Deep and Wide

Today’s post by this month’s featured author, Kimberly Brock | @kimberlydbrock

Kimberly Brock

Getting the idea for The River Witch was, like everything else in writing, a teeth-gnashing, crazy-making process. I was completely in love with the idea and lolling around my bedroom floor listening to Richard Marx, sobbing because I couldn’t get it to commit. (If you don’t know who Richard Marx is, you really need to read this book and then call me. We’ll talk.)

*No, Richard Marx is not actually in this book. No, his music did not influence or inspire me, although I was very much inspired by an almost forgotten music called Sacred Harp. Alas, Richard was a metaphor. I’m southern. We do that a lot.

In all literary seriousness, I read this article about a couple of women who decided to open a pumpkin farm. The pictures were gorgeous. I imagined the heart-stirring music of the mountain band and the warmth of the community round the harvest table. Everywhere, there was this beautiful, round, sumptuous fruit; these gourds and pumpkins, round and full and smooth. It was such a compelling illustration of fertility. Just the things a lost woman like Roslyn Byrne yearns for as the main character in The River Witch.

*Yes, I did get pregnant with my third child right about then. Probably just from looking at these pictures.

Then one day, about a year later, I saw another report. This time they were showing people floating down a river inside giant pumpkins that had been rigged up as boats. I got excited. I saw the element of water, the continuity of cycles and the ecology of a Sea Island with its rivers and marshes and the hold-outs from a disappearing culture. And I wondered, what would I see if I was a little girl without a mother — or a mother without a child? And then ten-year-old, audacious, motherless Damascus Trezevant started talking to me. From there, we were all carried away on an ancient current, so to speak.

What evolved was a story about surrender, a mystical southern tale set against the backdrop of the Sea Islands. But above all, The River Witch is about the difficult and profound choices we all make in the name of love. Because, after all, what else is there worth writing about?

Kimberly’s novel is this month’s featured book club selection. There’s still plenty of time to enter our giveaways–a southern gift basket loaded with goodies and a Kindle–see this post for details.

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About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of the popular online book club, She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). Her novel, THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS, will be published in January 2014 by Doubleday. Ariel believes that Story is the shortest distance to the human heart.

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4 Responses to Deep and Wide

  1. Melinda K Taylor June 13, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Sounds like a good read. For some reason I love books about islands and water

  2. Cynthia Robertson June 13, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Hilarious that you connect looking a the photos of pumpkins with getting pregnant. Love that. The power of photos can help birth a book, or a baby. :-) That image of people sailing in pumpkins is going to stick with me for awhile today, Kimberly. I may have to google it later.

  3. Kimberly Brock June 13, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I have lots of theories about why women are drawn to stories about water and islands, Melinda! I’ll be slipping in on the book discussion and maybe sharing some of that. Happy reading! xo

  4. Kimberly Brock June 13, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Hey Cynthia! I know, pretty funny about those pumpkins. But I do find that any art or form of expression will often result in the reaction of another form of expression. I think that’s the power of story, how it connects us all in our search for meaning – and for the divine in our lives. ;)
    Can’t wait to hear what you think about those pumpkin races! lol

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