Thursday, May 6, 2010

Guest post with Karen White, author of On Folly Beach


After hearing all about Karen White on her more recent tours promoting "The House on Tradd Street" and "The Girl on Legare Street", and after my thoroughly enjoyable experience reading her recent book, "On Folly Beach", I was thrilled to have her come visit via a guest post on You've GOTTA Read This! In some of her visits to other blogs over the past months, I've been mighty impressed with this lady. Not only is she very personable, she is incredibly busy, cranking out about two books a year, but also juggles family life with kids, laundry and a social schedule, all in a very organized fashion. A woman after my own heart! Let's see what's going on with Karen today:

Right now I’m at the Southern Kentucky Book Festival surrounded by about 149 other authors and lots of lots of books and readers—two of my favorite groups. Seriously, it doesn’t get much better than hanging out all day with people who love to do what I love to do: read and write. If a group of chocolatiers or donut-makers showed up, I would know that I had died and gone to heaven.

I just came from speaking on a panel of five authors (myself included). The panel’s title was “Established Southern Writers.” I guess I never really considered myself “established” before—at least not before I sat behind my signing table and the stacks of my backlist books—all ten of them. I kind of felt like a glutton peering behind my teetering stacks. Granted, I have been writing for ten years and it did take me four years to write that first book. I’ve just learned to write faster now. Much faster.

My fellow authors are surprised that I write two novels a year. So was my family when I first told them that I had to stop cooking dinner because I needed the time to write. But it’s all been good. I’m a lousy cook anyway, and my time is better spent writing. I’m currently writing the third book in my four-book Tradd Street mystery series and, according to the reader letters I’ve been receiving, I need to write faster. After I push the ugly thoughts aside about my whip-wielding readers, I sit back with thankfulness. I’m thankful that readers are loving my characters and stories so much that they’re bereft when they’re away from them. That’s the absolutely best part of being a writer.

Am I a workaholic? Maybe. Although I suspect that when I’m offered a contract it’s more like a starving person going grocery shopping: I enthusiastically help myself without thinking that my time has other commitments (like doing laundry and raising children). But I love writing. Even more than writing, I love sharing my stories with readers. And it’s all working out. My next book, ON FOLLY BEACH (May 4, 2010) has been finished since last November, which gave me the month of December to celebrate the holidays with my family. My November 2010 book (FALLING HOME) is a re-write of an old 2002 release—it’s got a great new cover and a re-haul of the writing although the story and characters are the same. Re-writing a novel wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, but it was a lot easier than starting from scratch.

Still, by the end of 2010, I will have had thirteen books published in ten years. I’m no Nora Roberts, but it’s a lot of books. I didn’t plan on that, it’s simply been the natural progression of my career. I’ve learned how to write cleaner, sharper, faster, and, I believe, better. I’ve learned what to give up (cooking, television) so I have the time to do the things I want to do (writing, spending time with my family). Like everything in life that’s worth doing, it takes hard work and sacrifice, but the rewards are endless.

The perks are nice, too. Here at the festival there’s a famous children’s book author signing her backlist and her most current books. When my children (now 16 and 18) were little, I bought all of her books and read them to my kids, who can still quote lines from the books. I just earned major “mommy points” by getting them each a signed copy of two of their favorites. It’s no small feat impressing a teenager.

Tomorrow I have a long 5-hour drive back home. I’ve got a book on CD to listen to, and five hours of blissful aloneness before returning to deadlines and laundry. But it’s all good.


Doesn't it feel like you've just had a chat with an old friend? And her enthusiasm is infectious. She obviously loves what she's doing, and that shows in her work. If you haven't had a chance, make sure you check out my review of On Folly Beach!







14 comments:

Melody said...

Thanks for the guest post!
I'm impressed and so in awe of Karen! I enjoy reading her books and I can't wait for her third book of the Tradd Street series to be released!

PS: I'm currently reading On Folly Beach and am loving it. Great chacterisation and great plot!

Beth F said...

I love her comment on cooking! I have the first of the House books here -- will read it soon.

bermudaonion said...

I'm totally jealous that you scored this guest post! I'm actually going to a Book Your Lunch event for Karen next week that I'm super excited about!

Serena said...

This is such a great guest post and I loved it. Her books rock!

Zibilee said...

What a great post! She sounds like an incredibly industrious lady!! I won a copy of The Girl on Legare Street over at Dar's blog and I am going to be trying to grab a copy of The House on Tradd Street as well. I have heard amazing things about them both. I also am going to be reading On Folly Beach in the very near future as well, and I am greatly looking forward to it after reading your wonderful review. Most of the things that drew your attention to the book are things that I am excited about as well...especially the lighthouse and bookstore angles!

The Bumbles said...

Karen is speaking to the secret of success - prioritize your life to focus on the things you love. No excuses. Thanks for sharing that message.

Literary Feline said...

Thank you for such a great gust post! I am glad Karen gets to do what she loves. I look forward to exploring her work further.

Kathleen said...

Thanks for the guest post. It is incredible what Karen is able to accomplish at home and with her craft. I've yet to read one of her novels but will get around to it soon!

Julie P. said...

Great guest post. I've heard nothing but wonderful things about her novels.

Iliana said...

Well, she may not be Nora Roberts - yet! I see I have a lot of books to catch up on. I just keep reading such great reviews of her books. Thank you for the guest post, Sandy!

Jo-Jo said...

What a great guest post this is. Karen just seems like such a down to earth person. I also have a guest post here from Karen that you might be interested in.

Alice Teh said...

Hello Sandy! Hello Karen! I have toned down my workaholic streak quite a bit and learned to relax a bit. :)

I hope to read Karen's books soon. I've heard so many good things about them!

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) said...

Wow! I knew that she was really busy, but that is so impressive that she manage to get out two books a year.

Lisa said...

I love reading White's guest posts. She really does talk to the readers as if we are her friends. I would totally be willing to give up cooking if it meant I could have time to write. Of course, I'd have to be successful enough to pay for all of those meals to be brought in!