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Graffiti Girl by Kelly Parra

Although Kelly Parra’s debut young adult novel, “Graffiti Girl,” has received rave reviews, only a handful of people appreciate what the author has achieved.
With a shy smile, the North Salinas resident admits her former high school classmates, teachers and casual friends won’t recognize the fact that “Kelly Parra” is someone they know.

Parra’s agent suggested she adopt a pen name for her novel about Latino youth, since her married name, Kelly Callihan, suggested an outsider’s view of the culture.

The 30-year-old Latina considered using her maiden name, Narciso, but again her agent intervened. Both women then agreed on adopting the young woman’s mother’s family name, since it would be easier to spell and remember. Thus, Kelly Callihan became Kelly Parra on the book cover.

Parra said she will continue to use the pseudonym for her youth adult novels but will rethink the situation if she returns to adult fiction.

The mother of two sold a romance novel to a major publisher before she wrote “Graffiti Girl.” Unfortunately, before the book was due to be published, the imprint was discontinued. Although she was compensated, Parra did not have the satisfaction of seeing her novel in bookstores.

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