Belfast Telegraph

Home Life Features

All the best: Author Rachel Kelly's favourite things

The 38-year-old novelist, who writes under the name RB Kelly, published her first book Edge of Heaven last year. She lives in Holywood with her husband Jesse Durkan and they are expecting their first child.

My best moment

There have so many over the last year, it's hard to choose one of them. I launched my first novel 18 days before I got married and also fell pregnant. The book was a life-long dream and I wrote the first draft when I was 15 years old. Holding the finished book in my hands was incredible.

My best song

Anything by Gaslight Anthem, but I'm going to choose The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face by Roberta Flack. It was one of the songs at our wedding. It's so moving and there's so much passion in the way she sings it.

My best way to relax

Yoga, which I've only just discovered. Now, I'm a massive convert and it's something I really look forward to. My mum practised for years and years, but until now, I had never tried it.

My best job

What I'm doing at the minute because it is so varied; from arts administration to freelance teaching in creative writing. I'm also writing my follow-up novel to Edge of Heaven which I won a grant from the Arts Council to do. It's fantastic being paid to write, it's what I absolutely love to do. And seeing the flesh creep on to the bones of the new book is fascinating.

My best bit of advice

It's not an uncommon piece of advice and I'm not sure where I got it from but I try to live by it. 'Regret what you've done, not what you haven't done.' I went back to do my PhD and it had an impact on my career that I couldn't have foreseen because these days it's particularly hard to get a job in academia. However, I realised had I not done it I would have regretted that decision for the rest of my life.

My best movie

There are loads of great movies but Bladerunner is the one that made me love science fiction and led to me wanting to study film - that's what I have my PhD in.

My best gift

A signed photo of William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy from Star Trek which Jesse bought me for my birthday. We had only been dating for a couple of months and when he turned up at my birthday celebration with that I knew I had a good man who really understood me. My family and friends agreed at that stage too that he's a keeper.

My best achievement

My PhD in film theory. While I had loved the idea of doing this I didn't realise it was a possibility until I saw an advert for funded PhDs in the paper. At the time I didn't particularly enjoy my job. It was a tough slog, though, as you usually get three years but I had to go back and do another year's worth of work without finance. There was a time when I wasn't sure I was going to succeed in my studies but I was awarded a PhD in 2012.

My best buy

My interrail ticket when I was 21. My mum hitch-hiked all over Europe in her 20s and instilled a need in me to see the world. She even put aside money for myself, my brother and sister to do so. I travelled all over Europe for a summer and the experiences brought things to my writing I would never have expected. Even my new novel is heavily influenced by a summer I spent working in Holland.

My best book

Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett, although the one that has had the most influence on my writing is This Other Eden by Ben Elton. People forget that he wrote some really biting science fiction in the early 90s.

  • Edge of Heaven by RB Kelly, Liberties Press, £7.77

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph