Neighbor since: 1998
Bill Kennedy is the “queen” of the relationship thriller.
Under the pseudonym Diana Diamond, Kennedy earned that title after penning six novels, including “The Trophy Wife,” a romantic mystery People magazine named Beach Read of the Year by in 2000.
Kennedy, 75, had written military thrillers since 1979, after a career in advertising and technical writing, but sales of those novels went stale, and the wordsmith needed to reinvent himself.
When he pitched “The Trophy Wife” to his publisher, St. Martin’s Press, the company told him the book’s author should be a woman.
Diamond wasn’t revealed to the public as Kennedy until Halloween 2000, when he appeared on “Live with Regis and Kelly,” donning a bushy, blond wig.
Now, 16 books into his second career, Kennedy is comfortable in his own skin.
A nerve disability Kennedy developed two years ago has weakened his hands, forcing him to poke at a keyboard.
But the history nut is back to writing what he loves, cranking out two pages a night for two novels in the works under his own name.
IN HIS OWN WORDS:
On why he loves his neighborhood:
“It’s the nicest place I’ve ever lived. The people here are simply extraordinary. We’re a fraternity. I took my niece to a party here once and she said, ‘My God, you people live in a frat house.’”
On his story-telling ability:
“I love doing it. When I write a letter to my kids, it’s a story. When I write a letter to my grandkids at camp, it’s a story.”
On the changing market for authors:
“At one time, when you wrote a book, the publisher’s editor had to like it. Now it’s about critics. You have to put the book on the Internet and know how to promote it in blogs and chat rooms.”