Literary First Love – Kimberly Brock

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

Update: the winner of Kimberly’s novel is Susan Coster. She has been notified by email. Thanks to everyone who entered!

My first literary love was not a book. See, I’m already off topic. But bear with me here. I was crazy about books from the time I first goggled my eyes at one. I still have my grandfather’s old Bible, marked up and smelling of tractor grease and hayfields. Sometimes I take it out to read it and end up smelling it, instead, because it reminds me of hours of that man telling me those stories. The problem was, when She Reads asked me to recall my first literary love I froze. I couldn’t think of one single book. It was like trying to take a multiple choice test where I could talk myself into all the answers. I loved too many, I thought!

So, I got myself into a quiet place to think a minute. (hid in my closet) And I realized the reason I couldn’t settle on one book as my literary first love is because I don’t love books. I love STORIES. My earliest memories of story are the ones my granny made up before bedtime and I would close my eyes and imagine the worlds she built. I have memories of my mother playing pretend with me for hours, either as a wicked stepmother or a handsome prince, or even with the hole in her fuzzy blue house shoes where her toe peeped through and magically transformed into a turtle. Through story, I learned, we are transformed.

Every year I lived and breathed for the nights when the network channels showed Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz and The Sound of Music, and then I spent weeks acting out my favorite scenes, becoming the characters, experiencing life beyond my own limitations.

I discovered the library. Not just any library, but the old Dalton library that was a huge, red brick antebellum house with white columns and a mahogany banister. It smelled musty and papery and I wanted to curl up in its dark corners and poke my heads behind doors where I shouldn’t be, to learn its secrets. Inside that library, the stories were whispering: Beverly Cleary taught me about siblings, Judy Blume gave me courage to face my diagnosis of scoliosis, and I still sometimes dream of an elusive book about children who traveled through time in an old Scottish keep. They compelled me to question and to value mystery.

The school library was a sanctuary, too, and I devoured the books so my middle school librarian had to start bringing things in for me to read. She gave me Victoria Holt and I was transported by passion. In Sunday school or over the course of a thousand summers of VBS, I loved the Bible stories and more than that, the parables. I loved that there was a secret inside, something you had to search out, a truth that was my reward. And I heard those truths in the music, too. Everything in life, to me, seemed to be telling a story, and at the heart of every one, good or bad, I found the same thing: Love.

Papa’s Bible

Today, I took out that old Bible and took a whiff of my grandfather’s ghost before I wrote this post. And he whispered to me, the answer. My literary first love was not a book, as it turns out.

It was the Storyteller.

Kimberly’s debut novel, THE RIVER WITCH, is our book club selection this month. If you haven’t picked up a copy yet, fear not! We’re giving away a copy today. Leave a comment on this post to enter.

Can the river heal her?

Roslyn Byrne is twenty-four years old, broken in body, heart and soul. Her career as a professional ballet dancer ended with a car wreck and a miscarriage, leaving her lost and grieving. She needs a new path, but she doesn’t have the least idea how or where to start. With some shoving from her very Southern mama, she immures herself for the summer on Manny’s Island, Georgia, one of the Sea Isles, to recover. There Roslyn finds a ten-year-old girl, Damascus, who brings alligators, pumpkins and hoodoo into her sorry life.

Roslyn rents a house from Damascus’s family, the Trezevants, a strange bunch. One of the cousins, Nonnie, who works in the family’s market, sees things Roslyn is pretty sure she shouldn’t, and knows things regular people don’t. Between the Trezevant secrets and Damascus’s blatant snooping and meddling, Roslyn finds herself caught in a mysterious stew of the past and present, the music of the river, the dead and the dying who haunt the riverbank, and finding the courage to live her new life.

You can read the first two chapters  here.

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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16 Responses to Literary First Love – Kimberly Brock

  1. Jayne D. June 29, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    The River Witch sounds like a wonderful book and I would love to read it. Reading is my passion and I am always looking for the next great read. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy of this book.

  2. Myra June 29, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Sounds great! Would love to read it… Thanks for the chance.

  3. Marianne Barkman June 29, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    i just finished the ebook version of this novel last night and posted a review at http://www.reviewingnovelsonline.blogspot.ca

    Great novel

  4. JanellK June 29, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Love to read, especially in the summer. Haven’t read this book, but have connected with the author through her posts. This book will go on my list.

  5. Michelle June 29, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Ever the storyteller you are Kim. Your Papa would be proud. Don’t ever lose that passion. May your “song” always stand the test of time and be forever enjoyed generation after generation. Thank you for your story and inspiring me to get back to mine.

  6. Susan Coster June 29, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    The River Witch is already on my to-read list and if I could win it, I would be HONORED to have it in my collection.

  7. Cindy June 30, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I would love to win a copy of The River Witch! Summer is my time to crank up my reading.

  8. Shelly July 3, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    What a beautiful story, Kimberly! Thanks for sharing. If you by chance draw my name, please draw another one because I already have a copy.

  9. Jodi July 3, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Kimberly, you never disappoint. I love the River Witch so much, I’m taking myself out of the competition so someone that doesn’t own a copy can have one.

  10. Amy Nabors July 9, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    What a great giveaway! Thanks for the chance!

  11. Sheri July 9, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    I would love to win a copy of The River Witch. It is at the top of my wishlist. I love books set in Georgia and especially ones set on a barrier island.

  12. Nicole Matsutani July 9, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Sounds like a good book.

  13. Kim July 9, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    As always, sounds like a gear pick!

  14. Lisa Crinite July 9, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    The Rivier Witch looks like a great summer read! Thanks for the opportunity to own it. :)

  15. Jessica Speck July 9, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    I loved Kimberly’s description of story. There truly is a story in everything. I loved Bible stories as a child as well and still cherish my mom’s retelling of them.

  16. Kristy July 9, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Sounds great, would love to win!

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