Kelli Swofford Nielsen

Kelli-7 (2)

Kelli grew up in the Salt Lake Valley as the second child of four.  Her roles included: messy daydreamer, imaginative play organizer, occasional tease, reptile catcher, spider killer, and storyteller. She relished childhood, and was therefore incredibly disappointed with her middle school years and their lack of recess, but survived them thanks (in part) to Jane Austen, Gene Stratton Porter and loads of YA Fantasy.

She attended Bingham High School (Go Miners!) which was, thankfully, an improvement on the middle school years as she got to sing, play, and develop friendships with other odd people like her.

Kelli’s continued love of reading led her to the excellent English department at Utah State University (Go Aggies!) where she pursued a degree in English Teaching and a minor in ESL.  While there she also learned the value of flip-flops, played lots of late-night basketball, gained an appreciation for linguistics, sang some more, actually earned credit hours for skiing, became convinced of her own intelligence, met a tall young man with a nice smile—and married him.

Following graduation, Kelli took a position at a private residential high school in Northern Utah.  While there, she enjoyed teaching courses in English and Creative Writing to students from all over the country and abroad.  After a couple of years, Kelli left teaching to care for her first newborn son, and start writing.  Initially she began writing for fun and in an effort to get some of the bits of fiction swirling around in her head down on paper.  Two years later she had her first draft of a novel and began to try to get it published.

After spending a couple of great years living in Indiana while her husband, Jeff, pursued a graduate degree at Notre Dame (Go Irish!), Kelli, Jeff and their two sons moved to Chicago, Illinois where they now live (plus one daughter!).  Kelli loves exploring the Midwestern forests and big city cultural offerings, but misses the mountains. Her current roles still include: messy daydreamer, occasional tease, and storyteller.  She spends a good deal of time reading a wide variety of books, and almost as much time analyzing them, although she is no longer quite so convinced of her own intelligence.  Stone Mage Wars: Journey to the Fringe, published May 2012, is her first novel.