Who is Kelly Clark?

Kelly Clark Bio-Who is Kelly Clark?
As any of you know who have come to one of my live chats, I love to talk about who Kelly Clark is and how I came up with the idea for the series. Kelly’s back story is a huge part of who she is and will help shape her decisions, her emotions, and how she interacts with the other characters in each book. As I’ve mentioned in my talks, each book will focus around a “small mystery” which will wrap up at the end of that book as well as give you a clue to the “big mystery” from her past. Kelly is a woman who is running from her past but also fully aware that she must face those demons in order to fully recover and move on. The reader will learn about her past through a series of flashbacks and clues that I drop in each story.
In the first book of the Kelly Clark Mystery series-GIVE ME CHOCOLATE, the reader is introduced to the main character of the series, Kelly Clark. The series starts in Geneva, IL, three years post her divorce from her violent husband, Steve. Thanks to Kelly’s heroic actions, Steve will spend the next seven years in jail for the attempted murder of his mistress and their unborn child. Thanks to Kelly’s quick actions to turn him into the police, Steve was unable to follow through with his malicious plans. Kelly was able to testify against Steve, clear her name from any involvement in the case, and obtain a divorce. Now it’s recovery time. GIVE ME CHOCOLATE is all about exploring one’s ability to survive and blend back into society once you’ve gone through something as traumatic as Kelly has. Due to the media’s interest in her story, Kelly is a public figure, whether she likes it or not.
On top of all that, she’s flat broke. The only choice she has is to crawl back to her hometown and accept her sister’s generous offer to live rent free in the apartment above Chocolate Love-her sister’s specialty dessert store in the Historic District of Geneva. When you first meet Kelly, she is very much like a wounded animal-scared to connect to people, mistrusting and mentally exhausted from what she’s had to face. In this first book, Kelly gets the opportunity to reconnect with her sisters, meet up with an old love, and even help solve the mystery surrounding a mysterious death in her sister’s store. By the end of the book, the reader can see the growth that Kelly has experienced thanks to the encouragement of family and the stability that her new life in Geneva offers. She’s still very wary of her past coming back to haunt her due to some unexpected visitors from her time in California, as she should be. Keeping her guard up will only help Kelly in the future.
By the second book, Bean in Love, the reader will see Kelly in a much different place in her life. As more time has passed, she’s much stronger and cautiously optimistic about her future. This book will kick up the drama, kick up the romance, and drop a few bombs about her past. The title is a play on words of where Kelly is in her life. She’s “been in love,” can she really do it again knowing how horribly things have gone for her in the past? Maybe. She’s in love again, her relationships with her sisters and the community are solid and her work is going well. Kelly even feels well enough to help with some of her sisters’ problems-a task she was unable to do post-divorce. But now, she’s stronger, healthier and happier. The focus in this book shifts a bit to the development of her relationship with her sisters and their families now that the reader has a clear understanding of who Kelly Clark is. I’ve always felt that the mystery is the driving force for these books, but the relationships and the drama between the sisters will be the real “meat” per se, in my series. The sisters, Kelly, Nikki and Adelle, are all facing very different issues in their lives, but they come together to help each other. The mystery for this book circles around some of the local legends and real life places in Geneva, IL, namely Geneva History Center on Third Street. The sisters focus on solving a mysterious death of a friend at GHC that seems to be linked to an angry spirit haunting the building. As ridiculous as this sounds, the girls can’t ignore the mounting evidence that somehow this spirit may have had a hand in the downward spiral of their friend. While researching this book, I had the opportunity to tour Geneva History Center and view the archives in the basement with the Executive Director, Terry Emma. For me, location is always the thing that ignites the story, and for Bean in Love, this tour got the wheels turning once again.
I am actively working on my third Kelly Clark Mystery, as of right now untitled. Hoping to be released sometime in 2015 or early 2016. Thank you for your interest; hope to see you at the launch party for Bean in Love on November 8th at Geneva History Center at 1:00PM. Working on setting up a special guest speaker that will satisfy your craving for learning more about local police procedure.
Annie Hansen
Author of the Kelly Clark Mystery Series