Please help me welcome Kristy Woodson Harvey as today’s Wednesday’s Guest. Her latest novel, Lies and Other Acts of Love, was recently released, and I had the pleasure of reading it before this nasty Ramsey Hunt came to visit. Unfortunately, my brain has been toast since the end of January, so I don’t remember enough of the story to do a review, but I do plan to reread the book soon and do a review. I loved her previous book, Dear Carolina, which I reviewed HERE
Lets have a refreshing glass of iced tea as we visit with Kristy.
Thank you so, so much for having me, Maryann!! I appreciate it!
I’d always heard that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. And, when I was young, I didn’t. Instead, I judged them by the width of their spines. I was an incredibly voracious reader, and I used to go into the bookstore or library and pick the thickest volumes that would allow me to savor their contents for as long as possible.
I found a lot of great books that way, actually, including my favorite book of all time, the only one that I have reread every year since I was ten-years-old: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
If you haven’t read it, my favorite book is about a little girl named Francie Nolan. In the book, she is growing up in Brooklyn, extremely poor, with an alcoholic father and a washwoman for a mother. But she has her library. And her favorite escape from the harsh realities of her life is the books in which she loses herself.
My life didn’t resemble Francie Nolan’s in any way. Not in the least. But I’ll never forget being that ten-year-old girl, sitting on my grandparents’ balcony at their beach condo and reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn while Francie Nolan was sitting on her balcony immersing herself in her latest book pick.
My ten-year-old self wouldn’t have been able to articulate it quite yet, but, looking back, I remember the way that I felt in that moment, like I was realizing something really amazing and different about books that would stick with me, something new and profound that I hadn’t known before.
Now I can name it perfectly. It was the first time I realized the power of story to connect us all, no matter what our life circumstances. I found myself engrossed in each of Francie Nolan’s moves. The way she sold rags and scrap metal to earn pennies for candy. The way she negotiated with the butcher and mused that the old men with the dirty toes, dozing in the warm window of the bread shop had once been someone’s precious baby, clean and pink and new. We were from different time periods and led different lives, but I could feel what she felt. I understood her in a way I never had anyone in real life.
The power of story has never left me. It is something that I carried with me all the way through school and college and grad school, something I carried with me through journalism and into novels.
When my debut novel, Dear Carolina, released last May, the best compliments I received were from the readers who told me that they related to my book in a powerful way, that the story I had written helped them understand something about their own. And now, with the release of Lies and Other Acts of Love, it has struck me once again, in a very meaningful way, that strangers I have never met from all over the place have delved into the lives of my characters and connected with them in unexpected ways.
I think that writing will always be the way that I process how I feel about the world, how I come to understand what I think about things. My only hope is that readers can find something in my stories that makes them think, that helps them see the world in a different way, just like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn did for me all those years ago.
I don’t judge books by the length of their spine anymore. My TBR pile has morphed into a TBR closet. But the thing that hasn’t changed, the common denominator between now and then is the excitement I always feel when opening a new cover, that anticipation of leaving behind my own world to discover something new.
After sixty years of marriage and five daughters, Lynn “Lovey” White knows that all of us, from time to time, need to use our little white lies.
Her granddaughter, Annabelle, on the other hand, is as truthful as they come. She always does the right thing—that is, until she dumps her hedge fund manager fiancé and marries a musician she has known for three days. After all, her grandparents, who fell in love at first sight, have shared a lifetime of happiness, even through her grandfather’s declining health.
But when Annabelle’s world starts to collapse around her, she discovers that nothing about her picture-perfect family is as it seems. And Lovey has to decide whether one more lie will make or break the ones she loves . . .
Buy Links for Lies and Other Acts of Love