Discover Your Island

Kelly Coughlin

An Outstanding Islander

Outline photo of Kelly Coughlin

Never Give Up

Once the idea to write a love story popped into the mind of Kelly Coughlin, she decided to make her dream of becoming a writer into a reality. Coughlin, who is working on her Master of Arts in Communication at the Island University, recently published her first fiction novel “Chasing Atlantis,” while balancing a full-time student and teaching workload.

“One day, I started thinking of a story just to entertain myself, and before I knew it, I couldn’t stop,” said Coughlin. “Even while standing in the post office, I would begin furiously scribbling dialogue down on whatever I could get my hands on.”

Welcoming the challenge as a Public Speaking Teaching Assistant juggling 50 students, nine semester hours, and countless hours of studying, Coughlin learned how to write whenever she had the chance. She says that graduate school taught her how to write on the fly and to set deadlines for herself.

“I actually wrote my novel in nine months, but I would constantly go back and edit what I had written,” said Coughlin. “I finally got to a point where I loved it and didn’t want to change a thing.”    

After facing 51 rejection letters, Coughlin decided to represent herself and take her novel to Outskirts Press, an independent publishing house. Guided by her publishing house, Coughlin was in charge of many of the publishing aspects including chapter content, approving a cover design, and even marketing.

“I tried publishing my book the old fashioned way by sending it to publishers but I got rejected – a lot,” said Coughlin. “I looked into self-publishing, and when I saw the finished result, it was everything I had ever dreamed of.”

Coughlin, who has degrees in International Communication and French, says that her real passion lies in writing and publishing her stories. She is working on her second novel, “Kingdom Come,” which she says will involve reality television and cater to an older audience.

“For students out there who want to write a book, don’t give up!” said Coughlin “Where there is a will, there is a way!”