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Keely Hutton is an educational journalist and former teacher. She is the recipient of the Highlights Foundation Writers Workshop scholarship at Chautauqua. Since 2012, she has been working closely with Ricky Richard Anywar to tell his story. SOLDIER BOY is her first novel. Ricky Richard Anywar is the founder of the internationally acclaimed charity Friends of Orphans, and a former child soldier in Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). Since escaping the LRA, Anywar has dedicated his life to rehabilitating other survivors and advocating for peace in their communities. When she’s not writing,  Keely enjoys playing piano, reading, and planning Disney trips with her family.

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Keely Hutton
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I moved from my childhood home of Virginia Beach, VA to Canton, NY at age sixteen.  I learned a great deal from that experience.  I learned that winter can last more than 6 months, that you can 
re-invent yourself and be the person you always wanted to be, that family can be a lifeline in difficult times and that high school does eventually come to an end (thank goodness).  And although I didn’t discover this important lesson until years later when I started writing, I learned that our worst memories can provide the best inspiration.  

Following high school, I attended Le Moyne College, got married, taught middle school English for six years, completed my Masters in Education and had two beautiful sons.  

During my time home with my children, I found that although I loved trying to find Blue’s Clues as much as the next person, the intellectual and creative portions of my brain were slowly atrophying.  So, along with my daily routine of crunches to whittle away the baby weight that by then should have been called toddler weight, I began writing children’s books.  I started with picture books and eventually moved to young adult novels, which have been my focus for the last two years.    

When I am not teaching 8th grade ELA, I am writing my third young adult novel, SIGH.  Between chapters, I am busy revising my other young adult novel, IN THE CREASE and submitting FINDING OBENO to agents.  The three stories are completely different, which helps keep my writing fresh and exciting for me, and hopefully, in time, for my readers.
 
Outside of writing, I enjoy reading, planning Disney vacations, watching my sons play lacrosse, chatting with Ricky over Skype, laughing with my friends, and studying Isshin-ryu karate.  I highly recommend karate for writers.  There is nothing better than being encouraged to hit, kick and scream as loud as you can after a stressful day of revising or worse yet, receiving another rejection letter. Writing helps you reflect on the spiritual component of karate, and karate helps foster patience and perseverance.  Though, admittedly, I’m still working on the patience aspect of my training.  

5 Truths and 1 Lie
I once played a man in the musical, The Club.
I am fluent in Spanish.
I am a World Champion in Isshin-ryu karate.
I can’t stand hot beverages.
I know all the lyrics to Devil Went Down to Georgia.
I once dressed as a giant acorn.


The lie?  No hablo espanol.

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Keely Hutton
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Ricky Richard Anywar and Keely, Summer 2012