KELLI ESTES earned a degree in business before deciding to try her hand at writing. Six manuscripts, two kids and fifteen years later, her dream of being an author came true in 2015 with the publication of The Girl Who Wrote in Silk, a USA Today Bestseller and winner of the PNWA Nancy Pearl Award and WFWA Star Award (debut). Her second novel, Today We Go Home (Sourcebooks Landmark) will be released September 2019. She’s passionate about stories that help us see how the past shapes who we are today, and how we all have more in common than not.
Read BookTrib’s review of Kelli’s book, Today We Go Home.
Find out more at her website kelliestes.com
The Girl Who Wrote In Silk (2015)
Today We Go Home (2019)
Biggest literary influencers:
I started writing romance before switching to historical and general fiction. I look back at my years as a member of Romance Writers of America with immense gratitude. Romance authors are experts at the craft and business of writing. Julia Quinn taught me about dialogue. From Jane Porter I learned how to be emotionally brave on the page and how to interact with readers at book signings. Elizabeth Boyle taught me about agents and publishers and the importance of always honing my craft. By example, authors such as Susanna Kearsley, Kristin Hannah, Diana Gabaldon, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Cheryl Strayed taught me to write stories that speak deeply to me.
Last book read:
The Bookshop of Yesterdays by Amy Meyerson (I loved it!)
The book that changed your life:
Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. I adored this book so much and sobbed while reading it, which made me love it even more. It was Sarah’s Key that made me decide to try my hand at writing dual timelines. That decision completely changed my writing and earned me my first agent and first sale.
Your favorite literary character:
Pippi Longstocking (by Astrid Lindgren). I was a child who yearned for the autonomy of adulthood so this little freckled girl who lived on her own and commanded great adventures really appealed to me. Pippi is unconventional, wholly unique, true to herself, and great at putting arrogant and condescending grown-ups in their place. She doesn’t care what anyone else thinks about her and she treats her friends kindly. What’s not to love?
Currently working on:
I’m currently researching four different ideas. I’m not sure which one will be my next book but it will certainly be another dual timeline with characters from two time periods connected by an interesting historic event or era.
Words to live by:
A year from now, what will you look back and wish you’d done? Do it now.
Advice to new and aspiring authors:
Learn all that you can about writing and then, when you sit down to write, set it all aside and listen only to your own voice. Also, read voraciously.
Articles / Reviews:
“Today We Go Home shines an illuminating light on history and the female soldiers who have served this country from the Civil War to Afghanistan today. Kelli Estes passionately brings the past to life, interweaving the story of two women from different centuries whose journey toward hope is timeless.”
—Gwendolyn Womack, USA Today bestselling author of The Fortune Teller and The Time Collector
“Carefully crafted and perfectly paced, [The Girl Who Wrote in Silk] takes readers on a deeply satisfying, memorable journey. Part mystery and part romance, the novel is also a fascinating look at an often forgotten period of Pacific Northwest history and a moving reminder of the stories we all share.”
“Illuminating, sympathetic, and deeply human, Today We Go Home shines a much-needed light on the brave, bold women of all eras whose military service puts even more than their lives on the line.”
—Greer Macallister, USA Today bestselling author of Woman 99 and The Magician’s Lie
“Riveting. The novel brings the Civil War era to life and effectively links it to contemporary times.”
“This story is compelling, heart wrenching, and absolutely a beautiful read.”