Interview with American Author Christopher Kelly
Mr. Kelly was born in Sacramento California. He earned a BA in Philosophy from UC Berkeley in 1981. Mr. Kelly worked for nearly twenty years in the Television industry mainly on the West coast. He served as a director and partner in local TV stations in Seattle and Sacramento. Exiting the TV industry in 1997, Mr. Kelly has served on numerous company and non-profit boards. He is the past Chairman of Chyron Corporation (now ChyronHego, ticker: chyr).
Mr. Kelly has had a lifelong passion for military history. America Invades: How America has invaded or been Militarily Involved with nearly every Country on Earth was his first book. This book was adapted for the UK and published by Amberley Press as All the Countries the Americans Have Ever Invaded
Kelly and his co-author, English historian Stuart Laycock, wrote Italy Invades: How Italians Have Conquered the World. This title was published in fall of 2015.
Mr. Kelly is currently editing a memoir about the outbreak of World War I that was written by his great grandfather, Thomas Tileston Wells. It will be published as An Adventure in 1914 in the fall of 2016.
Mr. Kelly is married and has three children. He lives in London and Seattle. We have conducted an interview with him today.
What really drove you to writing about theme of war history?
I have had a lifelong interest in military history. My father, to whom I dedicated America Invades, served with the US Army during the Korean War. One of my ancestors, Stephen Van Rensselaer, was an American General in the War of 1812. Another ancestor, James Van Rensselaer, was at the siege of Quebec in 1776.
I read Laycock’s book, All the Countries We’ve Invaded (History Press, 2012) about how Britain invaded 90 percent of all the world’s countries. I reviewed his book and forwarded it to the author. We met in a pub in London and became friends. As an American, I was curious to see how a similar approach to American military history would be. Hence we co-authored America Invades with chapters on every country in the world and a brief summary of America’s military involvement with each one.
How was the feeling-wise experience that you went through while writing war books ‘America Invades’ and ‘Italy Invades’?
I really enjoyed working with my co-author Stuart Laycock. I particularly liked the opportunity to interview American veterans who served in Vietnam and other conflicts. These interviews provided details and insights which could not have been found in published sources or on the Internet.
I also love to travel, take photography and get as close as possible to history. Last summer, for example, I enjoyed hiking with my teenage son along Hadrian’s Wall in Northern England where I took photography for Italy Invades: How Italians Conquered the World.
Please share with us the experience of co-authoring the books with British author Stuart Laycock.
Working with Stuart Laycock has been a great pleasure. We come at issues from different national and political perspectives. This forces us to work harder to create a balanced and non-partisan evaluation of military history. Both of us work to present an account of history that is respectful of all nationalities.
What is your upcoming book about and when likely it is to be available?
My next book will be titled An Adventure in 1914. It is not an “Invasion” book at all but rather a memoir. Nor is it really military history. The memoir was written by my great-grandfather, Thomas Tielston Wells (1865 – 1946). He was a New York lawyer who traveled with his wife and two children in Europe in the summer of 1914. They were caught up in the start of WorldWar I. Wells was even arrested by Austrian authorties, accused of being a Russian spy and threatened with immediate execution! His manuscript, written in 1914-15, was never published until now. In 2015 I retraced his footsteps taking photography along the way. I have written an Introduction and provided Historical Commentary.
An Adventure in 1914 is a message in a bottle from over a century ago. Its account of assassinations, mobilizations, financial crisis and the coming of war is startlingly relevant for 21st century readers.