Good morning, Book Beacon readers! Thank you so much for having me today, Kris, to share my debut novel, Dear Carolina! I’m sure every author says this, but having this book out in the world is such a dream come true for me, and I can’t believe it’s actually happening!
When Kris asked me to write this guest post, I was so excited because we had became fast friends, (I think it’s because we have the same name!) and I adore her blog and think it’s one of the best. But I had already written quite a few guest posts about how I got the idea for Dear Carolina, the setting, the tone, strong female characters, book clubs, motherhood, female friendship, where I write, my favorite books… On and on and on. You get the idea. I really, truly thought I was out of book-related topics. So I sat down at my computer, hoping to feel inspired.
I started thinking about how Kris and I had been internet-introduced through a mutual author friend and how nice it was of her to reach out to me, a debut author, and offer to help me and read my book. And that’s when I realized that I haven’t written a single time about the most important thing of all in this book journey: the people I have met!
When you’re starting out as an author it can feel sort of lonely. You have this little book that you’re so proud of and want to share it with the world but even knowing where to begin can feel a little scary. But I started to realize very quickly that it doesn’t have to feel scary because readers and book bloggers are the kindest, most generous humans on earth. I’m convinced of that!
Total strangers have emailed me to tell me that they asked their local bookstore to carry Dear Carolina. And total stranger bloggers, like Kris, have reached out and allowed me to share with their readers. Book clubs in far away states have asked me to Skype with them, and fundraising groups have asked me to speak. And I have said, “yes, yes, yes!” to every one of them because what could be better than having all these lovely people share your book?
If there’s anything that can compete with new friends shouting about your book from the rooftops, it has to be new readers sharing their reactions to your story. I hoped people would like Dear Carolina. I thought they would be entertained by it. I crossed my fingers that all of you would feel like my book had been a good use of your four or five hours. But I never expected for people to connect with it in the way that they have.
I was utterly floored when someone emailed me to tell me that my book had given her the strength to tell her children a secret about her past, or when another told me that she felt like she was Khaki, one of my protagonists – and that Dear Carolina had helped her make a difficult career decision. Or, maybe best of all when, after a talk I gave, a grandfather in the audience came to me and told me that he had been grappling with the fact that his grandchildren weren’t his blood relatives. He told me that he realized, through this book, that that didn’t matter.
No award, no prize, no amount of money in the whole wide world could ever top the feeling of knowing that a reader connected with what you wrote in a deep way, that something that you said made a difference. And, as I said, I never expected that.
As I’m learning through this experience, through people like Kris who have embraced my debut novel and me, the unexpected things in life are always, always the best. It just goes to show that, as Khaki’s Daddy would say, “When life gives you an opportunity, you have to keep saying yes. That’s how you find out all the best things in life.” Or, as I am learning every day, the best people.
A note from Kris at The Book Beacon:
Thank you Kristy for sharing those thoughts with our readers! As a blogger, I can attest to the incredible people that inhabit the literary realm of authors and readers. Kindred spirits make fast friends, and readers enjoy sharing favorite writers and titles with fellow bookworms. Some of my favorite people were brought into my life during author events and #fangirl moments.
Kristy’s debut novel, Dear Carolina, will be available for purchase tomorrow, May 5. We will have a special post and review to celebrate the release of her novel! Until then, here is more about Kristy Woodson Harvey:
I’m Kristy, wife to the boy whose eye caught mine across the restaurant nearly a decade ago. I pronounced him my husband and haven’t looked back since – or doubted my intuition ever again! We have the most incredible two-year-old boy that is pure joy. (And, yeah, the occasional tantrum.)
I’m a Southerner through and through, a North Carolina girl who loves all four seasons – especially fall in Chapel Hill, where I went to college (Go Tarheels!) and summer in Beaufort, where we spend every free moment. (I’m sitting at my desk in Beaufort in this picture!)
I blog at Design Chic about how creating a beautiful home can be a catalyst for creating a beautiful life. And I’m blogging right here about absolutely everything else!
My first women’s fiction novel is forthcoming from Berkley (Penguin Random House) in Spring 2015. My dream of being a published author is finally coming true and I. Can’t. Believe. It. What’s your dream? (You know, that one you’re afraid to say out loud?) I just know it’s about to come true!