Tag Archives | Calling Me Home

Literary First Love – Julie Kibler

Today’s post by this month’s featured author, Julie Kibler | @Julie Kibler

UPDATE: the winners for this giveaway are Susan Coster and Sandy Nawrot. They have been notified by email. Thanks to everyone who entered! And don’t forget to visit again soon.

Those of you reading CALLING ME HOME this month will understand the symbolism of the thimble. But Julie decided she didn’t just want you to read about it, she wanted to share one with you. Which is why she’s giving away two of these thimble necklaces today. One for a reader and one for a member of  our Blog Network. All Blog Network members are automatically entered. And any readers who would like to toss their name in the hat can simply leave a comment on this post.

The first word I clearly remember reading on my own, without prodding from an adult, my fingers running across each letter, was Heidi  —  the title on the colorful cardboard sleeve of a read-aloud record album. I must have read other words before that. I was four or five, and I was an early reader, but for some reason, that experience remains vivid and fills me with nostalgia and the memory of listening to the story.

This doesn’t surprise me. Throughout my childhood, I was drawn to nostalgic stories about girls who were marginalized but remained or became strong.  I was a painfully shy, often lonely girl. We moved a lot. I attended seven different schools. We never seemed to have quite enough money to make ends meet, and my brother and I were frequently ridiculed or bullied by the kids who had lived in our neighborhoods their whole lives. Being a preacher’s daughter often made things worse. Strong female characters who chased their dreams in spite of seemingly insurmountable barriers resonated with me. I lived vicariously through my fictional friends when my own life felt out of control.

They were orphans — Heidi, Pollyanna, Anne Shirley, Sara Crewe, Mary Lennox, The Wolves of Willoughby Chase‘s Sylvia Green.

They were poor and/or living on the edges of society  —  Laura Ingalls Wilder, Francie Nolan, Anne Frank,  The Borrowers’ Arietty Clock,  Blue Willow‘s Janey Larkin, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March.

They were just plain different  —  Cress Delehanty, Velvet Brown, Ramona the Pest, Caddie Woodlawn.

Or they were all three  —  Pippi Longstocking.

I grew up, married, and had babies. I divorced and lived five years as a single mom before remarrying. Now I’m following a career path I dreamed about for as long as I can remember—author.

And I’m not a bit surprised that I’m drawn to writing nostalgic stories about characters who are marginalized, yet resilient, characters who attempt to build happy lives and strong families in spite of their circumstances. In Calling Me Home, Isabelle is a young girl who falls in love despite all the naysayers. Dorrie is a single mom who would do anything for her children when they’re in trouble, yet believes she must handle her brokenness alone.

In spite of our differences, I am all of them. And they are me.

What characters did you relate to as a child? What characters did you want to be?

 

 

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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Writing In The Night

Today’s post by this month’s featured author, Julie Kibler | @JulieKibler

Nighttime sharpens, heightens each sensation.  Darkness stirs and wakes imagination.  —The Music of the Night, Phantom of the Opera, Andrew Lloyd Webber

I’m the worst night owl you’ll ever know. My workday is distinctly off kilter from most of the rest of the world. Unless I have an appointment or I’m traveling, I sleep from about 3 a.m. until 11 a.m. (with a brief awake time to get my daughter off to school). As the rest of the folks in my time zone prepare to eat their midday meal, I’m grabbing a light breakfast, followed quickly by lunch. As a rule, I spend my afternoon hours conducting the business of being an author. I write blog posts, answer emails, make phone calls, and spend entirely too much time on social media. I make a chauffeur run to retrieve my teenager from her activities at some point before eating a late dinner with my family.

In the evening, my husband and I relax on the sofas, the TV playing in the background. We watch a few shows together, but I’m usually paying half attention; I’m easily distracted, by texts or conversations with kids, or more social media.

These distractions, I suspect, are why my real work starts much later.

As the house begins to quiet again, so does the Internet. The dogs get one last trip outside. My daughter settles into bed. My husband follows his routine, readying his clothes for work, reading for a while. Then, little by little, the house falls asleep.

Except for me.

I’m waking up. Well, my body has been awake for hours. But my writing brain has been slumbering, sometimes peacefully, sometimes restlessly—depending on the state of my work-in-progress. And this quieting of the house serves as an alarm clock for my mind.

In the dark, in the quiet, there are no distractions. The gentle hum of the refrigerator and snoring dogs serve as a soothing soundtrack.

I open my manuscript, and if I’m paying attention, the words flow like the Milky Way through the navy depths of the sky.

Not surprisingly, the nighttime scenes I write tend to be my favorites. Even now, when I visualize Isabelle and Robert in Calling Me Home, my mind goes straight to the scenes set at dusk or at night—when they were alone, when they were simply two teenagers in love.

If technology were not such a large part of everyday life for me, or for authors in general these days, would I still be a night owl? Would I still find the hours between 11 p.m. and three a.m. the best for creating?

I suspect I’d answer yes to both questions. For like the Phantom of the Opera, my imagination stirs in the darkness, and the other worlds I occupy come into sharp focus.

When is your brain most alert? When do you get your best work done?

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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February Book Club Selection

**Update: the winners of this giveaway are: Jenny Zimmer, Alana, Cheryl Hart, Rhonda, Billie Brinkley, Leah, Susan Coster, Carol, Tamara, and Myrna Ashby. They have all been notified by email. Thanks to everyone who entered! We hope you’ll all join us this month for our online book club discussion.

*Update: comments are now closed on this post. Thanks to everyone who entered! We will be selecting and notifying all ten winners by email today. Names will also be posted here. Stay tuned!

This month we’re doing something we have NEVER done before. We’ve chosen a book that won’t release to the general public for eight more days. Why? Because it’s that good. We just can’t wait. And we want to make sure you hear about it here first.

CALLING ME HOME,  by Julie Kibler, is a  soaring debut novel interweaving  the story of a heartbreaking, forbidden love in 1930s Kentucky with an unlikely modern-day friendship. It’s about family and love and loss. It’s about things we remember for a lifetime. And we guarantee it’s one of those novels that will find a permanent spot on your “keeper shelf.”

Why tease you like this when you can’t run down to your local bookstore and pick up a copy today? Even though CALLING ME HOME won’t release until February 12th (just in time for Valentines!) you aren’t completely out of luck. If you’re DYING to read it this very moment–and we know you are–you have three options:

  1. Pre-order it today  and have it in your hot little hands by February 12th. You’ll have plenty of time to read it before our book club discussion at the end of this month.
  2. Enter to win one of the TEN copies we’re giving away, courtesy of St. Martin’s Press (just leave a comment on this post–winners will be chosen on Friday)
  3. Don’t take any chances and do BOTH.

About the novel:

Eighty-nine-year-old Isabelle McAllister  has a favor to ask her hairdresser Dorrie Curtis. It’s a big one. Isabelle wants Dorrie, a black single mom in her thirties, to drop everything to drive her from her home in Arlington, Texas, to a funeral in Cincinnati. With no clear explanation  why. Tomorrow.

Dorrie, fleeing problems of her own and curious whether she can unlock the secrets of Isabelle’s guarded past, scarcely hesitates before agreeing, not knowing it will be a journey that changes both their lives.

Over the years, Dorrie and Isabelle have developed more than just a business relationship. They are friends. But  Dorrie, fretting over the new man in her life and her teenage son’s irresponsible choices, still wonders why Isabelle chose her.

Isabelle confesses that, as a willful teen in 1930s Kentucky, she fell deeply in love with Robert Prewitt, a would-be doctor and the black son of her family’s housekeeper–in a town where blacks weren’t allowed after dark. The tale of their forbidden relationship  and its tragic consequences makes it clear Dorrie and Isabelle are headed for a gathering of the utmost importance and that the history of Isabelle’s first and greatest love just might help Dorrie find her own way.

{Mark your calendars for Monday, February 25th. Our new Online Book Club Leader, Tamara Welch, will begin our discussion of CALLING ME HOME that day and continue it for the entire week. So you’ll have plenty of time to jump in and join the conversation.}

You can read the first chapter of CALLING ME HOME here.

Julie Kibler began writing Calling Me Home after learning a bit of family lore: as a young woman, her grandmother fell in love with a young black man in an era and locale that made the relationship impossible. When not writing, she enjoys travel, independent films, music, photography, and corralling her teenagers and rescue dogs. This is her first novel.



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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.

read more