The Least of These – Why It’s Special to Me | Pelican Book Group Official Blog

The Least of These has a special history in my life. I was what I call a closet writer. I dabbled in writing for years without anyone knowing. The manuscript that has become The Least of These took form over a twenty-year period. I would dig it out and add to it or edit, until time constraints would render it idle again.

During most of those years, I lived in Pittsburgh, worked as a teacher, an elementary principal, and raised three sons. That didn’t allow much time to pursue hobbies. At that juncture of my life, that’s what writing was—a hobby.

Fast forward to 2015 and living in South Carolina, I faced retirement from the principal job that I loved. I knew I needed a new focus, something to fill the gap. I read a wonderful non-fiction book by Mike Yankowski titled Under the Overpass. His true-life story had many similarities to my forgotten manuscript. Both were about writers who lived among the homeless by choice, not by necessity.

I was inspired to pull out my manuscript and get serious. I joined a writers’ group, a critique group, began attending conferences, and honed up my skills. The Least of These finally took shape. I entered it in a writing contest titled Fresh Voices where it placed first in the fiction category.

The Least of These is my first completed novel, although it wasn’t the first to reach publication. God was gracious to provide more than just another focus to fill the gap. He provided excitement, joy, and an avenue to give Him glory.

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Kathleen Neely


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