Kingsport Times-News: Author Keith Donnelly to hold meet and greet, book signing in Kingsport

Author Keith Donnelly to hold meet and greet, book signing in Kingsport

Holly Viers • Aug 3, 2018 at 1:00 PM

KINGSPORT — Keith Donnelly has been thrilling readers with his Donald Youngblood mystery series for more than 10 years.

Now fans have a chance to meet the well-known regional author in person. Donnelly will be greeting readers and signing books Sunday at the Fort Henry Mall, and all of his works will also be available for purchase.

Event details

Donnelly and his wife, Tessa, will be at I Love Books Bookstore for a meet and greet from 2-4 p.m. All seven titles in the Donald Youngblood series will be available for signing at the event.

All titles may be purchased individually, but there are special prices for volumes one and two together and for the entire set.

The author’s story

Donnelly was born and raised in Johnson City. His parents owned part interest in the Sevier Theatre Corporation, which included two movie theaters in downtown Johnson City, as well as one in Jonesborough and the Skyline Drive-In Theatre. Donnelly’s interest in writing detective fiction stemmed from those early private eye movies.

After graduating from Science Hill High School, Donnelly went on to East Tennessee State University, graduating with a degree in economics. He worked with publishers in New York City as a sales representative from 1967 to 1992 before moving back to his native Tennessee.

At that time, Donnelly and his wife moved to Gatlinburg, where they opened a sales office to work with Southern publishers. On Nov. 28, 2016, the couple’s home of 25 years was lost in the Gatlinburg wildfires that claimed 14 lives and many other homes and businesses in Sevier County.

Donnelly admits he didn’t write a word for more than two months after the loss. After six months of living in hotels and rentals, the Donnellys decided to move to Kingsport on July 1 of last year, and they’ve remained in the city ever since.

Donald Youngblood

Donnelly is known for his Donald Youngblood mystery series, the first volume of which was released in 2007. Youngblood is a private investigator who works on a series of dangerous and intriguing cases.

“I wanted to write a book that I’d want to read,” Donnelly said. “So I kept the chapters short and I kept it fast-paced, and I always thought private detective fiction was more interesting if it was told in first person, so you only know as much as he does. So you’re trying to figure it out while he’s trying to figure it out.”

The latest installment of the series, “Three Divers Deep,” was released in December of last year. It draws some of its plot from the Gatlinburg fire, though the location and story are fictionalized.

“Sometimes you think you know where a book is going to go, and it doesn’t go there,” Donnelly said. “People asked me about book seven, ‘Are you going to write about the fire?’ and I said, ‘No, I’m not,’ but then the story took me there. So I didn’t have a choice.”

What’s next?

Donnelly is working on the eighth installment of the series, which is set to publish sometime next year. After that, he’s considering writing a prequel to the entire series.

“I really enjoy doing it,” Donnelly said. “I’ve talked to other authors and read about other authors, and a lot of them seem to be just like me: They just get the story started and let it go.”

For more information about Donnelly’s work, visit

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