Mary Louise Kelly grew up in Vinings, where she had her first newspaper job at 11 years old.
“I started a newspaper on my street, … I used to go around harassing neighbors to submit recipe of the month columns,” she said. “It was called The Lemons Ridge Bugle. I started it with my best friend.”
Kelly said she moved on to become the editor of the Lovett School’s newspaper
“It’s safe to say I was pretty hooked by the time I graduated,” she said.
Kelly started in the professional world at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as an intern, and moved onto work for news outlets like NPR and the BBC.
Last week, her first novel, “Anonymous Sources,” was published.
The thriller captures Kelly’s character Alexandra James, a 28-year-old, who is on a mission to capture a story of nuclear terrorism.
The story is set in places where she has lived or traveled, including Washington, Boston and London, Kelly said, and it mainly draws on her experience working as NPR’s Pentagon correspondent.
“There’s no way I could’ve written this book from this perspective had I not done that myself. Part of that is getting the little details right,” she said. “When I sat down to write this, I had one goal in mind – to write a story that would keep readers up with hairs standing up on the back of their necks in the middle of the night.”
Kelly said her book caters to both men and women.
“I came at it from both directions. There is a lot of really violent international big espionage [parts] geared toward men,” she said. “I wanted to write about somebody I was interested in, from a female perspective. She wears great shoes. You learn what her apartment looks like.”
Kelly’s editor Kathy Sagan said “Anonymous Sources” is a mixture of suspense and humor.
“I think that Mary Louise’s experiences prior to writing this book were so amazing,” she said. “It is part of why it translated to fictions so well. She has a knack of creating very believable experiences.”
Kelly said she is about halfway through her second novel, which is not a sequel to “Anonymous Sources,” but it will take place in Atlanta, in places like the Journal’s newsroom and the St. Regis Hotel in Buckhead.
The Atlanta History Center/Margaret Mitchell House is hosting a book reading and signing of her book July 10.