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Deborah Bostock-Kelley


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Deborah Bostock-Kelley was born in Tampa, Florida, and spent her childhood, teen, and adulthood writing plays, short stories, song lyrics, and poetry. She still resides in her home town with her husband Ken and daughter Meghan.

Short Story Collections

Damaged Goods: Narrative Unendings from Inside My Heart and Mind
The Write One, 2009

Reviewed by Jason Makansi


 Interview with Deborah Bostock-Kelley

The Short Review: How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?

Deborah Bostock-Kelley: The first drafts of Damaged Goods: Narrative Unendings from Inside My Heart and Mind were fairly quick to write, but the revisions and rewriting is what took the most time. Two of the stories started taking form during my second year in college. Years later, as a working mom, I returned to school and took an incredible Creative Writing class. The last three stories began as emotional exercises from that class. All in all, it took about ten years to compile.

TSR: Did you have a collection in mind when you were writing them?

DBK: It really wasn’t a collection while I was writing the stories. I didn’t even realize I had an "unending" type of theme until I read a few of the stories to my best friend. I tend to write about relationships because you write what you know. Some of the characters are based on people that are close to my heart.

TSR: How did you choose which stories to include and in what order?

DBK: When I started putting together the concept, I noticed five of the stories really seemed to fall into a perfect pattern – all the transitional periods in life: high school, college, first love and last love, marriage, family, empty-nest and death. I decided that would be the order for the book.

TSR: What does the word "story" mean to you?

DBK:  To me, story means to paint a picture with words, to give my readers an emotional smorgasbord to pick and choose from and to not necessarily offer a neat, tidy happy ending.

TSR: Do you have a "reader" in mind when you write stories?

DBK:  The reader I have in mind when writing is an older teen and young adult audience, most likely female, but I have some male readers, as well.

TSR: Is there anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your collection, anything at all?

DBK: Did the stories make you feel? I wanted to give a voice to that kid that sat alone on the bus, to the harried mom watching her life pass her by, to the wife that wonders where her husband goes at night. Truly, it’s about relationships; how you communicate with one another and don’t value what you have when you have it. It doesn’t matter if you’re fifteen or fifty, everybody has or will have a 'what if' moment in their lifetime. What if I had only told him/her how I really felt? What if I stood up for myself? What if I had kept my mouth shut? What if? The possibilities are endless.  Did I accomplish what I set out to do?

TSR: How does it feel knowing that people are buying your book?

DBK: It's absolutely a mixture of mind-blowing, wonderful and terrifying all at the same time. When you write, you are sharing an intimate part of yourself and any reader basically has the opportunity to rate your soul. Though a review is one person’s opinion, good or bad, it still leaves an imprint on how you feel about sitting behind the keyboard the next time around. I always dreamed of being a writer like Judy Blume, but my writing has always been much darker. I'm a very happy person in reality, so it’s rather amusing what I write about. When I was a kid, books were my life. I'd go to the library and escape into Judy Blume stories. My book is also going to be available through Hillsborough County Public Library Systems, so it’s amazing to think someone might do the same thing with mine.

TSR: What are you working on now?

DBK: I've written a short play, am assembling several more short stories, poetry and have a longer children’s series fiction book in the process.

TSR: What are the three most recent short story collections you've read?

DBK: The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, The Guy Not Taken and honestly, I can’t remember the third. My teenage daughter got me hooked on Twilight, so I just finished the last book in that series.