Julia Keller Books In Order

Publication Order of Bell Elkins Books

A Killing in the Hills (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Bitter River (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Summer of the Dead (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Haunting of the Bones (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Devil's Stepdaughter (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Ghost Roll (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Last Ragged Breath (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Evening Street (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Sorrow Road (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Back Home (2009) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Mr. Gatling's Terrible Marvel (2008) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Julia Keller is a 2005 Pulitzer winning writer and author who has lived most of her life in Chicago, Illinois. Keller was born in Huntington, West Virginia. Keller was born into a family of intellectuals and entrepreneurs. Her grandfather was a miner who turned into a property developer whilst her father was a mathematician who taught at Marshall University Keller. Julia Keller herself graduated from Marshall University. She also went on to earn a doctoral degree in English Literature from Ohio State University. She is a self confessed Virginia Wolf die-hard fan and has gone on to immortalize her icon in her doctoral theses that explored the many Virginia Woolf biographies. She left teaching to write for the Chicago Tribune.

According to an interview she gave to a West Virginia publication, books were a great part of her life when growing up. She could remember her mother reading J.R.R Tolkien’s The Hobbit. In 2005 she wrote a piece titled “ Wicked Wind Takes Aim” which chronicled the Utica tornado in such a vivid way, it earned her a Pulitzer prize. It could have been the first time a Pulitzer was worn for narrative journalism

She went on to take teaching posts at Princeton University, University of Notre dame and the University of Chicago. Between 1998 and 1999 Julia Keller obtained the Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University. During her working and her writing she had set on the judging panel of the Pulitzer Prize, which she would one day receive.

Literary influences

Every writer has someone they look up to, someone they wish to emulate. Although Virginia Woolf was an author that interested her, Keller has often spoken about being a fan of Ray Bradbury. Her favorite story by Bradbury is “The whole Town is sleeping”. Besides Woolf and Bradbury, she has voiced that she like Iris Murdoch, Willa Cather and Joyce Carol Oates. It is because of Bradburry that she would go on to write a short story picked to be part of an anthology of works by writers like Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman and Joe Hill.

One thing that may come as a shock to a lot of people is how much Keller loves Graphic novels. She loves them so much she once wrote a column about the psychology behind graphic novels, the characters and the world and hidden messages hidden. Most people wouldn’t expect this from a Pulitzer Prize winner but Julia Keller is what fiction writers essentially are at their cores: dreamers who like creating world and characters that have not yet been imagined. If they had been imagined then she would find some other way to inhabit them or re-imagine them. The fact that she loves Superman comics says a lot about the things that tug at Keller’s heart. The themes that can be drawn from Superman movie are about family, finding your purpose, learning to embrace your gift, sacrificing yourself and your own happiness for the greater good.

Writing and work

There is a lot to be said about writing about things you love or writing your own truth. Julia Keller had a great love for James Dean the movie star who died in a car crash just when his career was taking off. The first things she wrote that got published was about her teenage crush James Dean. She won $1,000. The Pulitzer prize is what most journalists aspire to and when she was awarded that prize, it opened doors that she had not explored before. So she quit her job at the Chicago Tribune and moved to Ohio to teach and to give herself the time and space to write and publish her work.

The first book she wrote Mr Gatling’s Terrible Marvel: The gun that changed everything and the misunderstood genius who invented it. This book about the cultural impact of the creation of the Gaitling gun was published in 2008. This is a nonfiction book about the forerunner to the modern machine gun. When she worked on this book, Keller says she had been given the opportunity to write about anything from traumatic injuries to stories about lesser-known people who have had a great influence on the world we now live in. The thing about lesser known people and the big lives they end up living could be one of the reasons why her first book was a mystery novel whose events take place in West Virginia where the main character that being from West Virginia is like “living where nothing you do will ever matter… The world’s a big closed door.” The psychology of it all unravels in the story.

The themes that captivate Keller seem to be family, resilience and people’s capacity to be bigger than their circumstances. Julia Keller has transitioned into the world of fiction with a series of mystery novels known as the Bell Elkins Mysteries. This series chronicles the life of Bell Elkins a single mother who returns to a home town that has haunted her nightmares to face up to her past but she finds new horrors, another kind of evil that has befallen this childhood home. The first mystery book in the series is a “Killing in the hills” published in 2012. In this series, Keller creates the strong heroine Belfa “Bell” Elkins who despite a tragic childhood manages to get through law school, get married to a good guy who also happens to be lawyer and then have a child. Bell feels compelled to return to her old hometown and takes her reluctant 16 year girl with her. The town of Acker’s Gap is as wretched as any West Virginia town can be and being a District Attorney in a drug infested town whose inhabitants are imply ambling along through life proves to be a little bit more than what she had bargained for when her daughter Carla, witnesses. These murders set Bell and Carla on a path full of twists and turn and a cliffhanger of a climax.

Julia Keller’s work has been described as gripping, beautiful craftsmanship and as the Bell Elkins Mystery series continues, we can expect more suspense and thrills

Book Series In Order » Authors » Julia Keller