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By Edward Sheehan
Hometown Weekly Correspondent
Last Monday, David A. Kelly, author of the “Ballpark Mysteries” series of children’s novels, among other works, visited the Walpole Public Library to discuss his writing method. His audience was a roomful of eager children and their parents.
In his novels, two main characters, cousins Mike and Kate, visit various Major League Baseball stadiums around the country and solve mysteries specific to the particular quirks of each stadium. The mystery of the first book in the series, “Fenway Park Foul Up,” for example, is tied to the Green Monster. Twelve of these books have already been written, with a thirteenth on the way this fall.
Kelly described his process for writing these texts to the audience. First, he visits the stadium he intends to write about, taking pictures and noting the unique aspects of the venue. He then figures out what the mystery itself will be, and writes his books in a very strict, simple formula to keep on track. However, Kelly said that he didn’t always have these useful guidelines for writing his novels. He candidly discussed his first drafts of his work being rejected due to structural problems, overlong sentences, and generic, interchangeable characters.
Kelly proved a superb speaker, energizing a roomful of young ones with humor and palpable energy. It remains to be seen if one of the children in the library will find a passion for writing thanks to this presentation.