The girl behind the strings...

Short Bio:

Tara Kelly adores variety in her life. She's a YA author, one-girl-band, web/graphic designer, editor, and she's back in school getting her M.Ed in School Counseling. She lives in Portland with her ten guitars, supercool bf, and a fluffy cat named Maestro.

Listen to my music here. I'm going to be adding new songs soon! If you want to hear my old music and collaborations, visit missvolatile.com.

Long Bio:

Tara Kelly grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area where great music, culture, rocky beaches, winding roads, and freaks like her were plentiful. As a little girl, she was socially clueless and ambitious. She wanted to be an actress, a dancer, a singer, a writer, a lawyer, and a pediatrician(after her little brother was diagnosed with a mysterious thing called autism). But by junior high, she realized that list needed to be narrowed a bit. For one thing, she had horrible stage fright and zero grace. Also, the only thing she liked about being lawyer was the arguing part. And being a total germ-a-phobe probably wouldn't work so well in the medical field. So, that left writing--the activity she loved best anyway.

Being the thirteen-year-old dork she was, Tara started filling up at least one notebook a month with stories (most of them never got finished, but so what?). She was also a book addict. In fact, Tara had so many books, she had to sell a bunch just to create a walking path in her room. A used bookstore gave her almost $200 for them at 25 cents a piece. Do the math. Then there was her music addiction. Before becoming a musician herself, Tara was a self-professed music snob--although her genre of choice changed each year of high school. People who listened to popular bands or the radio were such poseurs, man. Even so, Tara's love for music (especially brooding, sappy goth music) fueled her need to write. Certain songs made it possible for her to see entire movies in her head. Then there was all the trouble she her friends got into. She kept a journal of all their adventures just so she wouldn't forget what it was like to be a teen. And, yes, she still has it.

Tara graduated from UC Santa Cruz in 2004 where she earned a B.A. in Film and Digital Media. The idea was to make movies out of her screenplays, but then she realized that was about as likely as winning the lottery. So, instead, she pursued music--joined bands, collected guitars, got into production, and screamed into a mic. She also spent the first few years after college trying out a variety of careers--video editing, teaching at an art college, graphic design for the news, even human resources. She liked them all, but there was still one dream she hadn't pursued yet, her oldest and dearest. Writing.

Finally, two short years ago, Tara decided to try for publication--after years of telling herself it wasn't possible. She chose YA because it is what she's written her entire life--her teen years hold some of her most intense and crazy memories. And in 2008--after a mailbox full of rejections--she got an agent and that agent sold her first book, Harmonic Feedback, to Henry Holt.

These days Tara is enjoying life as a freelance artist in the Portland area. Aside from Harmonic Feedback, she has another music-driven book coming out in October called AMPLIFIED.

List-a-mania:

THREE NAMES I GO BY
  • Tara
  • Red (although, I only had natural red hair until I was 3)
  • Um...if this was 10 years ago, I'd probably have more, but sorry..invent a nickname for me.
THREE JOBS I'VE HAD IN MY LIFE
  • Assistant Creative Director
  • Video Editor
  • Graphic artist for the news
THREE PLACES I'VE LIVED
  • San Francisco Bay Area
  • Las Vegas
  • Washington State (all over)
THREE TV SHOWS I WATCH
  • Sons of Anarchy
  • Supernatural
  • Mad Men
THREE OF MY FAVORITE FOODS
  • Avocados
  • Freshly picked berries
  • Cheese
THREE FAVORITE BANDS (I have a lot more than three!!!)
  • Placebo
  • Imogen Heap
  • Celldweller
THREE FAVORITE DRINKS
  • Water
  • Water
  • Water (it's seriously all I drink now)
THREE FAVORITE THINGS TO DO
  • Jam with my guitar/write songs/produce
  • Write dialogue
  • Chase storms
THREE THINGS I HATE
  • Viruses
  • Balloons
  • Art without soul
THREE THINGS I CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT
  • My imagination
  • My favorite guitar
  • Food and water are kind of a must too

Author Q&A

Have a burning question for me or just want some music recs? Ask away!