Taking Advantage of Happy Accidents: An Interview with Kelly Elizabeth Huston

Author Kelly Elizabeth Huston and I came together thanks to the Women’s Fiction Writer’s Association. She’s another author I’ve never met and one I’d love to chat with in real life. She writes “women-centric, genre-straddling fiction that always includes laughs and a love story,” and her most recent book, A Girl, Stuck, is third in a series, and it releases tomorrow! So far, things are looking up for it. One reviewer said, “In her third novel, Huston once again reminds us how our painful pasts can leave us stuck, but vulnerability and trust (and let’s be honest, a dreamy, dangerous male co-host doesn’t hurt either) can bring us back out into life again.” 

Welcome, Kelly!

Christina: Congratulations on the upcoming release of A Girl, Stuck , which is the third book in your Found Families trilogy. How does this third book differ from the first two? How is it similar?

Kelly: A Girl, Stuck definitely goes darker than the first two. Tex Miller Is Dead is a fun rom-com. A Very Crowded House (book #2) has a bit of mystery tossed in with a story about all kinds of love, romantic, married love, sibling love, loving friendship, and even post-divorce relationship love. But book #3 involves crime and brief violence on the page. But all the stories include humor, a love story, and an underlying theme of the family we choose versus the one we’re born into. 

Christina: The novel features Harriet “Harry” Smith (first seen in A Very Crowded House), who is “a typically tough private investigator and criminology professor.” One reader said that Harry is “independent, with plenty of hard edges.” Where did Harry come from? Is she modeled after anyone in particular?

Kelly: In many ways she encompasses a lot of what I wish I was. I could use some harder edges. But the foolish notion many of us have at thirty that we have “it” all figured out only to learn we’re not even close…and also that is ok… is pretty universal. My ego hopes so, anyway. She’s every woman, with a heaping side order of kick-ass.

Christina: The same universe connects all three books in the series, though each book can be read as a standalone. Did you set out to write a series connected in that way? Did you encounter any challenges that you didn’t anticipate?

Kelly: It started as a happy accident, but now it is intentional. 100%. I loved one side character (Laney Li) from book #1 Tex Miller Is Dead so much; I wanted to explore her further. But some “writing rules” said I could not tell a story from her POV because she is a different ethnicity and orientation than me, so I still had her in my writing life but in a story the industry says I’m more equipped to tell. Book #3 A Girl, Stuck includes a character (Harriet “Harry” Smith) from book #2 A Very Crowded House. She intrigued me too and became quite eager for me to tell her story. Usually in the wee, dark hours of the morning. Book #4 SEE SADIE JANE RUN (coming in August 2024) includes a side character (Leo Kline) that I adore from book #3…and the pattern continues. I suppose the challenge for me is I see them in a definite order and, of course, hope everyone reads them that way. But because I have zigged and zagged with the subgenres, maybe not everyone who loves a rom-com is going to dig a crime story. It is an excellent example of what NOT to do. Then again, we’re told to write the story we want to read, so here I am writing all kinds of stories.

Christina: Over on the Goodreads page for A Girl, Stuck, you say, “If ever a writer were to admit she had a favorite, this might be it.” Why is that novel your favorite?

Kelly: WOW! I love an interviewer who does her research! As for A Girl, Stuck, I love the characters, their determination, their loyalty, their ability to do right even when it breaks their heart to do it. I also do a lot of research and this one had me down many a rabbit hole, including how to physically fight so I could put it on the page. It challenged me as writer to set a scene and drag the reader through some gasp-worthy “stuff.” It’s a bit of heart breaker, too, but then there are laughs. In the words of Alvah Popov, the Third… it’s “the total package.”

Christina: I love the title of the series: Found Families. When in your writing process did you figure out that you wanted to write about found families? What is it about the theme that compels you to write about it? If you have a found family, who is included in it?

Kelly: That came in hindsight. I had written five complete stand-alone but connected stories and that theme resonated in all them. I don’t make friends easily (I’m surprisingly shy but also a trained actor) or have many close friendships. But I am fiercely loyal and protective of those I do grow close to, no blood required. Those few are family and I can show my warts and all, as they say. And vice versa. No masks, no pretenses. 

Christina: The tagline on your website says: “Smart + Heart + Humor and sometimes a little dark.” How long did it take you to come up with the tagline? What else made the short list? How dark do you think you’ll go in terms of writing? Is there anything you won’t touch?

Kelly: Oh that came straight from the mouth of my critique partner. It summed up my work perfectly. We write very different kinds of tales. I’m more about entertaining (laughs, a little heat, fun topical banter, and the occasional dead body) while she writes family drama that will straight up wreck you and makes no promises of everyone riding off into the sunset together. I can’t imagine writing anything that doesn’t include humor and a spark of romantic attraction, but as for the dark, I don’t think I’ll ever rub a reader’s face in it, make them live that experience in gruesome detail, but bad things happen IRL. People do horrible things, sometime for good reason, and others are in the wrong place at the wrong time. How we respond to those experiences is what intrigues me. I also don’t imagine getting much spicier than I do, but never say never. 😉 (sorry, Dad)

Christina: You have experience on the traditional and indie sides of publishing. Both have pros and cons. What have you learned from moving to indie publishing? What do you like most about it? Did you encounter any surprises you didn’t anticipate?

Kelly: I could write a book! I learned so much in those years on the traditional side. How we are never ready when we think we are, how long the process takes. Had I known before I queried my chances of getting an agent, I don’t think I would have done it. I don’t regret that experience, but I wish I could get some of that time back. I also wish I had started writing twenty years earlier, but that’s on me. This wasn’t a lifelong dream. It’s a very new endeavor in the grand scheme. Now, having learned the indie side (and that learning curve is steep) I don’t see myself going back. To relinquish all that control would have to come with a very hefty payday, and I’m not doing this for the money. Becoming a fiction writer is a great way to take a small fortune and make it even smaller. But nothing feels better than getting read and having total strangers say wonderful things in public forums about your stories. I want that sensation for everyone and hope other writers don’t let the gatekeepers keep them from realizing their potential.

Christina: We “met” thanks to the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. What has that community done for you, and what does it mean to you? 

Kelly: It put me in touch with people who encouraged me to take the leap to publish. The organization has wonderful resources for writers at every stage, with unique plans for how they plan to proceed. I found and continue to find writers with similar goals, even if vastly different kinds of storytellers. Women’s Fiction—the label we love to hate—is an umbrella for nearly every subgenre. Ancient historical romance to zany Space Opera and everything in between. It makes it easy to bolster each other, cheer each other on. One writer’s steamy story about getting her groove back is not competition for another’s tearjerker about grieving the loss of a loved one, or the shenanigans of a laugh-out-loud story about a summer camp for septuagenarians. It’s all character-driven emotional journeys and it’s all fantastic!

Christina: What’s next? 

Kelly: SEE SADIE JANE RUN, a second chance story about a brilliant but broken geotechnical engineer, PhD who returns to rural coastal Georgia to find herself in the little town she couldn’t flee fast enough when she finished high school. After that comes a story that looks at admissions scandals in higher education at a fictional “Southern Ivy” in Atlanta. THE IMPORTANCE OF EXTRACURRICULAR & OTHER ASSUMPTIONS takes on some ripped from the headlines topics and gives readers who have read SADIE a little more time with a love-him-or-hate-him character. I think he’s misunderstood and that he’ll grow on you. 😊

Kelly can be found in multiple places!
Website: https://www.kellyelizabethhuston.com/
Instagram: @k.e.huston
X: @k_e_huston
Facebook: @K.E.HustonWriter

Thanks to Kelly for agreeing to this interview! If you know of an author or artist who’d like to be featured in an interview (or you would like to be featured), feel free to leave a comment or email me via my contact page.


  1. Aly on March 4, 2024 at 12:05 pm

    Great insight without any spoilers! Loved the books that I’ve read and can’t wait for more from Kelly Elizabeth Huston!

    • Christina Consolino on March 8, 2024 at 10:13 am

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this interview. Thank you for reading!

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