Opus Exclusive: Martha Hall Kelly

We’re so thrilled that Martha Hall Kelly will join us for this year’s virtual Opus & Olives gala. In preparation for the big event, we asked Martha a few questions to help you get to know her better.

How have the challenges of the past year and a half affected your writing? 

Publishing my third novel, Sunflower Sisters, during the pandemic was challenging, but not as hard as I anticipated. My favorite part of the process, the book tour, had to be done virtually, but it still ended up being a lot of fun. In some ways it expanded the audience since readers could log on from anywhere in the world. I also did a big virtual Australian tour, which was so much fun and made me put a real trip there on my list of must-dos. 

What do you hope people learn or take away from this book? 

That the Civil War isn’t as many people think, an outdated event with no relevance to today. To research the book, I read hundreds of personal letters written between the real-life characters in the book, the Woolseys, and it was like reading letters written today they felt so contemporary and held so many great lessons. It’s a cliché but it’s so true that if we don’t learn from the past mistakes, we’re destined to repeat them. 

Tell us something that people might not know about you. 

I live on a hay farm. 

Tell us what you love about libraries. 

My mother wasn’t a religious person and libraries were her cathedrals. We didn’t have a lot of money growing up and she, a true book lover, took us to the Bryantville library in our little town almost every day. It was a grey stone Victorian building, with lots of taxidermied animals displayed under glass domes for some reason. I spent a lot of time in those stacks! I’m doing an event soon in my old hometown and can’t wait to go back there and visit the library. I’m sure it will look tiny. 

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