Award-winning author Carla Kelly is a veteran of the New York and international publishing world. Carla is best known for her Regency Romances, those novels of manner and wit, made popular more than two centuries ago by Jane Austen. Carla has made certain types of Regencies her own, particularly novels and stories about people who are not lords and ladies. Many of them are hard-working and hard-fighting members of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines in the Channel Fleet, and the British Army on the Spanish Peninsula.
Carla’s interested in the Regency Era is mainly fueled by her scholarly interest in the Napoleonic Wars on land and sea. She credits her own upbringing with some of this interest. As the daughter of an officer in the U.S. Navy, she crossed the 180th Meridian as a child, and has the certificates to prove that she is a member in good standing of The Domain of the Golden Dragon, since the age of 13 months.
Carla’s other major historical interest is the U.S. Indian Wars (1854-1890). She began her writing career writing short stories about the people who lived in army garrisons throughout the American West. She wrote these stories as a direct result of working as a ranger in the National Park Service at Fort Laramie National Historic Site. Currently, she has gone back another century to write a series about a brand inspector and his wife in 18th century New Mexico, when it was a crown colony of Spain. Other novels set in the West are forthcoming, probably along with more Regencies.
Readers and reviewers enjoy Carla’s no-nonsense, no-frills writing, which she can trace directly to her high school (yes, high school) training in journalism. Her stories are noted for historical accuracy and wry humor, featuring ordinary people who do extraordinary things, when called upon (much like people she knows today).
Carla’s Westerns reflect her interest in turn-of-the-century Wyoming ranching, coal mining, and the exodus of former Americans living in revolutionary Mexico. Some of these novels include the history of Mormons historically involved in those events. Others feature her continuing interest in open-range ranching, and a personal favorite, Yellowstone National Park in its early days.
Carla has done some non-fiction work, too, editing the fur trade journal of Swiss painter Rudolf F. Kurz, and writing a history of Fort Buford (North Dakota), the site of Sitting Bull’s 1881 surrender to U.S. Army forces. Included in her non-fiction work is a collection of her Prairie Lite columns written for a North Dakota daily newspaper.
But historical fiction remains Carla’s first interest. She is noted among readers and writers for the accuracy of her historical research, principally because she is a historian and it matters that the details be correct.
Carla’s varied employments has included public relations work at hospitals and a hospice; contract research for the State Historical Society of North Dakota; adjunct professor at a North Dakota university; reporter for a small North Dakota daily newspaper; and a ranger in the National Park Service. She has an undergraduate degree in Latin American History from Brigham Young University, and a master’s degree in Indian Wars/Historiography from University of Louisiana, Monroe.
In her free time, Carla likes to flop on her couch and read crime fiction, and what history interests her at the time. She lives in Idaho Falls, Idaho.