Please help me welcome Kristy Woodson Harvey back as today’s Wednesday’s Guest. She is finishing up her blog tour celebrating the release of Dear Carolina, and this is her final stop with me. I have enjoyed getting to know Kristy, through the book as well as the interview I did a couple of weeks ago. (You can read my review of Dear Carolina HERE)
Kristy is here today sharing some insights into the two central characters in her novel. I thought a glass of sweet tea in a mason jar would be a perfect drink to share today. Help yourself. Anybody have cookies?
After you read what Kristy is sharing do hop over to The Blood Red Pencil where we are debating whether a book is titled or entitled.
Good morning, It’s Not All Gravy readers! Thank you so much for having me, Maryann! It is a true pleasure to be a guest on your site. I love to write, obviously, and doing guest posts has been so much fun! But, because I’d already done an interview with Maryann about my debut novel, Dear Carolina, instead of telling you about why I wrote the book or how I got it published, I thought I’d tell you about something a little different, something inspired by Maryann’s post on strong women!
So many of the early reviews of my book have used this phrase “strong, Southern women” in regard to both of the protagonists in Dear Carolina, Khaki and Jodi. A commenter on Goodreads gave me a good laugh when she asked, “Are all Southern women strong? Or is it just that the weak ones don’t make for very good stories?”
Her question not only made me smile, but it also made me think. I, of course, think all kinds of women live in every part of the country (and world, for that matter) but, I will have to say, the Southern women I was raised with all have a particular knack, like Jodi and Khaki, for being determined and tough enough to get exactly where they want to go in life but sweet and refined enough to do it politely and graciously.
I’d like to think that my journey toward getting this book published mimicked the way I had seen my mom and grandmothers and aunts act. I tried but, quite frankly, sometimes, between the rejection letters and the hideously long waits, it seemed like I was very ungracefully clawing my way through to this book deal!
Khaki, the adoptive mother in Dear Carolina, is an extremely successful interior designer with her own coffee table books, huge number of clients and fifteen minutes of fame. As a girl from the South who was always told that decorating wasn’t a real job, she had quite a few obstacles to overcome, especially in regard to becoming confident enough to chase her dream.
Jodi, the birth mother, is really just at the cusp of her life when this book is beginning. At only nineteen she has already lived through the death of her father, an addict mother, her own bout with alcoholism and, now, trying to decide what to do about her pregnancy. But, even still, she finds the strength to keep going, to pick up the pieces and create a beautiful life for herself. She chooses to move forward.
Both of the women in this book are making very difficult decisions about their futures, but, in the midst of all of that, they form an unexpected bond, a friendship where they can rely on each other, lift each other up and help each other grow into the women they are becoming.
And that is such an important point for all of us to remember. Because, when it comes to being a woman, Southern or otherwise, sometimes being strong isn’t about what’s inside of you. Sometimes it’s all about who you have to lean on.
Very well said, Kristy, and I am so glad that you shared that with us today. Kudos to you and to Khaki and to Jodi for a wonderful story. Readers, what do you think? Are women from one region of the country, or world, stronger than others?
Kristy Woodson Harvey blogs at Design Chic about how creating a beautiful home can be the catalyst for creating a beautiful life and loves connecting with readers at kristywoodsonharvey.com. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s school of journalism and holds a Master’s in English from East Carolina University. She is a regular contributor for The Salisbury Post, Domino magazine and Houzz. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and three-year-old son.
Dear Carolina is available at the following retailers: