David A. Kelly is a former Little League right fielder and the author of the BALLPARK MYSTERIES and MVP sports book series from Random House, as well as BABE RUTH AND THE BASEBALL CURSE, and the picture book MIRACLE MUD. In previous lives he got paid to go on vacation and write travel articles for newspapers like the New York Times and Boston Globe. He also spent many years writing about technology. He currently lives outside Boston with his family. For more information, visit davidakellybooks.com, or find him on Twitter at @DavidAKelly, Instragram at @DavidAKellyBooks, or Facebook at @BallparkMysteries
Career insights - What it's like to write mysteries for a job
Behind-the-scenes Tour of Your Favorite Ballpark Mysteries Book
David A. Kelly was born in New Hartford, New York, on April 18th. His father ran a lumberyard. David often worked there during the summer, helping customers pick out boards and other building supplies. He also cleaned up sawdust from around the saws and sometimes went on deliveries to help workers unload trucks of construction material. After a while, he got tired of working at the lumberyard during the summer so he tried some other jobs. He helped a friend deliver newspapers for a little while, but he had to get up at 5:45 am, and he realized that was too early for him! He also worked as a busboy at a cowboy restaurant one summer. He got to wear a cowboy hat, a cowboy shirt, and cowboy boots. It was hard work, but he’d get to dig into a big bucket of chips and salsa when he finished, so that was fun! Later on, during college, he worked for a computer software company, helping to write word processing programs for computers.
David went to college at Syracuse University, where he studied computer science. He loved writing programs that would do things on the computer. For one project, he and his classmates wrote a program that would display restaurant reviews. Eventually, he graduated and moved to the Boston area. There were lots of jobs in computers there, and it seemed like a fun city. David worked for computer companies, writing software and managing products. Along the way, he went back to school for business and got an MBA in Marketing. He started working with a consulting company that worked with technology companies to help them market their products. He started writing papers and marketing materials for business. It was around this time that he decided to try writing some travel articles. With a lot of effort (and MANY rewrites!) he eventually had a travel article on Bermuda published by the Boston Globe. After that, he continued working in technology and writing travel articles on the side. He wrote more for the Boston Globe, as well as other papers like the New York Times. Eventually, he started his own technology consulting company and continued writing both travel stories as well as technology articles.
A bit later on, David and his wife Alice had two sons, Steven and Scott. David spent a lot of time reading books to them and playing sports with them. They particularly liked baseball (although David thinks that’s partly because his wife Alice would let them stay up a half hour later at night if they were watching a Red Sox game!). After reading many picture books and chapter books to Steven and Scott, David decided it might be fun to try writing one himself. His boys liked books about sports and books about mysteries, and while David could find sports books and mystery books, he couldn’t find any sports mysteries, so he decided to write some! He never thought he’d be able to write a book for adults (they’re too long!), but it seemed like he might be able to write chapter books for children.
So he tried. And tried. And tried. The first versions of his books were awful. They were too hard for kids to read and they didn’t have enough action. The words were too big. AND–they weren’t interesting! But David stuck with it. He revised and rewrote. He asked other people (including his wife, Alice, who is great at writing) for advice. He took a class in children’s book writing. And then he kept revising his stories.
After a few years of trying a wonderful editor named Jennifer at Random House Children’s Books in New York City became interested in one of David’s books! But the hard part wasn’t over. He had to keep revising and working with Jennifer to get the book right. Two years later, Babe Ruth and the Baseball Curse was published! From there, David went back to writing and started working on the Ballpark Mysteries. They came out two years after the Babe Ruth book. He’s been working on them ever since!