Magnolia and Tomball have long enjoyed a small-town feel and friendliness that many area residents find comfortable. At least two area residents found inspiration living in the friendly, country environment that led them to successful writing ventures.
Author Terri Kelley lived in Tomball for several years, after she came to know the town because her mother came there for therapy.
"I had three kids and it seemed like a perfect place to raise a family," she said.
While she was employed in sales, she saw a billboard about becoming a teacher. The idea appealed to her and she became certified and taught first grade in the Cy Fair district. Soon she moved to Tomball ISD's Rosehill Elementary as a second grade teacher and later served as reading specialist and gifted and talented specialist for Northpointe Intermediate School. After two of her three children graduated from Tomball High, her husband was sent to work in Oregon, and the family moved there in 2009.
Kelley was working on her graduate degree and expecting to go into school administration when a travel trailer accident made it impossible for her to stand for any length of time and caused her to abandon those plans.
"I was depressed and really needed a new life goal," she said. "I had always enjoyed writing children's books and wrote one called Gingerly, which brought in many of my experiences working in Tomball with the students. My husband talked me into publishing the book last December. I am happy to say that it is already selling well. I have several more children's books in the works and can't wait to publish those, too."
Kelley is creating a series of textbooks for elementary children called Writing is a Process. She hopes the books will help children develop a passion for writing down their thoughts and ideas, just like she has.
"I believe I have found my true life's work."
Kelley's books are available on her website: terrikelleybooks.com, or through Amazon.com.
"I welcome comments or questions from children who have read my books. My email is right on the site," she said.
Another author, Rick Fontes, enjoys the peaceful life in Magnolia while he lets his imagination take him into all types of stories that he has turned into books in several genres. Fontes spent more than 20 years as a noted photographer of babies and toddlers in day care centers around the country. He wrote down his tips and techniques as a how-to manual for others who might be interested in a baby photography career, and found he liked writing. He retired from the photography business and moved to Magnolia from Houston "because I liked the country life," and started writing.
"I have all these ideas in my head," he said. "I don't want to confine my writing to any particular genre. I'd rather have something that will appeal to everyone. I like my books to be short enough, maybe 200-250 pages, so someone could read one during a plane flight."
So far Fontes has written eight books that include a poetry book, a book of short stories, a tale about the future, a western novel and several action-adventure stories that feature one hero character, Rick Moreno.
"I have a sci-fi idea that I want to work on next," he adds.
Fontes explained how his ideas took root. "I thought of my characters while I was driving all over as a photographer. Dreaming up their adventures occupied my mind while I was traveling alone. Now I have time to write them down." Fontes' books are available on Amazon.com and on lulu.com.