Friday, August 12, 2016


Interviewer: E.E. Kennedy
Kelli Hughett
SS: When did you realize you wanted to be an author?

Kelli: I wrote my first book in fifth grade, but didn’t really pursue it seriously until 2008. I had three kids at home and writing was a great mental escape.

SS: Your books seem to have a good sense of place. Are you familiar with California and Colorado, the locations in Red Zone? What made you choose these locations?

Kelli: I grew up in Loveland, Colorado where much of Red Zone takes place. Many from the area LOVE the references to specific places in Loveland like Dairy Delight. I went to Thompson Valley High School, the school where Marcie’s son also attends. (and the scene of an unforgettable moment in Red Zone) My husband is from California, so I’ve visited many times. I think it would be paradise if a million people moved away…I’m more of a small-town girl, but there’s something about California that ignites my imagination.

SS: Fear and danger are integral parts of your books, also a degree of sensuality. Did that pose a problem for you as a Christian writer?

Kelli: Cool Question. My feeling on this is different from other writers. I want to write real characters who feel real emotions. Sensuality is part of every relationship. It’s where we allow that to take us that reveals our character. My characters demonstrate the sometimes blurry lines that are a very real part of any Christian romantic relationship. There are readers that won’t appreciate this side of fiction, but that’s okay.  I hope there are many who relate and enjoy reading about characters who struggle and overcome.

SS: From one author to another, an either/or question: Outliner or Pantser?

Kelli: Pantser! I never outline, but I do have a rough idea of where I’m heading from the start. My scenes can go almost anywhere at times. About half-way through, I sit down and kind of roughly plot where I’m heading. Sometimes, I have to re-write the ending to fit the middle!

SS: Do you have any favorite author(s) who have inspired you?

Kelli: Lucy Maud Montgomery, Mary Higgins Clark, Kristin Heitzmann.

SS: Everyone always asks, so we will, too: Are your characters based on people you know? Which ones?

Kelli: They aren’t really based on people I know, but I have a funny line I sometimes say to embarrass my husband. “I need a button that reads: If you think Jack Briggs is sexy, you should meet my husband!” LOL. If there’s anything good in Jack Briggs, my husband, Kirt inspired it. (Jack Briggs is the hunky hero in Red Zone.)

SS: You write with great authority about football, both amateur and professional. Has football played a big part in your life as it does in that of your characters?

Kelli: I’m from Colorado so I’m a huge Broncos fan. I can remember watching John Elway and the Orange Crush defense back in the 80’s and 90’s. It’s a BIG DEAL in my family! I may know more about football than the average girl, but a lot of the information in Red Zone came straight from my husband. It was a blast to ask him specifically what a player might be thinking or what the outcome of a play might be. The NFL is rife with scandal so it makes a great backdrop for suspense!  Women who hate football love Red Zone too. It’s just the backdrop, so it adds if you love it and stays neutral if you don’t. J

SS: Here’s another question that everyone asks: Where do you get your story ideas?

Kelli: I’m a minister’s wife and people are sometimes surprised about the intensity of the suspense and the romance in my books. That being said, Red Zone was inspired by a news story I read that noted that women were the fastest growing NFL demographic. I thought I could create a story that brought things women love together: Romance, Suspense, and Football.

SS: You skillfully utilize a multiple point of view: heroine, hero, even villain. Was it hard to get into the head of your villain?

Kelli: Wow, thanks for the compliment! I’m almost afraid to admit that writing villains is my favorite part of being an author. I do struggle with legitimately devious plots though; I don’t have a devious bone in my body! I’m one of those people who is pretty much “what you see is what you get.” I read a lot of news stories and some psychology articles now and then. It helps to understand what makes villains tick. I look forward to my next villain! My next release, Mistletoe and Folly, is a light Christmas novella. It was fun, but I missed my villain!

 SS: Red Zone has been characterized as romantic suspense. Are there any other genres that you’d like to tackle?

Kelli: The genre I’ll be tackling next is historical suspense…which isn’t really a recognized genre. I love the Regency period, so my current project is a dark, historical suspense set in that period. It’s so fun to mix things up a bit.

SS: What are you working on now?

When I’m past my deadlines for my current releases, I have two novels going. The one I mentioned before is a historical suspense, and I’m working on another contemporary that features a woman hunter who is also a recent amputee. The hunter is now the hunted in that story. The suspense in that one is keeping me up at night!

SS: Okay, just for fun. Tell us three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.

Kelli: I got married at 18. I once crashed a full shopping cart in a parking lot. I’m the co-founder of Oil In My Lamp Ministries: a digital ministry that provides video-based encouragement and inspiration for women. Look up: Oil In My Lamp Ministries on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or on Blogger. 

SS: What are your other interests besides writing?

Kelli: I love hiking and camping, reading, and public speaking. (I know, I’m weird!)

SS: Tell us about your current release. When is it available, and where? Red Zone is a romantic suspense about young mom and an ex-NFL linebacker who get swept up in an NFL scandal and a murder. Sometimes, the killer is so close, you can’t see him. The romance and suspense are well-balanced and the ending surprises almost all my readers!
Grab a copy here:

Right now, you can also read my newest romantic suspense release, Dangerous Alternative, as part of the bestselling Smoke and Mirrors set. 8 books for an amazing .99!

Dangerous Alternative is a thrilling, fast-paced tale about a Hollywood grip (look that up!) and an acupuncturist who race to sabotage a plot to kill the First Lady. It’s set on the sunny coast of California. Later in October, Mistletoe and Folly, releases. It’s a bubble-bath kind of novel with a fun Christmas-y feel. It’s part of the “Brides of Christmas Present” set. Perfect to put you in the mood for the holiday season!
Kelli will be giving away both a hard copy and an eBook copy of her latest exciting novel, Red Zone! Just comment below (being sure to leave your name and email address) and you'll be eligible for the drawing. The winner will be announced in this space and Kelli will be contacting them.


  1. Nice to learn about Kelli, which is a new author to me. marilynridgway78[at]gmail[dot]com

  2. I'm a big college football fan. Alabama Crimson Tide to be specific! Living in Tuscaloosa helps of course.
    Kelli I love your hair! It's gorgeous. Thanks for the giveaway. Adore reading suspense.

  3. sounds like a good author for me!!!

  4. Kelli is a new author to me and btw you are beautiful. Would love to win your book. Suspense is my favorite genre. Stella Potts -

    1. Thank you, Stella! Hope you're a winner!

  5. Thanks for having me in the blog today! So fun to meet new readers.

  6. Great to meet Kelli here thank you.


  7. It's nice to meet you Kelli. I hope your book does well. I attend a fabulous writer's group in Loveland, Front Range Christian Writers. It would be fun to see you there, sometime. Cheers

    1. I've attended that group, Marilyn. Fun group!

  8. Kelli is a new author to me. Your books sound like great ones. I'm looking forward to reading them. d[dot]brookmyer[at]yahoo[dot]com

    1. Thanks for reading the interview, Donna.

  9. Kelli is new to me. I love finding new authors!

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

  10. Enjoyed the interview. Love to get to know authors that are new to me.

  11. Thank you for letting us get to know you. If it's not too late count me in the drawing. lill dot kohler at gmail dot com

  12. The drawing will be on the 19th. That gives people a whole week to comment and enter the contest! :0)

  13. Congratulations, Beth Nagy (! You're the lucky winner of the drawing for a hard copy of Kelli's new book, Red Zone.
    And Stella Potts ( the lucky winner of the eBook of Red Zone!