Pat Kelly writes well-plotted and thoroughly engaging historical novels populated by believable characters. Although her characters often face great challenges, she maintains a touch of humour and optimism. She is skilled at evoking lost eras and the way people saw the world.
Pat Kelly was born in Glasgow in 1938. When she was just over a year old her father was called up to serve his country and she barely saw him until she was about eight years old.
Perhaps as an escape, in early primary school Pat took to writing stories, which her teacher used to read out to the class.
In her teens and early twenties Pat wrote several books, sent them to publishers with a stamped return envelope, but never received any of them back, so had to retype them to send them to the next publisher. None were ever acknowledged or published.
Eventually, Pat married and was too involved with raising children to have time to write. In 1968 she arrived in SouthAustralia, with four children, as a £10 Pom. After divorcing after over twenty-five years of marriage Pat was contacted by a Manxman, Mike, she had known in her teens. They married and returned to the Isle of Man to live.
After Mike retired, in 1993, they followed the summers with six months in each country. While in the Isle of Man they ran a daffodil farm and were well known on the Island for their roadside stall, with an honesty box, selling daffodils and plants.
In 2014, the travel was becoming too much, so they moved to Australia permanently to live in Lakes Entrance, a beautiful, peaceful little town in Victoria.
When she moved to the Isle of Man, Pat left all her family in Australia. Mikes mother Lou, a wonderful lady took her new daughter in law under her wing and they had great conversations.
Lou had grown up in a tiny village in the West of the Isle of Man. The population of this village was around 20, but when the great war started an internment camp was built which eventually housed around 25,000 ‘enemy aliens’. As Lou told Pat about her childhood and this huge camp looming over her tiny village, Pat realised she was listening to history, a lot of which no one else alive could tell – and that if Lou died, all that history would be lost forever. So she wrote it's all down and turned it into a book called ‘Hedge of Thorns’ that was a great success on the island.
The research for this sparked Pat's interest in Manx history And she then went on to write a second book, ‘Smugglers Urchins’, set in the smuggling era on the island.
Her next foray into Manx history was the famous Laxey water wheel, resulting in ‘Shadow of the Wheel’.
Pat is currently working on a story which finds 14-year-old Manx girl being transported for 7 years for stealing a loaf of bread. She sails with the second fleet in a ship that was nicknamed ‘the floating brothel’.