PSST! player romance novel gets nod

Dean Poling | The Valdosta Daily TimesKelly Fletcher, who has roles in all three Peach State Summer Theatre shows, is the author of a series of romance novels. She has been nominated for a romance novel writing award. 

VALDOSTA — Peach State Summer Theatre fans know Kelly Fletcher as Donna in "Mamma Mia!"

And Marmee March in "Little Women: The Broadway Musical."

And Lottie in "Crazy for You."

But to readers of romance novels, she is K.G. Fletcher, author of the "Southern Promises" series and the new "Reigning Hearts" series.

Her book, "Georgia Pines," the third novel in the "Southern Promises" series, is a finalist in the romantic suspense category of the 2019 Maggie Awards sponsored by Georgia Romance Writers.

"This is huge for my brand and for me as a published indie-author," she said in an announcement to PSST! management. "This is my Amazon bestseller which hit No. 3 on the Amazon charts back in December. I am over the moon excited."

Being named finalist is the latest success for Fletcher who took a major life leap in May.

She had been juggling working full-time at a corporate job; writing, publishing and marketing books; and performing as a singer with Remember When Rock Was Young: The Elton John Tribute.

Two months ago, she walked away from the eight-hour-a-day cubicle of her Atlanta corporate job to take the roles with Peach State Summer Theatre.

"I was ready to return to a creative life," Fletcher said. "To be an artist."

PSST! has been a homecoming figuratively and literally.

Though she never gave up performing, Peach State has required a full-time commitment of nearly three months to rehearse, open and perform in three professional shows playing Sawyer Theatre in the Valdosta State University Fine Arts Building. PSST! shows conclude July 21.

But PSST! isn't the first time she's performing in Sawyer.

Fletcher is a 1988 graduate of the Valdosta State University Theatre program.

Following graduation, she traveled to New York where she worked in theatre. She then signed on as a cruise ship performer, making regular stops in and around Hawaii for 14 months.

She moved to Atlanta where she met her husband, Ladd Fletcher, who played in a band. She joined the band and they toured as The Blend for five years along the East Coast. They moved to Nashville, Tenn., where they played the Bluebird Cafe. They signed a record deal with an independent label and recorded some songs that received radio play.

The Fletchers had three sons who are now 23, 21 and 19 years old.

They returned to the Atlanta area, setting into Dunwoody, where they started a drama ministry at a church. They led the ministry for several years, she said.

Following the church, she took the job in a cubicle while still performing with the tribute band and writing romance novels.

She had multiple offers to publish her first romance novel. She signed with a traditional publishing house but made no money from the first books. Fletcher opted to self-publish, giving herself the responsibility of marketing with the possibility of making money, too.

Going independent has led to increased attention, increased sales and the creation of a following of fans who know Fletcher as "The Singing Author." Her website, kgfletcherauthor.com, mixes news of her books along with her singing gigs, including her current roles in PSST!

With a couple more weeks of Peach State left, she plans to return home to her husband and work on her books and return to the Elton John tribute show.

Winning a Maggie "could be a game changer for me," Fletcher said. 

She will also finish writing and prepare for publication the second and third books in the "Reigning Hearts" series.

Until then, she said she will enjoy her PSST! roles.

"It's cool to play Donna," she said of her "Mamma Mia!" role. "She's so close to who I've been for the past 25 years. She's a singer who once performed for thousands of people as part of Donna and the Dynamos. So it's cool playing that kind of character."

Ten years ago, she ran into Jacque Wheeler, her former Valdosta State theatre professor who is also PSST! artistic director. Then, Wheeler said she could see Fletcher playing Donna.

Ten years later, Wheeler recalls that conversation, contacts Fletcher and Fletcher is singing Donna on stage.

And writing love stories off stage.

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