Nicole Kelly

Author Nicole Kelly

LAMENT flips the Ned Kelly story on its head.

Author of Lament, Nicole Kelly, is a writer, teacher, wife and mother who loves her life in rural Victoria. Her novel, Lament, is our December 2020 Bestseller, with exceptional reviews rolling in almost daily.

Lament, the fresh, fictional re-telling of Australian bushranger, Ned Kelly’s life, takes its readers from the true event – the attempted de-railing of the train at Glenrowan – and explores what might have been, had that attempt succeeded. From one Kelly to another – the gift of life to an Australian legend whose brutal ending came too soon, or so say some.

Hawkeye Publishing is thrilled that the first wave of books released under our book publishing arm includes Lament, a culturally significant re-write of an Australian legend … the Ned Kelly story. Nicole Kelly, along with authors L. E. Daniels, Khaiah Thomson and Cate Sawyer, make history for Hawkeye Publishing as the debut team selected to represent quality works by Hawkeye.

Front cover: Lament

Reviews for Lament:

‘An absorbing take on a figure in history we’ve all learnt or read about. The Ned Kelly story flipped on its head is gritty, unique, bittersweet.’

Book Reviewer

“If you are a fan of the Ned Kelly legend or Australian history in general, this book will surprise and delight you.’

Cass Moriarty

“I often judge a book’s effect on the feelings which well up as I finish reading it, and in the case of ‘Lament’ I literally stopped breathing for a few seconds because my heart was so full of emotion.”

Marian Matta

Lament is clever, wicked, action-packed, thought provoking and satisfying.

Caitlyn Leigh

Q&A With Author Nicole Kelly

Are you related to Ned Kelly?

Sadly, no! I have loved the story of the Kelly Gang for decades. I grew up in Kelly Country in the North-East of Victoria and met elderly residents who had personal connections to the Kellys and the Harts. These stories piqued my interest in the story even more. It is just sheer coincidence that I went on to marry a Kelly.

What drives you to write?

I wrote my first full-length manuscript at 15, and it was terrible. But it was the first time I shared my work with others (which is still a terrifying experience). A few years ago, I made the decision to explore my writing seriously. I knew it would mean juggling my career as a teacher and my family in order to do it, but I had to give it a shot. Luckily I have a supportive husband and kids.

I have written non-fiction articles, short stories and am currently writing my second novel. The diversity of writing appeals to me.

Favourite book?

This is like asking a mother to choose her favourite child! I have read so many books that could be favourites, but I will list a few that I have loved and kept on my shelf. In my house, only the very best get a place on the shelf…I am ruthless about which books stay.

  • The Light Between Oceans – M.L Steadman
  • Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
  • Becoming – Michelle Obama
  • Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
  • The Dry – Jane Harper
  • Lovely War – Julie Berry

What is your professional background?

Teacher for the last 12 years. I have completed my Masters Education (Leadership) and have really enjoyed my time helping students and teachers to love writing and reading. My role now allows me to be in the classroom teaching primary students, as well as working with staff to coach them in their own literacy teaching.

What do you do with friends and family in your spare time?

We love heading to the local café, day trips to the zoo, family Monopoly challenges and going for a walk together. Picnics are also a winner.  

What do you love about living rurally?

I love the country – I always have. It means knowing the people in your town, saying hello to the man who runs the newsagent and the butcher, who is also the local auskick coach. It’s a special feeling. There is always space to breathe and walk.

I’ve lived in the Mallee and also spent time as a governess (a home teacher) to students on a sheep station near Broken Hill. Living in the outback was such a special experience. The sheer expanse of land and sky is something that will stay with me forever. It’s one place that I’m looking forward to writing about.

Favourite holiday destination?

Watching the river run past with a rod or my favourite book in hand is idyllic. Swan Hill is a favourite place to visit for the whole family.

I lived in northern Scotland for a year and absolutely loved the people and the sheer beauty of the countryside. The accents were pretty amazing too. I am looking forward to the day that I can take my kids to Scotland and explore it with them.   

Travelling is a passion that I explored before having children and now I can’t wait to travel again as a whole family. There are so many wonderful places to see and people to meet.

Would you like readers to contact you?

Absolutely! I would love to hear from readers and writers. Being a part of the Australian writing community is something that really excites me about my writing journey.

The contact form on this site is a great way to contact me! Hawkeye will forward your messages to me.

Or else you can find me on Twitter @ruralvicwriter


Guest Speaker event:

Between The Covers Podcast – Listen to this great interview with Hawkeye author Nicole Kelly here.

Nicole Kelly in conversation with Jock Serong at the Port Fairy Literary Weekend. Recorded at Blarney Books & Art in July 2021.

Nicole Kelly at Blarney Books & Art


Australian Book Lovers Podcast – Episode 32 hosts Veronica and Darren interview ‘the astronomically amazing Nicole Kelly!’

PODCAST – In conversation with Darren from the Australian Book Lovers Podcast 2021

Nicole spoke with Darren from the Australian Book Lovers podcast in 2021, which was released in September. Here are some highlights from the conversation.

“Being able to spend an hour speaking with Darren about Lament and my experience of writing it, was a wonderful experience! What a thrill to be able to be part of a celebration of Australian literature like this.

We discussed ways to move a story forward from first draft to publication, including having an editor for critical feedback right through to entering it in the Hawkeye Manuscript Development prize and receiving a publishing contract. 

I also spoke about Editor, Alison Arnold’s, great feedback and advice when I was getting to the end of writing and editing Lament. She encouraged me to do other writing as well, and not just focus on my novel, rather to do some other short pieces, and keep submitting, because, she said, I wouldn’t be so hung up on getting that one big yes.”

Australian Booklovers mission is to bring Australian literature to book lovers around the world. 

Interview with Stella Glorie from Thirty Books:

Author chat Nicole Kelly her novel reimagines iconic Australian history

Stella Glorie chats with author Nicole Kelly

Lament is available at Everybody Knows Books in Ballarat.

John and Marian at Everybody Knows Books

Library shelf recommendations at Beaufort Library

Nicole checking out her name on the billing of the Port Fairy Literary Weekend

Nicole with her biggest fans.

Other work:

Short Story – ‘The Roses’ published in the short story anthology ‘Close To Heaven.

This is a short sample reading of Lament, read by the author herself.

2 comments to “Nicole Kelly”

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  1. Sandra Moon - November 25, 2020 Reply

    Hi Nicole,
    I’m the breakfast presenter on ABC Goulburn Murray (Albury Wodonga Wangaratta Shepparton) & would love to have a chat with you about “Lament”.
    Our listeners are always interested in anything to do with Ned Kelly!
    Please let me know if you’re available at some time & we can arrange it.


    • Carolyn Martinez - November 25, 2020 Reply

      Hi Sandra, I’ve passed on your details to the author of Lament, Nicole Kelly – she’ll be in touch soon. Just so you know, she does a great Ned Kelly accent, and has interesting things to say about Hero or Villain. Kind regards, Carolyn, Hawkeye

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