SOUTHERN BLESSINGS

Today’s post by New York Times Bestselling Author, Karen White

Karen White

Update: congrats to Glynis who was randomly chosen as our winner! Glynis has been notified via email.

In a couple of weeks, my fifteenth novel will be published.   As with the previous fourteen, publication day is a Big Deal to me.   I’ll have a big launch party, will hear a lot of congrats from friends and readers, and might even receive a bouquet of flowers from my agent.   It’s even possible that my husband and/or other family members will stop for a moment and remember vaguely that I do something else besides their laundry.   It’s a good day.

Writing books is what I love to do but it’s hard work.   Yes—it’s work.   I have to sit my rear end in a chair every day and pull words from the ether.   Sometimes it can be fun, and sometimes it can be a lot like trying to put a sweater on a baby octopus.   When asked what my favorite part about writing a book is, I only half-jokingly reply, “Typing THE END. ”

But what makes it all worthwhile is hearing from readers.   Hands down, that is my favorite part of this job.   I love getting emails and letters from people who have been entertained, touched, and even inspired by my words.   I cherish each and every one of these letters.

There are always, of course, the “other letters. ”   Now, being raised by a Southern Mama, I was always told that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.   By and large, I’ve stuck fast to these words of wisdom (except when it came to my brothers) and they have never led me astray.   Apparently, not everybody was taught this little gem as I was because of some unfortunate blip in their rearing.   As my Southern Mama would say, “Bless their hearts. ”

I can take criticism.   Really.   But it’s the emails that berate me for “pricing my e-books so high ” (note to readers:   I have nothing to do with this), or for capitalizing the word Realtor (I was right, actually), for allowing a married couple have “too many children—there are enough children in this world, ” or even (and I’m serious here) for causing the fairies and elves to pluck at the reader’s shoulders and force her to place my book in a plastic bag surrounded by rocks and candles (really—I’m not making this up) that I begin to feel a little war-weary.

Growing up, I was the girl whose nose was buried in Nancy Drew books, and then Victoria Holt, and then just about anything written between two covers.   Maybe because I didn’t have access to today’s ease of communication, but I don’t think I was ever once tempted to write to Carolyn Keene and say, “Every single one of your books takes place in the summer between Nancy’s high school graduation and college—yet each mystery takes several weeks to solve and there are fifty-six of them.   How is this possible? ”

I didn’t because I was mesmerized by the stories and the characters—so much so that I didn’t care about the little inconsistencies.   The joy of reading to me has always been about being transported to another world, and another life.   It still is.

So, as I approach the new release of one of my “babies ” into the world, I know that I will receive lots of mail from readers and I look forward to every one of them.   Because each one means that a reader cared enough about my story and characters to write to me.   For that, I’m humbled and grateful.   Even for those readers who want to tell me that I don’t have a clue how to use a comma.

In a few weeks I’m going to go on an extensive six-week book tour.   The longest leg will be for three weeks straight without returning home.   I love my family, but after living with them for a very long time I’ve come to realize that despite their other many stellar accomplishments, none of them know how to throw away trash, empty the dishwasher, wipe down the counters, sort through and file mail, or find the laundry room.   I have visions of my house being featured on an episode of TLC’s HOARDERS in my absence.   I know in the half hour before my return, they will do their best to make the house look like it did when I left so I won’t have the heart to criticize their efforts.   They’ve been struggling without me for three weeks after all and it’s not their fault that their father’s genes have made them clutter-blind.   Bless their hearts.

If you’d like to read Karen’s new novel, Sea Change, leave a comment on this post. She’s giving away a copy to one lucky winner!

For Ava Whalen, a new marriage and a move to St. Simons Island means a new beginning. But what she doesn’t realize is that her marriage will take her on an unexpected journey into the deep recesses of her past that will transform her forever…

For as long as she can remember, Ava Whalen has struggled with a sense of not belonging, and now, at thirty-four, she still feels stymied by her family. Then she meets child psychologist Matthew Frazier, and thinks her days of loneliness are behind her. After a whirlwind romance, they impulsively elope, and Ava moves to Matthew’s ancestral home on St. Simons Island off the coast of Georgia.

But after the initial excitement, Ava is surprised to discover that true happiness continues to elude her. There is much she doesn’t know about Matthew, including the mysterious circumstances surrounding his first wife’s death. And her new home seems to hold as many mysteries and secrets as her new husband. Feeling adrift, Ava throws herself into uncovering Matthew’s family history and that of the island, not realizing that she has a connection of her own to this place—or that her obsession with the past could very well destroy her future.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links. ” This means if you click on the link and purchase the book, She Reads will receive a very small commission. These commissions help us pay for the site and the services we offer.  

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is the author of THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS (2014), FLIGHT OF DREAMS (2016), and I WAS ANASTASIA (2018). Her books have been translated into numerous languages and have been Library Reads, One Book One County, and Book of the Month Club selections. She is the co-founder of SheReads.org and lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her family.

50 Responses to SOUTHERN BLESSINGS

  1. Lisa June 11, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I, too, love the sheer entertainment of being lost in a book, especially when the slower pace of summer takes over. Perhaps it’s becoming a lost art. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to reading your new book and wish you (your family and your home) all the best on your book tour!

  2. FayeL. June 11, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I love going to another world when I am reading. Looking forward to reading the new book. I love St. Simons Island.

  3. Sue June 11, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I have just recently revisited the “joy of reading” novels and had forgotten how much I love it……I just have to
    learn to adjust my schedule better so I can get other
    things done as well. Sounds like a great story to read
    Thanks!

  4. Jayne D. June 11, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I love all of Karen White books. They draw you in and keep you wanting to read more. I would love to read her new book as I know it will be just as wonderful as all her other books. Thanks for this opportunity.
    Jayne

  5. JoyAnne Williams June 11, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I’ve not read any of Karen’s books but am anxious to!

  6. Glynis June 11, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I can’t believe I’ve never read one of Karen’s books! I know what’s next on my reading list now 🙂

  7. April Pinales June 11, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I laughed Chen you wrote about your husband being clutter blind and them spending the time before you arrive home cleaning frantically. We did that when I was growing up. This sounds like a great read CBS I have a special young lady in my life named Ava but I call her Avabedava too

  8. Jeannie S June 11, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I am already engrossed reading the excerpt.
    Congratulations on your “new Baby”. I look forward to reading it. Blessings.

  9. connij June 11, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Congratulations on the new book. I have just discovered you and can’t wait to read this one and then dive into the others.

    I laughed when you talked about all the Nancy Drew mysteries being set in the dame time period. I never let that bother me either!

    I just discovered She Reads a few months ago and every book they have recommended has been well worth reading. What a great resource.

  10. Linda Anderson June 11, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Boy reading today’s post by Karen White sounded so much like me and my life. Except the author part. I loved reading Victoria Holt when I was about 16 or 17. Our family has a lot in common too.I have not read any of her books but she is on my list now.

  11. Cynthia Robertson June 11, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I began reading this interview, thinking I’d just check it out, then I couldn’t stop. If this is an example of your writing style, then I’m already hooked.

    Sea Change sounds wonderful, Karen, and I’d love to win a copy. I’ve never read any of your novels yet, and it’s always great to discover a new author with a large backstock of books to read through.

  12. Linda F. June 11, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I am looking forward to reading this book and others by Karen. I would love to “win” Sea Change!!!

  13. Ramona June 11, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I would love the chance to read a new author! The book sounds very interesting.

  14. Janet R June 11, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Karen, I’d love to read this new “baby” of yours! And I’ll be sure to let you know how it touched or entertained or blessed me! Reading is such a fabulous pastime! Thanks for being a writer for all of us who can’t write but love to read!

  15. Sandra June 11, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Your new book sounds interesting. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

  16. Leslie/ aka JWG June 11, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I have never read a book by Karen White, but I love to read and find new authors to follow. Can’t wait to read this book. Thank you “She Reads” for bringing the variety of authors to this website for us!

  17. Stacey June 11, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I would LOVE to read this book! It sounds very good and I look forward to diving into its pages.

  18. Carlene Brown June 11, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Any author who says she grew up reading Nancy Drew has me in her grip! I LOVED reading Nancy Drew books, then, as did Karen, went on to Victoria Holt. Watching the video made Sea Change even more appealing to me. I’d love to win a copy, but if I don’t, I will be buying it for sure ….. sounds like a fantastic read!

  19. nylse June 11, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I’d love to read it. This post has made me curious.
    nylse.esahc@gmail.com

  20. Shannon Brown June 11, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I have to admit there are very few books that I end up NOT liking. I have since 1st grade always had a book or two in my possession. I carry a book everywhere I go, even to the local racetrack!! I read in between races and before the race. I of course now have a Nook, so that makes taking a good read with me even easier. I would simply not want to live if I could not read…

  21. Miranda June 11, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I have never read one of your books but this one sounds like a good one. I do know If you can’t say something good about someone don’t say nothing at all and for sure I have heard bless there hearts a lot. I am sorry that people would write such things too you .It is terrible for them to talk about how many children we have. I love children I would have had 10 if I could have but I was dlessed with two I will pray for the people who no one can please because I think they need God in that little hole in there heart. Remember it is just there opinion. and it dose not really mean anything at all I have freinds like that. I ignore there opinions and Listen to God. Blessings

  22. Sabra June 11, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    I’m a native Georgian and love to read books set in the islands off the coast of Ga. Much success with your new novel.

  23. Susan G. June 11, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Can’t wait to read your newest book, especially after reading ‘Southern Blessings’ on She Reads – I laughed out loud a couple of times!:) I can tell right away that I would love to read anything written by you. 🙂
    Congratulations on your newest book “Sea Change” and on your first 14 novels! Since I cannot write – I devour books, blogs, catalog descriptions (seriously) by those who can write! It always does my soul good.
    Well done – and many ‘southern blessings’ to you!
    Susan G

  24. Paula Dolin June 11, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    I would love to win a copy of your new book – it sounds really good! I love to read!!

  25. ltesney June 11, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    I am a new reader for your books, actually I don’t think I have read any, but I love your post for today about your book tour and some of the emails you get, that is hilarious…I want to read Sea Change and look forward to reading it. If I don’t win it today then I will buy it soon. Thank You to all great authors out there for giving us something good to read and clean.

  26. Connie June 11, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    I’ve read several of Karen’s books and am looking forward to hearing her read this week through the Hub City Book shop.

  27. michelle glenn June 11, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    I would love to win a copy of this book. And if I don’t, I will certainly borrow it from our library.
    Her blog encourages me because apparently, we are related. I mean, the same messy, hoarder gene that is in her family, is in mine as well. Thanks for a great post.

  28. karenk June 11, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    i love karen’s novels…thanks for the chance to read her latest masterpiece 🙂

  29. Tamara June 11, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    I’d love to win a copy of the new book, Sea Change. When Erin from Deep South Magazine put this book on the Summer Reading list- I was excited for 2 reasons- 1. It sounds like a great book AND 2. I had just looked at Lemuria’s event list- and you are on it (Meeting authors- love it- I like to hear what goes on in the “behind the scenes” stuff of writing a book).

    I may not always agree where a writer takes his/her story; but I don’t believe in writing author with the things that I think is wrong. Some books are great, some are not- but each book teaches you something. I also loved Nancy Drew (and until you pointed that out about the summer- I’d never really noticed.) Was a big fan of BabySitter’s Club and they stayed in 7th grade forever. An author has the right to set the book in the time frame that they see fit.

    A great post- looking forward to reading “Sea Change” soon!

  30. Shannon Morris June 11, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Looks like a great read-am putting it on my list!

  31. Karen White June 11, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Sorry it took me so long to post! I started my book tour today so I’ve been on the road, then had an event, and then couldn’t get my wifi to work. Grrr!!!

    But I did make time to call home and make sure my husband knew what to do with the mail and to remind everybody that the cleaning people are coming tomorrow and they need to shovel their bedroom floors so there’s something to clean. 🙂

    Hope to see some of you at some of my tour stops!!

  32. Audra June 12, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Ever since I started to read “chapter books” in 2nd grade my definition of summer was getting lost in books. This book looks like a great read, looking forward to finding it. Thank you for your authors perspective, I would never had dreamed of getting any of those complaints however obsurd!

  33. Kathy June 12, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    I am trying to write a book and I’m sure the last words with “The End” will be a precious moment. As a youngster I always had a stack of books from the library to read especially during the summer months. With reading came a love of words and writing became my hobby to write poems and short stories in my journal. I hope to read your new book as I am sure it has a mystery involved along with intriguing people and relationships. May you have great success with your new “baby.”

  34. Karen White June 12, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Thanks, Kathy–and yes, there are quite a few mysteries within the pages (as do all of my books), but my favorite part of the book is the St. Simons Island setting. I hope it spawns lots of summer vacations!

  35. Evelyn June 14, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    looking forward to reading this and hoping that my local library will get it in soon!

  36. Anita June 20, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    I keep looking at the cover of this book, and it draws me in as a lovely summer read, I hope I win a copy!! Thank you.

  37. Sandra June 20, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    I love Karen White and would love to read this!

  38. Carla Torrijos June 20, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    I’ve never read a Karen White book. Sounds like I’m missing out and need something to start with! 🙂

  39. Shea June 20, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Looks like a wonderful read and I wouldn’t judge on your use of commas-ever!

  40. Debra June 20, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Always love reading a good book!

  41. Lisa Muniz June 20, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    I’d love to win a copy. I love reading and with the kids home for the summer I need an escape every now and again. I look forward to reading this book whether I’m that lucky one or not.

    Thanks!

  42. Tracey June 20, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Yay! Another book set on the coast. I think it’s calling this Atlanta gal. Haven’t been to St. Simons in years.

  43. Constance June 20, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Can’t wait to read this one, I have friends who live on St. Simons. I am ready for a new summer book.

  44. Kim Hayes June 20, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    I have never read any of Karen’s books before but after ready summary I know I’ve been missing out. I was chastised by my parents and have been chastised by myhusband and sons for always “having my nose in a book.” I still can’t figure what is wrong with having my nose parked in one so until I do, I will be forever transported to new places with new people and consider it a blessing!

    I wish you many blessings from appreciative people on your book tour adn am hoping that your wild rumpus family will play outside while you are gone! LOL

  45. Karen Wehrle June 20, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    I also am an avid reader. Looks like this book will be one of those great summer reads.

  46. Sheri June 20, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    I would love to read Karen’s new book. I have visited St. Simon’s Island many times and would love to read Sea Change.

  47. Mary June 20, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Love Karen White books! I have all of them! And I live in St Simons so I am excited about new book!!!!!!

  48. Karen White June 20, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Hi, Mary—and I’m on book tour and will be in St. Simons signing SEA CHANGE on Monday, June 25 at GJ FORD bookshop from 4-6. Hope you can make it!

  49. mep June 20, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Congrats on Sea Change — sounds wonderful! Have a great time on your book tour!

  50. Jada Smith February 8, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    Would love to read it! 🙂

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