Story by Gareth Vieira
Local author Keri-Lee Kroger has set her first novel, Flirt, right here, in her hometown, of Port Hope.
“It is the story of a seventeen-year-old girl,” says Keri-Lee. “Who finds out she is pregnant and all the complications and disapprovals and determination that go along with that situation”.
Keri-Lee never planned on being a writer it just fell on her lap, so to say, when she needed a story to tell a group of kids she was reading too.
“I just couldn’t find the right story so I just sat down and I wrote my own and I thought this is ridiculous. I read the story and the kids loved it and to this day they still ask me about the characters and to me, that was a turning point”.
That story, 800 words in length inspired her to write more, and inspired within her a passion for writing and storytelling, writing became not only something she liked to do but something she had too do.
“I can do a thousand things in a day but if I can write a few good paragraphs it feels like I have done something”.
Keri-Lee began posting her work on Wattpad a free online storytelling community where users post written works such as articles, stories, fan fiction, and poems, either through the website or the mobile app. The site offers both writers and readers the unique opportunity to interact with each other, comment on certain sections and tell the writer what they liked and offer feedback.
“The other day on Wattpad”, said Keri-Lee. “there was a debate going on about one of my characters and the reader’s reaction to an event that happened in the story, they were going on about whether they agreed or not. It’s great to see people connect with my stories and the characters”.
Keri-Lee has written close to twenty short stories and three full novels, with Flirt being the first one to get published. Through her social media accounts, she has been invited to work with an incredible community of writers who support each other.
“I have a group of five women I talk to on an ongoing basis. We chat all day from all parts of the world and we do so many things together.”
Flirt is available on Amazon right now and is the first book of a continuing series called, The Chasing Hope Series, with demands from her publisher, Limitless Publishing, for the second already in the works.
“One of the women I converse with online had been published by them and she said they would absolutely love my work and I guess they did. Believe it or not from query letter to contract in my hand took all of fifteen days.”
Even before writing took hold of her, Keri-Lee says, she would construct paragraphs in her mind, create stories, which she would dismiss as if they were nothing.
“I think the passion for words has always been there but its one step to take it from those paragraphs formulated in my head to actually writing them down on paper and adding to it.”
As a reader she loves epic storylines, writers like Diana Gabaldon, Hermon Wouk and sites Timothy Findley as one of her favourite writers, “I love how he is able to say so much with so few words”.
Keri-Lee lives in Port Hope with her husband and kids went to high school here and considers herself a Port Hopian through and through.
“There is something special about the atmosphere and the people and the way we support each and there is this amazing creative element. There are so many people working so hard to make our community and the area a better place”.