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Interview with a Writer: Kelly Boyer Sagert

An Emmy Award nominee is in the ‘Writer of the Month’ hot seat

Critically Acclaimed Writer

Kelly Boyer Sagert is a full-time writer who has published 18 books and scripted numerous plays. She’s also the author of the script for Trail Magic: The Grandma Gatewood Story, which was nominated for a Regional Emmy Award (Best Documentary, Historical) and just won a prestigious Chagrin Documentary Film Festival Award. The Trail Magic team is now working on a film about Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for president of the United States—in 1872.
She lives in Lorain, Ohio.


ST: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Kelly: As a child, I was always writing stories and sharing them with friends. My first masterpiece was a play I wrote in the sixth grade titled “Haunted House Mystery” that was a rip-off of every Scooby-Doo episode ever written, featuring kids from our neighborhood. When I was in my twenties and pregnant with our first son, I realized, like a bolt of lightning, that I wanted to write for a living.

ST: Why do you enjoy writing for Story Terrace?

Kelly: I love meeting the people whose memoirs I’ll craft, hearing the stories of their lives. Often, they don’t realize how amazing they—meaning the people and their life stories—really are.

ST: What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Kelly: Being cozy at home with my family. We’ve got a big sports game on television and I’m reading a mystery novel during the commercials.

ST: What trait do you admire most in others?

Kelly: Empathy.

ST: If you hadn't become a writer, what career would you have right now?

Kelly: Archaeologist, as long as I would always have access to flush toilets.

ST: What is your most treasured possession?

Kelly: My books!

ST: Who are your favorite writers?

Kelly: Agatha Christie and Drew Gilpin Faust.

ST: What fictional character do you most identify with?

Kelly: Growing up, it was Trixie Belden, who bravely solved mysteries with her siblings and friends.

ST: If you were writing a Story Terrace book of your life, what would be the title and why?

Kelly: Funeral Home Girl Picks Up Her Pen. As a young child, I lived in the funeral home where my father worked, which had a significant influence on me. During that time—and ever since—I spent plenty of time quietly reading. So, it was a natural transition that I began wanting to write my own stories.

ST: Who is your hero?

Kelly: The person who is kind to people without expecting those acts to be known or praised. It’s all about paying it forward.

ST: What is your motto?

Kelly: This is more a mantra: grace, peace, light, love, forgiveness and joy.

ST: What is at the heart of what matters most to you about writing?

Kelly: Speaking the name! I believe that names are important, and so is the process of naming. I even titled my first poetry chapbook Speak the Name to honor the names of people whose lives are in danger of being lost in the mists of time.


Lightning Round!

ST: Dogs or cats?

Kelly: Both!

ST: Salty or sweet?

Kelly: Sweet

ST: Truth or dare?

Kelly: Truth

ST: Paperback or e-reader?

Kelly: Paperback

ST: X-ray vision or time travel?

Kelly: Time travel, as long as I can take motion sickness medicine first.


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Written by Elizabeth Trach

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