Carla Kelly

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Carla Kelly, or Carla Sue Kelly (born 1947) is a popular and acclaimed writer in the Regency romance genre. She is the author of over forty books and short stories. Her books are "keepers" and accordingly hard to find. Renowned for what she calls "dukeless" regencies, her stories often revolve around ordinary people solving their own problems. However, her regencies only reflect a part of her writing interests. She has a strong interest in the American West which is reflected in her earliest published works and in her non-fiction.


Born "some time after WWII" Carla Kelly calls herself a navy brat. The daughter of a Navy Officer she grew up overseas or on one coast of the United States or the other. She attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah where she studied history. She then went on to complete a Masters in the same subject focussing on U.S. military history.

In her varied professional career Ms Kelly has been a ranger/historian with the National Park Service at Fort Laramie National Historic Site, a contract research historian for the State Historical Society of North Dakota and has taught history at university level. Ms Kelly is a former staff features writer for the Valley City Times Record newspaper based in Valley City, North Dakota.

Ms Kelly lives in Wellington, Utah. She is married to Martin Kelly, former Director of Theatre at Valley City State University, in Valley City, North Dakota, and now retired. They have five grown children now located in various parts of America.

Literary influences[edit]

When interviewed by Lola Sparks in Purple Pens, Ms Kelly identified the following writers as having influenced her:

In her author profile on the e-Harlequin site, Ms Kelly says her three favorite fictional works have remained constant through the years, although their rankings tend to shift: War and Peace, The Lawrenceville Stories, and A Town Like Alice. Favorite historical works are One Vast Winter Count, On the Border with Mackenzie and Crossing the Line. Favorite crime fiction authors are Michael Connelly, John Harvey and Peter Robinson.

Writing career[edit]

Ms Kelly began writing Regency Romances because of her interest in the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815). A major theme in her books is how war touches the lives of ordinary people. In surviving the effects of war and in helping other survivors her characters find in themselves qualities of strength and purpose not previously evident. They are quiet achievers influencing the world on small, personal stages, making a difference in their own lives and others ultimately by acts of kindness rather than daring. Ms Kelly goes against the norms of the genre by focusiing her attention not on the glittering world of London society and the social elite, but on the other 99.9% of the population occupying England. Her stories are distinguished by authentic, well-researched detail and lightened by a ready sense of humour.

Ms Kelly has also written an acclaimed series of short stories about the men, women and children of Fort Laramie during the Indian Wars era of American history. In 2003 her entire collection of Indian War stories was re-published in Here's to the Ladies: Stories from the Frontier Army. Two of these stories A Season for Heroes and Kathleen Flaherty's Long Winter were awarded Spur Awards from the Western Writers of America.



This list excludes articles written in her capacity of journalist or feature writer for various newspapers and magazines, primarily in North Dakota.

  • A Season for Heroes. FAR West Magazine, 1978
  • Kathleen Flaherty's Long Winter. FAR West Magazine, 1981
  • Daughter of Fortune. Pocket, 1986
  • Summer Campaign. (Signet Regency Romance) 1989
  • Miss Chartley's Guided Tour. (Signet Regency Romance) 1989
  • Marian's Christmas Wish. (Signet Regency Romance) 1989
  • Mrs McVinnie's London Season. (Signet Regency Romance) 1990
  • Libby's London Merchant. (Signet Regency Romance) 1991
  • Miss Grimsley's Oxford Career. (Signet Regency Romance) 1992
  • Miss Billings Treads the Boards. (Signet Regency Romance) 1993
  • Mrs Drew Plays Her Hand. (Signet Regency Romance) 1994
  • Reforming Lord Ragsdale. (Signet Regency Romance) 1995
  • Miss Wittier Makes a List. (Signet Regency Romance) 1994
  • The Lady's Companion. (Signet Regency Romance) 1996
  • Something New in Wedding Bouquet. Signet, 1996
  • With This Ring. (Signet Regency Romance) 1997
  • Make a Joyful Noise in A Regency Christmas Carol. Signet, 1997
  • Miss Milton Speaks Her Mind (Signet Regency Romance) 1998
  • The Christmas Ornament in A Regency Christmas. Signet, 1998
  • An Object of Charity in A Regency Christmas Present. Signet, 1999
  • The Background Man in The Grand Hotel. Signet, 2000
  • The Three Kings in The Regency Christmas II. Signet, 2000
  • One Good Turn. (Signet Regency Romance) 2001 -- Sequel to Libby's London Merchant
  • Libby's London Merchant & Miss Chartley's Guided Tour. (Signet Regency Romance) 2001
  • The Buffalo Carcass on the Company Sink: Sanitation at a Frontier Army Fort. North Dakota History: Journal of the Northern Plains. Vol. 69, 2002
  • The Light Within in A Regency Valentine II. Signet, 2002
  • The Wedding Journey. (Signet Regency Romance) 2002
  • No Room at the Inn in The Regency Christmas IX. Signet, 2002
  • Here's to the Ladies: Stories of the Frontier Army. Texas Christian University Press, 2003
  • Let Nothing You Dismay in Regency Christmas Wishes. Signet, 2003
  • 'To Restore these Children': Fort Totten's Preventorium, 1935-1940. Northern Great Plains History Conference (2004: Bismarck, North Dakota)
  • A Hasty Marriage in Wedding Belles. Signet, 2004
  • On the Upper Missouri: The Journal of Rudolph Friedrich Kurz, 1851-1852. University of Oklahoma Press, 2005 (Editor)
  • Beau Crusoe. (Harlequin Historical Series) 2007
  • An Object of Charity in A Homespun Regency Christmas. Signet, 2008 Note: re-issue of short story published originally in A Regency Christmas Present. Signet, 1999
  • Marrying the Captain. (Harlequin Historical Series) 2009. Sisters Trilogy Book 1
  • The Surgeon's Lady. (Harlequin Historical Series) June 2009. Sisters Trilogy Book 2
  • "Christmas Promise" in "A Regency Christmas." Harlequin, October 2009
  • Marrying the Royal Marine. (Harlequin Historical Series) June 2010. Sisters Trilogy Book 3
  • The Admiral's Penniless Bride. (Harlequin Historical Series) December 2010
  • Borrowed Light (Cedar Fort, Inc.) February 2011
  • Marian's Christmas Wish, (Cedar Fort, Inc.), September 2011. Note: reprint. Originally published by Signet Regency Romance in 1989
  • Coming Home for Christmas, (Harlequin Historical Series) November 2011
  • Enduring Light, (Cedar Fort, Inc.), January 2012
  • Marriage of Mercy (Harlequin Historical Series) May 2012
  • My Loving Vigil Keeping, (Cedar Fort, Inc.), August 2012
  • Her Hesitant Heart (Harlequin Historical), April 2013
  • Safe Passage (Cedar Fort, Inc.), August 2013
  • The Double Cross - Book One, The Spanish Brand Series (Camel Press), August 2013
  • Carla Kelly's Christmas Collection (Cedar Fort, Inc., from Signet reprints), October 2013
  • In Love and War (Cedar Fort, Inc., from Signet reprints), November 2013


  • "An Outlaw Christmas" Intermix, 19 February 2013
  • The Wedding Ring Quest (Harlequin Historical) March 2014