find it delightfult. I love the tree and the lonely woman, the mountains and the misty colours. “Here’s to the Ladies” remains my favourite Carla Kelly book, though others try to push their way in! Thank you.

    • It’s quite a romantic looking website, isn’t it? Apparently, the reply part of it was just activated, which is why I’m so slow to respond. Here’s to the Ladies is a personal favorite, mainly because I loved working at Fort Laramie, where some of these stories are set.

  8. Hello mrs Kelly.

    I just want to tell you that me and my friend love our copies of your books, even thou we read them in our own language and not the original english.
    The latest one we have read is “The Admiral’s Penniless Bride” and we really love it! You have a great talent with words and putting them together in a way that is easy and fun to read.
    We laugh out loud and read to eachother the parts we laughed about.

    We have one question for you, are you planning to write more about mr and mrs Bright and their child? We really want to know if they get a daughter or a son.

    Among other books, we also have your three books with the sisters “Marrying the Captain”, “The surgeons lady” and “Marrying the royal marine” and in them we get to follow them a bit more. I really want to read about the Admiral some more and so does my best friend.

    Happy Holidays to you Mrs Kelly and thank you for your lovely books!

    Liisa Julin & Elin Eriksson.

    • Liisa, thanks for your comments. I’m so slow in even looking at my website, but I promise to reform! As for sequels, alas, no. Personally, I think the Admiral and Mrs. Bright would have a son, but probably more of each!

  9. Hi Carla,
    I just finished reading your new book, “My loving vigil keeping,” and it was so wonderful, that I am now reading it for a second time. Please tell me that there will be a sequel … I so much want to read more about Della and Owen. What a gifted writer you are. The Mr. Otto story in Borrowed Light series is equally heartwarming. Thank you for bringing this era to life in your very funny and memorable characters.

    • Sherry, my apologies for answering this soooo late. Truth is, I’m just not website savvy and hadn’t looked at this in ages. As for a sequel to My Loving Vigil Keeping, I’m seriously considering it, although I have a couple of other books ahead of it in my writing sequence.

  10. Hi Carla,
    It was so great to meet you Monday and I was so impressed with your presentation. You did a fantastic job.
    I have some info on “Lacy” and his projects if you want to email me.
    Can’t wait to get into another of your books.
    I’m so excited that “My Loving Vigil Keeping” might become a movie. That is such an awesome thing. How do you keep from shouting from the roof tops? I have all the confidence on the literary award in May too.

    Take care,

  11. Hi Carla,

    I hope it’s all right to comment here. I couldn’t find an email address for you, but wanted to leave you a note. I always remember Agatha Christie expressing through her author-character Ariadne Oliver how embarrassing it can be when people come up to you and say that they like your books, but I hope you won’t find it so. I’ve read thousands of books in my life (and written considerably less than thousands of stories, but still a few); I was one of those children who would be checking out about twenty books from the Book Bus each week from the time before I could read them myself. Librarian’s daughter, so it might be in the genes (I’m pretty sure that’s where the distressingly anal habit of alphabetising my bookshelves comes from!). :) I’m not that particular about what I read – I’ll give most things a try, but I’m *very* particular about what stays on my keeper shelves. Mostly because I’m not exactly a minimalist and I’m rapidly running out of space. I’ve read all but three of your books in the past few years and own most of them, all of which are firmly in my permanent collection. I’ve unfortunately been struggling with health issues for a while and have spent a much larger part of my twenties than I would like bed-ridden (I have no problem with sleeping in late on the weekends, but being unable to get up on a Monday is a different story). I’m fortunate that I can do a lot of my studies (I’m currently working toward a PhD in Art History) from home and also that I have books to take my mind off things! Your stories have helped me through some very tough times and provided a great deal of inspiration as a writer and historian. Which is all I wanted to say, really! I’m very grateful. And very admiring. There are plenty of good writers out there, but it’s only once in a while that you come across the great ones.

    I’m really pleased to see that you have a new historical novel coming out shortly, as that was what I started with, but I did also read that people have been pestering you for a sequel to “My Loving Vigil Keeping” and I think I’m going to have to add my voice to the clamour! :) I have to admit that I was initially a bit wary of your three Mormon-centered novels, mostly because I really know very little about the faith, but that’s a silly reason to avoid trying books that I was fairly certain would be very good reads. I’m not even exclusively-minded when it comes to religion – I have beliefs and I attend an Anglican church when I’m able, but I was born a Methodist, my father is a Catholic, I went to a high school of another denomination entirely because it had the best arts programme, and as I currently live in a small town (in New Zealand), there are only three options for churches and the Anglican one has beautiful stained glass windows, a secretary who makes amazing cupcakes, and a minister with a sense of humour. I also appreciate books that open me up to new experiences, so I thought “Why NOT a LDS novel?” And they’ve turned out to be among my favourites of your books. I cried at the end of “My Loving Vigil Keeping” and I’m not usually a book-related crier (movies are a different story). I think the last time was ten years ago in the school library no less, when I finished “The Bronze Horseman” and didn’t realise there was going to be a sequel. But I remember very well when the Pike River mine disaster happened here in 2010 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pike_River_Mine_disaster). Disaster on a smaller scale numerically, but I imagine that the devastation of the families was equal to what was felt in Winter Quarters. I absolutely loved both Della and Owen, and was genuinely worried for them at the end of the book, imagining how difficult the next year or so for them was going to be, trying to restablish themselves, dealing with probable survivors’ guilt and PTSD as well as newlywed bliss. And I have to admit I’m very curious to see if Della eventually finds her mother. So yes, adding to the clamour!

    Anyway, I think I’ve taken up quite enough space on your comments page. I’ve contacted three authors in my life, but they’ve all been people who have unknowingly made a considerable difference to me, and it seems like at least letting you (and them) know so balances the scale a little!

    Kind regards,

    • Laura, there will be a sequel to Loving Vigil in about a year. I write for three publishers and my writing schedule is pretty tight. ANd yes, you can look for more on her mother. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments. I love to write, but I’m not so good at look at my website…

  12. I work for Davis County Library and we have many people anxiously waiting for your title “The Admiral’s Penniless Bride” Do you know when that will be published?

    • Yikes, I’m so tardy about looking at by website. Mea culpa. The Admiral’s Penniless Bride is out now in a whole bunch of languages. My next HarlequinHIstory is The Wedding Ring Quest, and it’ll be out in March 2014.

  13. Hi Carla -want to thank you for joining us at Scofield during our Girl’s Camp! Was so kind of you to drive the canyon for us! The girls loved the experience of seeing and learning about such an interesting piece of history. I loved their comments afterwards as they discussed what life would be like if 200 boyfriends, husbands, brothers and fathers passed away all at once (especially the lack of boyfriend part) :). We feel lucky and blessed to have had the opportunity to meet and hear from the excellent author that you are! Thanks again! I’m excited to read more of your books-so much fun:)
    Love, Trieste and the 9th ward girls

  14. Karla,
    I very much enjoyed your book “My Loving Vigil Keeping.” I bought it at your booth at the Malad Valley Welsh Festival. I would like to make a presentation on it at next year’s festival–perhaps featuring you yourself reading from the book and commenting on your research into the Welsh materials featured in the story.

    This would, I think, be a good followup on my discussion of the Welsh diaspora in my presentation on Leslie Norris which you attended, I believe.

    Please let me know if you are interested in such a presentation.
    Norman Davis

  15. Thank you Carla Kelly for writing such delightful characters. I have been reading your western books and am thrilled with every moment reading. Yes and just finished Mrs. Drew. Is there a booklist we can get on for your new books?

  16. I dearly enjoyed reading Susanna and Joe’s story in “The Hesitant Heart.” Will Nick/Aaron ever be featured in a follow-up book? As he was instrumental in returning Tommy to Susanna, he deserves to have his own story, and I would love to learn more about this quirky character.

    • Glad you liked Her Hesitant Heart. It’s a personal favorite, because I worked at Fort Laramie NHS as a ranger/historian, and all the stuff I write about is or was really there, although the hospital is just a stabilized ruin now. The book is strictly a stand-alone, but I got awfully fond of Susanna and Joe, too. Aaron is loosely based on a fellow who showed up in fort business at Fort Buford. I did a research project for the state of ND, and came across a character much like that. In fact, if you like Indian Wars fiction, you might like my short story collection, Here’s to the Ladies: Stories of the Frontier Army. It’s on Amazon, along with everything else.

    • Michelle, I apologize about that. I believe B&N was informed that I would not be there, because I was scheduled for a booksigning in Cardston, Alberta. Some SNAFU happened. BUT, if you have time, I’ll be at the Orem Barnes & Noble this coming Friday, November 22, from 4-5 p.m. for a booksigning. After that I’ll be at the King’s English Bookstore in SLC from 7-9 that same night. Crazy…

  17. A big thank you for writing such delightful, clean novels. I cut my teeth on “Borrowed Light” and became truly hooked on your writing style, so was excited when I found the sequel, “Enduring Light”.
    I just finished my 4th reading of My Loving Vigil and loved every minute of it all over again. When reading this novel for the first time, it became very personal for me when Della took a teaching job at Winter Quarters, Utah. My grandmother lived in Sterling (at Funk’s Lake-now Palisade State Park), got her teaching degree at Wasatch Academy and taught in Winter Quarters in 1911-1912. I even have a picture of her sitting on a huge boulder overlooking the canyon with other teachers (on an outing). And what an extra delight when you involved Jesse & Amanda Knight in the story. I am a descendent of the Knight famly (thru Anna Knight).
    As a result of this book my husband and I drove to Scofield this summer and visited the cemetery there. What a hallowed place. I was wishing we could have gone up into the Winter Quarters area, but being on private property now made it impossible. Oh, well. I wish I had known more about Winter Quarters when Grandma was alive so I could have asked more questions about her time there. We did talk to a summer resident in Scoville and he showed us a book that had been written by Deborah Balzotti “Utah Ghost Towns-Uncovering Winter Quarters”. In your acknowledgements, you mentioned her help. As I have been unable to locate this book or find a way to contact her, any help on your part would be greatly appreciated. I would really like to have that book!
    I love to ready – Thanks for writing such delightful stories.

    • Thanks, Jeanette, for your comments, and your Scofield connections. Alas, yes, winter quarters is off limits. Still, all yo would find there are the two walls of the Wasatch Store, and byond that, the school foundations. The church foundations are this side of the Wasatch Store. There are some mechanical building foundations and ruins, but that’s about it. The number 4 is up a narrower canyon, and gated, too, as it’s someone else’s property. Both the no. 1 and 4 portals are bricked/concreted over.

      Glad you’ve been to the cemetery. I’ve given umpteen cemetery talks, something I enjoy doing. You may think this is nuts, but I am deeply aware that “my guys” know when I’m there.

      Also, just a Heads up. I also write for Harlequin Historicals, and a Seattle publisher. These books are more mature, although nothing I’m embarrassed about, or I wouldn’t do it. (Some readers get really indignant and a tad self-righteous.) In fact, you might like TheDouble Cross, novel set in 1780s New Mexico, on the edge of Comancheria, quite a dangerous place. I’m having a booksigning for Double Cross this Friday in Salt Lake City at the king’s English Book store.

        • Thanks so very much for the lead on the Winter Quarters book. I’ll follow up on that ASAP. FYI- I fell in love with your style of writing and am constantly on the lookout tp buy any of your books I can find – I love them all – regardless of the publisher. They are all done tastefully. Thanks again, J

        • Oops! I forgot to ask if you were still going to be at the Barnes & Noble book store in Orem tomorrow (Friday) as you blogged earlier ??? If so, was hoping to get up there to get your latest book. J

  18. You’re Awesome! Keep up the great writing.

    My 2nd Great Grandmother (Jensine Hostmark Grundtvig) was stolen by Indians on 22 Sep 1865 near Ft. Laramie. She was in a Mormon wagon train headed by Miner G. Atwood. There are several versions as to what happened to her. Did you ever run across this incident in any of your studies?

    Thanks for all!

    • Actually, yes. I live in Wellington, Utah, which lists Jensine’s husband as one of the founders. In addition, I edited a study done by Kate Kelly, of Torington Wyoming, about that very incident. (which isn’t far from Fort Laramie, where I used to work as a ranger). I have a copy here and I know Kate could send you some. Email me (we’re in and out of town this week) at cworthy47@gmail.com, and I’ll give you Kate’s information.

  19. Carla ,I loved Marriage of Mercy. is there any chance if I beg ,plead, request, bribe that you might be planning to write Nahum’s story in the future ? Pretty Please

      • so sad about that he would make a wonderful hero in your hands . I am hoping to get some gift cards for Christmas so I can get more of your books but I do have one question do the LDS books also have happy endings like traditional romances ?

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