By Angela Higginbotham
Always passionate about people and mesmerized by the adventures and life tales that others have to share, Karl Kennell has many inspiring stories of his own. He grew up in Sarasota, Fla. and in the 1970s he moved to Los Angeles primarily to pursue his passion of theatre work, while also continuing his career working in building and development. He later retired into travel marketing.
He and his wife, Becky, met as kids while at a Sadie Hawkins dance. The two have been married for 38 years. They have lived in NW St. Johns County for many years and have three children. Kennell suffered a stroke in 2005 that left him partially paralyzed. With the encouragement of his wife to focus on something new, he took the advice that many had given him over the years and he completed his first book in a four-part series, Scuttlebutt from Scuppernong Cove.
“Everyone’s life is made up of tales,” Kennell said. “Some are sad, but most are of misadventures and fun. Why not share them?”
His love for others also resonates in the many years of volunteer work. Among others, Kennell devotes his time to the St. Francis House youth center in St. Augustine.
1) What do you enjoy most about living in St. Johns County?
St. Johns County has a nice flair. It’s a great place to live and raise a family.
2) Do you have a plan to write more books in the future and how often do you write?
I write every day because I love doing it. Yes, I have a plan to write more books. There will be three more books in the Scuttlebutt from Scuppernong Cove series. I’m thankful that the first book, “Christening Leena Too,” is easily accessible online for the community to hopefully enjoy the lives, laughs, worries and dreams of the characters I write about.
3) What do you enjoy doing outside of writing your books?
I’m always writing something. I volunteer. I’m working on a podcast and working hard to build up my readership and outreach, mostly through Facebook and YouTube. It’s not about selling books, it’s about sharing the story and building a readership. The money I make goes right back into more writing and activities to support that.
4) How do you encourage the youth at St. Francis House?
I just want to make myself available to them. I want them to know they can talk to me and I’ll listen. I give out composition books and encourage them to write their stories in them. I’ve told them that if they write, I’ll put them all together and then I’ll have a book published with all of their stories.
5) What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment thus far?
I don’t know yet. I had a life threatening stroke and I believe I was stroked by God. I feel like I may have something very important yet to do. I always say, “I want to do all I can and as much as I can, for as long as I can.” I’m very blessed to be alive.
[Editor’s Note: Longtime readers of The CreekLine may recognize Karl Kennell’s name from feature story bylines a few years back. We were privileged to have Karl write articles for us for several years and share his unique insight and flair in the stories he penned.]
Photo courtesy Karl Kennell