Our GCC guest today is none other than the mother goddess of the Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit, herself, Karin Gillespie!
Karin is currently hitting the road to promote her new novel, A Dollar Short, the second novel in her Bottom Dollar Girls series:
It isn’t every day a movie star steals your husband. Former beauty queen Chiffon Butrell faces that dilemma when her husband Lonnie wins a trip to Hollywood. Lonnie meets mega movie star, Janie Lynn Lauren—known as Jay-Li to her elite circle- and leaves Chiffon behind in Cayboo Creek, S.C., with three kids and no money.
Not to be missed, A DOLLAR SHORT (Simon and Schuster, August 2005) sparkles with energy and wit, as well as the compelling story of emotional loss and the strength to endure. It is a hilarious saga of loss, sisterhood, and the will to survive in small town Cayboo Creek, South Carolina.
Jennifer Weiner calls the book “As tart and delectable as lemon meringue pie… a pure delight!”
You can read an excerpt here. And you can read my conversation with Karin here!
--When you started writing Bet Your Bottom Dollar, the first novel in The Bottom Dollar Girls series, did you envision it as the beginning of a series, or did the characters ask to appear in more novels once you finished writing the first?
My very savvy editor read my book and suggested a series. At first the idea made me a little nervous, but then the characters started scrambling and shoving to have time in the spotlight and I realized that the Bottom Dollar Girls had more stories to tell.
--I love reading your blog, Southern Comfort. It is a wonderful resource for both readers and writers. What inspired you to start (and reach out via) the blog?
I didn't want my web site to be a stagnant thing and blogging seemed to the best way to keep it topical. I'm glad I did it because I've met wonderful writers through my blog and if I wasn't a blogger there would be no Girlfriend Cyber Circle. I blog about women's fiction, the writing life and promotion.
--Could you please talk a little bit about your decision to start the GCC? What were your hopes for the Circuit, and how has the experience been for you so far?
I started the GCC because I'd heard about virtual tours, and I thought they were a fabulous idea. I also knew several women writer who had blogs so I thought why not have a virtual tour with women writers only? I put a little item on my blog and the authors who wanted to join came pouring in. I initially thought 10 authors or so would be a good number, but the interest was so strong I ended up with 25 authors instead. The tour had definitely exceeded my expectations. I hear from publicists and publishers who want their authors to join, and now there's a waiting list. The authors who tour tell me they are picking up new readers and the bloggers enjoy having some great content. It's a win-win situation for everyone.
--Your characters have fabulous names: Chenille, Chiffon, Attalee, etc. How do you go about naming your characters? (And if you could share a bit about your writing process in general, that would be wonderful, too.)
My books are set in the fictional small town of Cayboo Creek so I would thumb through small-town phone books to get my names. While touring for my paperback, I visited Plains, Georgia and got a phonebook from 1978! I plan to use a lot of names from that book.
As far as process is concerned, I'm the kind of writer who doesn't outline but waits to see what the "muse" will dig up. Sometimes it's and old sock or a rotting piece of wood; others times it's a tiny bit of treasure.
--You are embarking upon the "Take Back the Tiara" tour. What can people expect who come to one of your readings? Also, I'd love to hear more about your experiences touring with the Dixie Divas.
I like to turn a book-signing on its head, making it more of an event than a signing. Expect some theatrics, including props, costumes, dollar store door prizes as well as a red carpet. I have an acting background so my talks are more performance than anything else.
I started the Dixie Divas because author signings can be so lonely, and it's hard to attract people to author talks without injecting a little pizzazz. All of the DDs have their own personalities. I'm the Dollar Store Diva, and I wear finds from the dollar store. We have a Deadly Diva who dons black and crime tape, a Tomato Queen diva and a Roseflower Diva. Our personalities are related to the books we write.
--Any advice for aspiring writers?
Learn the publishing business! Read Publishers Weekly and subscribe to Publisher's Lunch. (It's free!) Learn all the ins and outs of the genre you're writing in and join associations related to your genre. There are all kinds of forums out there that discuss what editors are looking for. Immerse yourself in your writing genre and you'll have a true advantage when you start querying agents to sell your work.
--Since I always ask a fruit-related question...What fruit most exemplifies the Bottom Dollar Girls, and why?
The Bottom Dollar Girls are tomatoes (or "maters" as we say in the South). The reason? They're bursting with juicy gossip!
--Thanks so much, Karin (and thank you for starting the GCC!) May your Take Back the Tiara Tour be a blast (not to mention a fabulous success!)