7 Questions With Best-Selling Author Karen White
There’s a reason so many of your favorite beach reads are set down South.
It’s a magical place full of history and stories, and its environment lends itself to romance, mystery, and page-turning fiction.
New York Times best-selling author Karen White, whose new book, “Dreams of Falling,” comes out in June, is one of the biggest fans of the South—especially when it comes to using it as both a setting and a foil to her characters in her novels.
Currently residing in the Atlanta area, Karen graduated from Tulane University and has since written over 20 books. In between writing and coming up with her next chart-topping title, Karen took a moment to chat with Draper James about her deep love of the Lowcountry, her style, and, of course, her favorite Southernism.
Hear from Karen below.
1. When do you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I’m embarrassed to admit that writing is a career I fell into rather than planned for. After reading Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” series, I had such a book hangover that I couldn’t pick up another book to read.
So I decided to write my own. My first book, “In the Shadow of the Moon,” was published in 2000.
2. Do you have any tips for dealing with writer’s block?
I don’t believe there’s such a thing. Don’t get me wrong, there are PLENTY of days I look at my computer with complete dread and a blank mind. So I just force myself to start with something, and soon I have a paragraph and then a page and then a chapter.
This is a career for me, not a hobby, so I go to work even when I don’t feel like it. That’s the beauty of computers—anything can be fixed. I’m a big believer that it’s always easier to fix a bad page than stare at a blank page.
3. Where’s your favorite place to visit in the Lowcountry?
Besides Charleston, I’d say Georgetown and Edisto Island—I’ve written books set in both places—get a tie vote. Georgetown is like a mini-Charleston, with a beautiful downtown, historic houses, and lovely people.
And Edisto is the closest one we’ll ever get to an unspoiled Lowcountry experience. No chain restaurants or stores, and there are so many historic structures—many still owned by the original families. And the marshes and ocean just add to the ambiance. If I had a house there, I’d never leave.
4. If you need inspiration, where’s the first thing you do?
Two things: I have several “go-to” books that I’ll just skip to a page in the middle and begin reading. If the writing is lyrical and gripping, I find it unlocking places in my writer’s brain.
And then I go outside for a walk or to sit on my porch and absorb nature. That’s when the stories start weaving in my head—when I’m not thinking about them.
5. What drew you to this Draper James pieces?
I absolutely love the bright yellow and flowers of the love circle dress—and the fit is made for us girls with hourglass shapes.
6. Where’s the one place in the South you haven’t been, but are dying to do?
St. Augustine, Florida. It’s the oldest European settlement in the US and has had many flags raised over it. There is quite a bit of history there reaching back to the Spanish occupation through the American Civil War, and the pictures I’ve seen are stunning.
Who knows—maybe there’s a book to be set there (which means I can justify a “research” trip).
7. Favorite “Southernism”?
“Bless your heart!”
Karen White’s “Dreams of Falling” comes out June 5, 2018. You can pre-order it here.
Photos by Amanda Suanne Photography.