Kelly writes Dangerous Passage


Bill Kelly, author of Dangerous Passage. Photo by Rick Watson.

Homewood author William F. Kelly has been busy promoting his latest book, Dangerous Passage. This book of historical fiction is set in France near the Swiss border during the early years of World War II.

Protagonist Paul Fortier works with the French Resistance to smuggle Jewish children from France, where they faced the possibility of death camps at the hands of the Nazis, to a safe haven in Switzerland.

Dangerous Passage is the first book of what will be a trilogy penned by Kelly. The second book is in the final stages of editing, and Kelly is shopping for a publisher.

Seventy-nine-year-old Kelly has lived in Homewood with his wife, Polly, for 25 years. He earned his master’s in education and afterward worked with the Catholic Church and the Department of Defense, as well as doing consulting work in the construction industry.

His work gave him an opportunity to travel extensively in Europe, South America and Alaska.  Having first-hand knowledge of the stories and landscape in France and Germany was key in selecting that setting for his novels.
Kelly got serious about writing 10 years ago after retirement. He wrote three books prior to his first published novel, Buck’s War.

“The first three books I wrote helped hone my skills as a writer,” he said. These books made Buck’s War and his latest work, Dangerous Passage, possible.

“Writing is the easy part,” Kelly said. “The hard part is marketing and selling the books.” It’s very difficult for new writers to get published. “There are tons of new writers in the Birmingham area who are struggling to find a publisher.” Kelly wrote an article for Senior Living newspaper on this very topic recently.

Kelly said that because he wasn’t an established writer, he couldn’t find a publisher who was interested, so he decided to self publish. This meant he had to promote and sell his books himself.

His self-promotion plan involves speaking at retirement homes, senior centers, book clubs, festivals, art clubs and civic clubs.
elly said he is selling books, but he’s working with local and national media to get more exposure for his work.

You can find Dangerous Passage at the Little Professor in Homewood, Cokesbury Books in Vestavia, The Book Seller at St. Vincent’s and Jim Reed Books downtown. Both Dangerous Passage and Buck’s War are available as eBooks from You can also purchase books online from Kelly’s website,

To request Kelly to speak at your church, civic function or other event, contact him at or 942-8919.


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