Jean's Take

A blog about words, women, & whimsy

Category: Backstage at the White House

Why did Jean start Writing?

Menopause! Yes, that’s right, I started writing fiction when I was teaching English in a Girl’s High School, finishing my Masters in Liberal Studies and going through Menopause—all at the same time. Another sympathetic English teacher and I agreed that if men suffered from it there would be all sorts of cures, so we decided to each come up with an idea for a humorous story. Well, by the time we discussed it again, my idea had turned into a book and characters had begun to take over my head. I was hooked.   Backstage at the White House turned out to be a far cry from Menopause and I wrote three other books before I finished it but it all started because of it.  Strange things do happen.


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Two Months in but Still Hoping . . .

Emily Dickinson wrote—Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul—and sings the tune without the words—and never stops—at all.

I hope—all those reading this and all whom I hold dear—will have a Healthy, Prosperous and Happy—New Year . . .
I hope—this world will be a kinder and gentler place—with peace and goodwill for all—and that Mother Nature will give a break—no floods, no fires, no storms—that would be good for everyone’s sake . . .
I hope—that I find some dress shoes that won’t hurt my feet—and that our President will think to tweak before he Tweets.
I hope—my novel Backstage at the White House will find the audience it deserves—and President Forbes and Stacey Lee’s story will finally be heard . . .
I hope that you will add your hope—however, don’t forget to rhyme—after all—Emily did it all the thyme.

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Backstage on Kindle

Backstage at the White House is now available on Kindle.  You may have to look for it, but, I assure you, it’s there.  I watched my daughter download it as the first selected novel on her new Kindle.  It was exciting to watch the opening page fill her screen—Backstage at the White House, a novel by Jean Candlish Kelchner.  But the word ‘exciting’ is hardly adequate for I recognize her gesture as a symbol of her love and her pride in me for writing it.  We have that between us; she touches me deeply.  You see, she’s already read the book.  Now it’s your turn . . .

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ForeWord Clarion Review of my novel BACKSTAGE AT THE WHITE HOUSE!

Four Stars (out of Five) from ForeWord CLARION Reviews.

It’s undeniable that the last presidential election turned many people into political junkies. Blame it on the dramatic struggle for votes in the primaries, the accessibility of candidates through social media or the almost constant yammering of political pundits on cable news channels. As the new administration gets to work, many people who followed every tick of election coverage long for the intrigue and excitement of politics—a feeling that is captured almost perfectly in Jean Candlish Kelchner’s Backstage at the White House.

On the surface, Stacey Lea Forbes is the ideal first lady to Goodman Palmer Forbes, the nation’s popular president. Behind the scenes, however, Forbes is a tantrum-prone tyrant, and Stacey is unhappy. When a luncheon for one of Stacey’s causes takes a turn for the worse, the President has a fit that sends the First Lady home to Mississippi. There, she begins to uncover a conspiracy to keep women out of politics and power. With the help of a few well-placed female friends, Stacey finds a new cause—to get a woman into a position of real power in the White House.

At first, Backstage at the White House may seem like another witty, wise, and sometimes wicked book in the Chic Lit canon. But this isn’t your typical foray into the world of girl power. Kelchner has crafted a group of dynamic characters who possess southern manners, an elite lifestyle, and an intelligent effervescence that propels them through a world bound by those who crave power.

Balancing social commentary and satire, Kelchner weaves this tale with an ear for history and politics. Nowhere is this clearer than when a discussion by Stacey and her friends references the prominence of the rose as a symbol in British history, General William Sherman, the Lysistrata by Aristophanes, and Immanuel Kant in the span of a page.

This makes Backstage a dishy, fun read, but may leave some readers wishing for less talk. Stacey and her companions are so busy chatting sometimes that they don’t allow the reader to experience the glittery world of Washington politerati: the beehive of White House offices, the elegant luncheons, or the boudoirs where desire and control are sometimes indistinguishable. Nonetheless, Backstage at the White House is a fascinating novel, sure to keep readers longing for a sequel and political junkies counting down to the next election.

Katerie Prior

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