About Me

Kelly author best copy

Welcome to my website and have fun fishing around!

Here’s a little bit about me:  I’ve been trying to make the world a better place since I arrived with a book clutched tightly in my little fist. Indeed, some of my best friends are books. I taught nature day camp at the Norman Bird Sanctuary and environmental education as a Peace Corps Volunteer with the Jamaica Junior Naturalists. From there I flew to Dutch Harbor and boarded the Mineshima Maru to spend a few months in the Bering Sea with three other women and three hundred Japanese men(!), performing intimate operations on Pollock such as collecting otoliths and, well, sexing them. I spent most of my career as a fish biologist saving the salmon, managing a multitude of projects in the Columbia River basin from endangered Kootenai River sturgeon to the offspring of Lonesome Larry in Redfish Lake. I’ve been slowly undergoing metamorphosis from a fish biologist who writes to a writer who used to work as a fish biologist. I enjoy writing about nature and have recently had articles and essays published on salmon, scallops, sea turtles, narwhals, and quahogs.

I’m an avid ocean swimmer and spend a lot of time hanging out with jelly fish and salps. Here’s a guest blog I wrote recently about my Ocean State where we swim, even in winter! For the past thirteen summers, I’ve swam 1.7 miles across Narragansett Bay to raise funds for Save the Bay because, as I’ll tell you in the following tv commercial, I’m part fish. I love to walk the beach and feel happiest when I have sand between my toes.

My husband, Andy, and I have beat the odds and been married for 29 years and counting. He and I are East meets West—I was born into the fourteenth generation off the Mayflower and he to a family logging business. Hailing respectively from the next towns to Newport, Rhode Island and Newport, Oregon, we met as Peace Corps volunteers where he worked with yam farmers in a town called Wait-A-Bit. Our goal has always been to raise our children to be citizens of the world and to that end we’ve taken them to live for a year in Portugal and another two in Costa Rica. I’ve had thirteen pregnancies and given birth to seven children, only five of whom are living today. 

I’ve never been highly decorated, but I was the spelling bee champion of my second grade class and once took first place in both the rose and dahlia competitions at the Norman Bird Sanctuary Harvest Fair. I currently live on Aquidneck Island, the original Rhode Island, with Andy and our three youngest children (the other two are in grad school). But my favorite place to write is in our yurts on the coast of Oregon.

Kelly Kittel in Costa Rica

Tamarindo Beach, Costa Rica, 2009

P.S. You can read my latest interview here with my fellow Ocean State author, Tabitha Lord Jorgensen on Book Club Babble and watch this YouTube radio interview here with the fabulous Drs. Heidi and Gloria Horsley! Another fun interview is here with my fellow author across the pond, Virginia Macgregor. Other interviews can be found here with the intrepid author, Danuta Pfeiffer or here with my sister SWP author LG O’Connor or here with Laura E. Davis on her blog, Dear Outer Space.

Listen to this fun interview with Kevin Tumlinson, the Wordslinger, or this radio show with another fellow SWP author, Dorit Sasson, on Giving Voice to Your Courage or this radio show on MyND TALK with Dr. Pamela Brewer!

Or watch my TEDx talk, “Why We Should Share Our Stories” here or this fun half hour of me here as a guest on the local tv show, Be My Guest, with Jan Lewis! So many activities!