Kelly Parra’s earliest stories were told with paintbrushes, but upon discovering the drama and forbidden love of romance and suspense novels, those paintbrushes were replaced with a keyboard.
Now a multi-published author in young adult and romance fiction, she has created memorable characters such as a graffiti artist in Graffiti Girl, a psychic teen in Invisible Touch, orphan monster hunters in her Supernatural Hunters series, and a tough undercover narc in her novel for adults, Criminal Instinct. A two-time RITA finalist, she divides her time between her novels, short fiction, and the adventures of motherhood, where she juggles her home life with two children, a tattooed husband, a sweet poodle, and a rowdy pit bull. Discover more of her writing at www.KellyParra.com.
The longer bio . . .
Kelly Parra is a California writer of multicultural teen novels, commercial fiction, and short stories. Her young adult novels, Graffiti Girl (MTV/Gallery Books, 2007), and Invisible Touch (MTV/Gallery Books, 2008), are included in the California High School Reading Lists by the California Readers Organization, and her novel Graffiti Girl is part of the National Book Foundations’ “BookupNYC” program, encouraging middle grade students to read. Her works have also been nominated for honors such as Latino Young Adult Novel Top Pick by Latinidad®, Best Young Adult for Romance Writers of America®, and the Tomas Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award.
Kelly’s teen works are known for including familiar aspects of her California community, and invoking positive messages that young readers can relate to. Her books have been featured in the newspapers: Salinas Californian, Monterey Herald, and the Monterey Bay Ink, and several on-line literary websites. Published authors and reviewers have touted Kelly’s books as “compelling,” “exciting,” and “page-turning.”
Criminal Instinct is Kelly’s debut into adult fiction as a launch title with Carina Press. New York Times Bestselling author, Dianna Love, says,“Kelly brings a distinctive voice and style to her intense suspense novels that sucks you in from page one.” Kelly’s latest Jaz and Blake Supernatural Hunters series (Buzz Books, USA) is also included in the anthologies, Prom Dates to Die For and Something Wicked.
Kelly resides in her hometown near the Monterey Coast, and is currently writing her next novel. Discover more of her writing at www.KellyParra.com.
A Note From Kelly . . .
I’m often asked how I found my journey to becoming a writer. I was born in the agricultural town of Salinas, California, eight miles from the ocean and with a fantastic view of peaceful, flowing mountains. I spent much of my adolescence in the suburbs of the Bay area, until returning to my hometown to finish high school.
Although, I moved around a lot as a child, one thing remained constant throughout, and that was expressing myself through creativity.
My first memory of storytelling was in the third grade. My best friend and I would watch movies and swoon over the handsome heroes. We began to write short story romances, reading them to each other, and giggling about first kisses.
Art became an important focus in my life in the fifth grade, when my teacher asked the class to try to draw a replica of a snake as closely as possible. When she discovered I drew the snake nearly identical to the picture, she told me I was an artist and should stick with it. She then helped me to write and illustrate a children’s book for our school competition, granting me a language arts award that still sits on my writing desk. The story was titled The Adventures of Dudley Dolphin.
I never forgot her nor did I ever stop drawing.
In junior high and high school I was known to my friends as the girl who could draw, which later influenced me to write Graffiti Girl. Through my turbulent teen years, I read the dramas by V.C. Andrews and wrote angst-filled poetry. After graduating, I attended a graphic designs program and struggled to find a job in the competitive market to no avail. I went into sales and accounting and married one of my best friends from high school. And it was when I was pregnant with my first child that I rediscovered my love for reading with Nora Roberts.
For years, I read, wrote, researched, and wrote. Joined on-line groups and followed a dream that seemed too far out of reach–to become a published author. And finally, one day, my dream came true.
Since I sold my first book there have been many ups and downs in my publishing career and I’ve thought maybe, just maybe, I’m not cut out for this industry. But then I remember the movies and love stories that still captivate me to this day and remind myself that I read and write underdog heroes who fight for a happily ever after in the end. I write to express my creativity that has always been a part of me. I write because I love a good story.
For those of you who have read my stories, I hope you’ll stick with me as publishing transforms digitally, and for those who have yet to do so, I hope one day you will.
Frequently Asked Questions
QUESTION: Who are you?
ANSWER: So nice of you to be curious! Well, I’m a writer of commercial fiction. I enjoy writing Young Adult and Women’s Fiction with a faster pace than some literary works. My books are Graffiti Girl, Invisible Touch, and Supernatural Hunters for readers who enjoy reading about the teenager experience, and Criminal Instinct for those who love romance and crime stories. If you read any of my books, you’ll discover urban stories filled with fast-paced events.
QUESTION: What made you want to become a writer?
ANSWER: I had a late start here. Art was a major part of my life for many years. I earned a certification in graphic design, but after I married and had my first child I began reading fiction again. Some stories were so inspiring and just “wowed” me, and I began to read everyday. It was almost like I could play the stories like movies in my head. When I read about an author who was writing at home, I thought I could start writing myself since I had such a visual imagination. First it was just a hobby, but after meeting some other great writers on-line, I became more dedicated and worked harder. I knew if I wanted to make my dream come true, I had to take steps to make it happen. I’m so glad I did!
QUESTION: Why do you write characters with multicultural backgrounds?
ANSWER: I am Mexican, Filipino, and Italian, and growing up with mixed ethnicity was an unique experience. It feels natural to write characters who come from diverse backgrounds as well.
QUESTION: I would love to become a writer one day, too! Can you help me out, maybe even read my story?
ANSWER: It’s so great that you want to become a writer! I wish I could help each person who asks me, but I just don’t have the time help out everyone and write my own stories. Please research on-line for tips on writing or register with creative writing workshops and sharpen your skills. This was my first step on becoming a writer. Good luck!
QUESTION: Graffiti Girl is written almost like a movie, will it ever be made into a movie?
ANSWER: Wouldn’t that be awesome! Graffiti Girl was optioned to producers at one point, however, a movie was never made. It was a thrilling and humbling experience!
QUESTION: I’m a reader of your young adult books writing as Kelly Parra. Will I enjoy your books for adults?
ANSWER: My adult books are aimed for readers 20 years and up. So if you are an adult, YES, please read my adult titles. I promise to give you a fast-paced story of suspense and danger. If you are under 20-years-old, you are best suited for Graffiti Girl or Invisible Touch due to mature language and adult content in my adult books.
QUESTION: Why did you decide to publish with an E-book publisher instead of a print publisher?
ANSWER: We are now in the digital age with hand-held reading devices, such as e-book readers. E-books are a faster, low-cost convenience for readers, and I am embracing this digital phenomenon and recommend e-readers for all book-lovers.
QUESTION: I’m not familiar with E-books and I would like to read your novel Criminal Instinct. Could you suggest how I can read your book?
ANSWER: My advice is to research e-book readers to find the best fit for you. I do not endorse these digital readers, however, these are some of the devices that are frequently talked about on the Internet: Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, the Sony E-reader, or the Apple iPad. You can even read e-books if you own a iPhone/iTouch or mobile phone with specific apps. E-books can also be read right on your personal computer or laptop with Adobe Reader software programs.
QUESTION: When will your next book come out?
ANSWER: As fast as I can write it. LOL! I hope to continue to write both young adult books and adult books, but I have to admit I am one of those extremely slow writers. There are awesome writers who are able to write a book in just a few months but I am not one of them. Writing comes in fits and starts with me and I’ve grown to accept that about myself. I hope to finish a book soon. Wish me luck!