I’m Kelsey Gietl, a St. Louis, Missouri native, theatre enthusiast, and author of the Hope or High Water historical fiction series. For more information on my novels, visit my Books page.
Well, what’s my story?
As a child, I grew up with books in my hands. My mother was a teacher, so my parents insisted on learning to read at an early age. Whether it was Dr. Seuss or Nancy Drew, books were always the one element of life I could be certain of. No matter how confusing things were, I could always rely on their pages to transport me far away from my current troubles.
Hence, it was no surprise that my library card became more precious to me than gold. The local library was less than a mile from our house, ensuring many quick trips after school or on weekends, and a perfect job shelving books my senior year of high school. The library, any library, is still my favorite place to be. If it was possible to have a beach in the Midwest, and someone built an open-air library on it, I think perfection would be achieved.
Throughout the years, I wrote short stories, poems, and two prior short novels (one historical fiction and one mystery that will remain tucked away in a drawer). In high school and college, I designed and managed technical aspects for our theatrical productions, a different, yet equally beautiful type of storytelling. As an adult, I have been fortunate enough to find jobs that deal with writing or communications in one form or another. Belle and Rapunzel were my favorite Disney princesses, Rory Gilmore assured me I wasn’t odd for smelling books, and no one was surprised when I sorted into Ravenclaw.
Our house was, and still is, abundant with literature.
Why historical fiction? Isn’t that just obsolete stories about dead people?
Simply put, today is but another moment in history.
Several years ago, I researched my family’s genealogy, eventually compiling four large binders worth of information. The stories I found were incredible, sometimes because of great achievements, but more often because the people were so ordinary. So much like most of us alive now. Their greatest achievement was the life they left behind, the children and grandchildren they created.
These incredible everyday people are the ones I strive to reflect in my characters’ stories. Historical fiction exists because the past always has something new to teach us. Every day, I learn a bit more about the people who came before us, and in turn, discover a newfound appreciation for the life I am blessed to have. The past and the present are more alike that we may realize, or perhaps care to admit.
Why won’t the Avengers call me back? Maybe because I have an Incredibles kind of life…
I like to think of writing novels as my super power. By day, I hold down a full-time career like Superman’s Clark Kent. In the early morning and evening, I take on the role of wife and mother like Bewitched’s Samantha Stephens. But at night? At night, I create entire worlds with my mind. And, seriously, how awesome is that?