Since 1987, I have made my living as a writer. Sometimes I stop what I’m doing in the middle of the day and think about how truly blessed I am, despite struggles along the way.
I have loved recording people’s stories, whether they survived a tornado or overcame illness, or lent their time to a good cause. Sometimes the stories were soul-crushingly sad, like the one I wrote about a teen girl who was buried in her prom dress after she was murdered by her father three days before the event. Every journalist will tell you such stories leave marks on our psyches – how could they not? But, to me, it felt important to tell the story of that young woman’s life that shouldn’t have ended as it did.
Telling stories – even the hard ones, especially the hard ones – has given my life purpose. I also felt value in reporting crimes in hopes they wouldn’t be repeated, overseeing governmental agencies to ensure there was no monkey business and celebrating events, big and small, that make a community a community.
My job began to shift when I started working with AL.com, and I no longer wrote the really sad stories. I was happy for the change, writing mostly stories about the South’s quirky history and penning humor columns each week. While writing “fluff” – I don’t mind the word – didn’t carry such a purposeful weight, I was more than happy to know I had brightened someone’s day with a story or column. That became a new purpose and one I enjoyed immensely. Emails from people who’d read my columns online or in the newspapers in Huntsville, Birmingham or Mobile made me grin. And they made me proud.
I still love journalism and writing humor columns. I suppose I always will. But I won’t be doing it as often in coming months. That’s because I will be writing more books that I hope will also make people smile.
I am currently working in a new position for It’s a Southern Thing and This is Alabama, two brands related to Alabama Media Group and AL.com. I am helping create books and lots of fun merchandise, including games, T-shirts, toys, baby gear and more.
I won’t go into details on the merch that is in production, just in case anything falls through. I have had so much fun seeing my ideas become reality and I’ll tell you about the new items when I can.
Right now, I can go ahead and tell you about some upcoming book projects. I have mostly been working on children’s books for It’s a Southern Thing and I have more coming. Here’s a sneak peek:
The Southern Series
- “Y is for Y’all: A Book of Southern ABCs,” 2020
- “A Southern Night Before Christmas,” 2020
- “10 Baskets of Biscuits: A Southern Counting Book,” 2021
- “No Hissy Fits: A Book of Southern Manners,” March 2022
A fifth in the series, as yet untitled, will be about a road trip around the South. I hope it will be out by Christmas 2022.
This new series is centered on an adorable character named Mo Possum, who is, of course, an opossum. I hope “Mo Possum is Awesome” will be out in the fourth quarter.
Looking for a book on a specific Southern state? One may be on the way soon … stay tuned.
A bedtime book that I won’t describe yet but it is very close to my heart. I hope it will be out by Christmas 2022.
There is also a book for grownups on this year’s publication schedule. It will be an encyclopedia of Southern phrases and will be something everyone needs in their household. I’ll let you know more when I know more…
In the meantime, Sweetums and I are going to revamp the blog here at KellyKazek.com and I’ll return to regular posts, probably some on our odd travels and some with my quirky insights on this crazy world we live in. You can also find a listing of all my previous books here. The new site will have direct links to buy any of my books.
Thanks to you all for following along. Writers wouldn’t write if there were no readers, or if we did, we would do so without that strong feeling of purpose. Thanks for giving me my purpose, y’all. I love you for it.