What do most people do when they go through a midlife crisis – buy a sports car or get a makeover? Not Kelley Grealis. Her career midlife crisis reignited her passion for creative writing.
A worker-bee by day, writer by night, Kelley is the author of The Descendant Vampire Series. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband and their two cats, riding her Harley, enjoying what few days of sunshine there are in Cleveland, and dreaming up the next story she wants to tell. Kelley is a graduate of both Baldwin Wallace College and Cleveland State University. Connect with her at http://www.KelleyGrealis.com.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and the surrounding suburbs. You can definitely see the Cleveland influence in my stories. I set The Descendant Vampire Series in the fictional town of Buzzard Hill which is loosely based on the real township of Hinckley. Growing up, I frequented the Hinckley Reservation where I swam in the lake, hiked Whipps Ledges, and walked around the park. I have fond memories of the area and decided there was no better place to set my book than home. Plus, Hinckley is known as the place where the buzzards return every March 15. This event, and the symbolism of the buzzard, fit perfectly with my vampire theme.
Other locations also appear in my books. Rattlesnake Island is an actual island in the Lake Erie Islands. I used the location fictitiously as a vampire hang out. There are lots of rumors about who inhabits the island and the only way you can get on the island is if you know someone. All the secrecy surrounding the real island played right into my vampire theme. Castle Adena is named after Adena, Ohio and the sportsmen lodge where my husband and I used to ATV. Book 2 has scenes from the annual Buzzards Day Festival. You'll also see scenes in Caverns Point Park which is loosely based on Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio.
When did you first start writing?
I wrote a lot when I was younger, mostly poetry and short stories. Somewhere around the 6th grade, I attempted my first novel, but never made it past the first 5 pages. I still think about that story and may eventually write it.
I started writing novels in 2009. I attribute my career mid-life crisis for reigniting my passion for writing. At that time, the company I had been working for was acquired and the status of my job uncertain. That event caused me to reflect on what I was doing for a living, and although nothing was wrong with it, I realized I was professionally unfulfilled. I felt there had to be something else out there for me. At that same time, I had finished reading a popular series of books, the premise of which was so simple I couldn't believe I hadn't thought of it myself. As I stewed over these two events, I concluded that I was going to write a novel. And I haven't looked back since!