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How a busy mom of 5 wrote 5 romance novels in one year

Parenting blogger Audrey McClelland refused to give up on her dream.

As a mother of five kids ages 8 to 17, Audrey McClelland is used to having her hands full. But in 2021, at the age of 43, she’s gaining attention for some new deliveries: five romance novels.

“I got married when I was 25 and I had my first baby at 26,” McClelland told TODAY co-host Dylan Dreyer on Monday. “And it is true, you just start to go on a path and sometimes your passions have to take a backseat.” 

But that all changed when McClelland’s daughter joined a swim team. 

“I would be writing on the pool deck,” McClelland shared. “Whenever I had pockets and time early in the morning, 5 a.m., whenever I felt inspired, I would just sit and write and that’s what I just kind of trained myself to do.”

McClelland, a popular parenting blogger who has written for the TODAY Parenting Team, said the pandemic was also a turning point.

“I was just really thinking I really want to feel fulfilled, I really want to make this happen,” the Rhode Island-based author explained. 

She describes her self-published stories as “sweet, Hallmark-type romances,” much like her own love story with her husband, Matt McClelland. The couple, who met in college, have been married 20 years. 

“I always knew I wanted to do this and I felt like as the years kept going by, I kept seeing that little dream slip away from me more and more,” McClelland revealed. 

What worked for McClelland was carving out “little pockets of time” to focus on writing. She encourages other moms with career aspirations to do the same.

McClelland’s sixth book, “Love on Air,” comes out today. She's proud of herself — and the example that she is setting for her children.

“I really wanted them to see as older kids what can happen when you put in the hard work and hustle, and you have that dream and that love and the passion behind it," McClelland said.

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