Inspiration loves company: Meet Jill Kelly

Sage CohenPeople I admire7 Comments

Hello and happy 2016! It’s been a while, and I’ve missed you!

My blog has been quiet while I spent a good part of 2015 hunkered down writing my next book, Fierce on the Page. It’s coming to bookshelves near you in July from Writer’s Digest Books, and I’m excited to tell you more about that soon.

jill_authorIIToday, what has me totally jazzed is an introduction. I’d like you to meet Jill Kelly, a friend, colleague, author, wise woman and creative spirit who has become a very important person in my life in the last year. The more I know about Jill, the more I want everyone I care about to be in her orbit, too.

Jill is editor, author, and painter. She works as a text and developmental editor and coach for writers and other creatives. Through a disciplined process that she’s been cultivating since 2000, Jill has written a memoir, four novels, and two nonfiction books, one on creativity and one on sugar addiction.

I just finished Jill’s novel When Your Mother Doesn’t. The story immediately entered my bloodstream at the evening rest stop where a very surprising transaction launches the novel’s journey. Through decades of unspooling history, secrets, pain, and transformation, the novel showed me deep in my bones what becomes of daughters when their mother can’t love them as they need to be loved.

Next on my bedside table is Sober Truths, Jill Kelly’s memoir that tells the stories of how she lost herself through alcoholism and recovered that self in sobriety. When the memoir was a finalist for a prestigious Oregon Book Award for literary excellence, The Oregon Book Award judge had this to say about Sober Truths:

“Forget James Frey. Jill Kelly’s memoir of alcohol addiction and recovery is more believable and, arguably, better written. She doesn’t wallow in self-pity but gives a vivid and honest account of what it means to give up drinking and find the way to a new life. Much of Kelly’s memoir centers on what ordinary life is like after the treatment center and will be valuable reading for anyone looking to deal with on-going recovery issues that present themselves in terms of anxiety, loneliness, and self-doubt. Kelly’s eventual success in learning to deal with her demons is inspiring indeed. Her colorful self-portrait is on the cover of this book, testament to a resurgent creative spirit.” —Barbara Sjoholm, author and founder of Seal Press

Books get read when people love them and share them. And I would love to see Jill Kelly’s books in your hands and then passed on to the readers in your tribe. Jill has generously given me a copy of When Your Mother Doesn’t. If you’d like a copy, share a comment in this post about a book you can’t put down. I’ll draw a winner from the first 10 comments. And if you’d like one of Jill’s other books, she just might send you one directly! Write her at jill at jillkellyauthor dot com to learn more.

Happy reading!

7 Comments on “Inspiration loves company: Meet Jill Kelly”

  1. The book I currently can’t put down is The Folded Clock: A Diary, by Heidi Julavits. The chapters are headed by dates, but they’re not listed in order, and each chapter begins with the word “Today.” On a surface level, this makes everything feel like it’s happening concurrently, but Julavits revisits experiences, her relationship to people and objects and places, and shows how she’s changed in relation to them. This is a great meditation on time, how it passes, how we can “hold it” in ways to make some meaning out of our lives.

  2. Thank you for turning me on to Jill Kelly!

    Two books: I’m re-reading The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti – some of her passages are literally breathtaking, I read and re-read them and then hold the book to my heart. It is a tumbling ride of characters and place full of the unexpected, bizarre and beautiful.

    It’s Okay NOT to Share by Heather Shucker – one of the best parenting books I’ve happened upon. Well crafted, and useful (with end notes of “to try” and “to avoid” lists for quick reference. After I read a chapter or two, I notice that my orientation to myself and to others in my life (adults too, not only kiddos!) changes….I’m less agenda driven, more present to the unfolding experience of those around me, more tuned into them going for what they want and the preciousness of each person’s unique self-expression.

    1. Hannah Tinti was in my graduate creative writing program, and I’ve been intending to read this book, Allegra! I plan to join you in the tumble soon! I love the image of you holding the book to your heart. And I love the parenting book suggestion, too…It’s amazing how the deep dive into parenting gives us back more of ourselves…Adding this to my to-read list. Thank you!!

  3. Hi Sage,
    A book that I love reading,rereading, recommending and sharing is ” The Elegance of the Hedgehog” by Muriel Barbery. It was written in 2006 and was on the bestseller list in France for 1 year.
    It was then sensitively translated into English by Alison Anderson.
    A book that not only reads beautifully, but resonates with me as deeply feminine.
    The title is so very apt and becomes more visible and understandable in the reading of it.
    When I find copies in charity shops, I am compelled to buy it as “someone” magically shows up that I can gift it too,and these are people that are previously not known to me.
    I love ” Writing the Life Poetic”
    Thank you.

    1. Thanks so much for this wonderful suggestion, Thecla! I can’t wait to read this. And I’m thrilled to hear that you love “Writing the Life Poetic.” Thanks for letting me know!

  4. Thecla Finnan is our lucky (random) winner of When Your Mother Doesn’t by Jill Kelly. Thanks to all of you for your great recommendations!

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