domino contributor and Design Chic blogger Kristy Woodson Harvey has a brand new novel, Dear Carolina (Berkley/Penguin), released on May 5. It's a book about the ways we create our families, finding true love and, of course, fabulous design! We asked Kristy a few questions about the book, her journey to publication, and what we can expect to see from her in the future.
- Tell us a little bit about Dear Carolina:
Dear Carolina is a book written from a birth mother and an adoptive mother about the ways their lives change in the year after the birth of their daughter, Carolina. The book explores the ways in which people create their families, and that theme runs through all of the characters’ story lines. Despite the topic, it is a light-hearted book, complete with two great love stories, one that’s in its middle and one that’s just beginning! It’s a perfect beach read and Mother’s Day gift.
- What impact did Design Chic have on writing this novel?
The adoptive mother in the book, Khaki, is an interior designer, and each one of her chapters begins with an anecdote about design that then metaphorically relates to something she is going through in that chapter. Everything I know about design I learned from blogging, so the things that Khaki is doing on a day-to-day basis in her career stemmed from that.
- What sparked your interest in interior design?
My mom and I blog together, which is so much fun, and I think she sparked my interest. She has always had a real passion for interior design. The blog started as a random idea (like all good things do!) for a fun hobby to keep us connected even though we lived three hours apart. It has grown beyond our wildest imaginations!
- You always ask the designers you interview to define Southern style. How would Khaki define Southern style?
Khaki is a mom, first and foremost, so her Southern style has to be family-friendly. It's easy yet elegant, laid-back yet refined and always includes an element of tradition, whether it's a piece of furniture that's a family heirloom or family photos.
- How does it feel to have your novel in the hands of readers?
So scary but so good! I know it’s an overused metaphor, but it is a bit like sending your child out into the world: you can see its faults, but you don’t want anyone else pointing them out! I think it’s tough to put yourself out there and be that open to criticism, but, at the same time, most dreams-come-true have some sort of downside! Overall, I’m just pinching myself that this is actually happening!
- Can you tell us a bit about your journey to publication?
Dear Carolina is actually the fourth manuscript that I wrote. I wrote a couple of “practice books” to see if I could even do it, fell totally in love with novel writing, and signed with an agent for the third manuscript. He was shopping that around when I finished Dear Carolina. I entered it in a writing contest for some good feedback, it won, and that’s ultimately what led to the deal. It was such a shock because it wasn’t at all what I expected to happen. But, then again, the unexpected parts are usually the best, aren’t they?
- Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on at the moment?
Yes! I’m very happy to say that I have a second novel, LIES AND OTHER ACTS OF LOVE (Berkley/Penguin), coming out in the Spring of 2016.
- We hear you have some cool promotions available to kick off Dear Carolina.
Yes! The other main character in the novel, Jodi, is a great cook, so I have created, with the help of some amazing food bloggers, the Dear Carolina companion cookbook. Everyone who buys the book between May 5 and May 10 (or pre-orders) will get a copy of that e-cookbook by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. And everyone who emails proof of purchase is also automatically entered to win a $1,000 gift certificate to Shop Design Chic!
One baby girl.
Two strong Southern women.
And the most difficult decision they’ll ever make.
Frances “Khaki” Mason has it all: a thriving interior design career, a loving husband and son, homes in North Carolina and Manhattan—everything except the second child she has always wanted. Jodi, her husband’s nineteen-year-old cousin, is fresh out of rehab, pregnant, and alone. Although the two women couldn’t seem more different, they forge a lifelong connection as Khaki reaches out to Jodi, encouraging her to have her baby. But as Jodi struggles to be the mother she knows her daughter deserves, she will ask Khaki the ultimate favor…
Written to baby Carolina, by both her birth mother and her adoptive one, this is a story that proves that life circumstances shape us but don’t define us—and that families aren’t born, they’re made…