A Conversation with Karen White

June 2018
Written By: 
Julie Flanagan

The best-selling Southern women’s fiction author discusses her new novel and more

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PHOTO: Best-selling author Karen White; (inset) White’s new novel, Dreams of Falling

A author Karen White’s new novel, Dreams of Falling, is set in Georgetown and weaves together the past and present, exploring the deep and complicated connections of family and friendship. We got the chance to ask the author a few questions about her book, her inspiration and more.

White will be doing two area events on June 8—The Moveable Feast at 11 a.m. at Pawleys Plantation (www.classatpawleys.com) and a signing at Silver Coast Winery in Ocean Isle Beach at 5 p.m. (www.silvercoastwinery.com).

GSM: Where did you get your inspiration for Dreams of Falling?
KW:
Too many places to count and over a long period of time! I think it started several years ago when I visited a friend’s beach house in Gulf Shores, Alabama, and she’d framed vintage bathing suits on the walls. I was particularly obsessed with a one-piece from the 1950s. And then little snippets of the story would come to me, and I’d place them in the stewpot in the back of my head to pull out when I was ready to write the book.

GSM: What made you decide to set your book in Georgetown?
KW:
I’d driven past Georgetown many times on my way from Charleston to Pawleys Island, and ended up stopping and exploring and fell in love immediately with the beautiful architecture and small town Southern feel of the town.

GSM: What type of research did you do for the novel?
KW:
Besides visiting Georgetown and buying the requisite research books about the town’s history, I was also lucky enough to meet a woman who grew up in Georgetown in the ’40s and ’50s. She was very generous with her time and was a fountain of information about life in Georgetown in the ’50s that I’m sure I couldn’t have discovered any other way.

GSM: Dreams play an important part in the novel. Has a dream ever inspired a character or storyline in your writing?
KW:
I wouldn’t say I’ve been inspired by a dream, but I will say that dreams have certainly helped me unravel sticky plot points. When I get stuck, I always make sure I think about the problem before I go to sleep and more often than not, I’ve got the solution by the time I wake up!

GSM: What makes the particular genre you are involved in so special?
KW:
I try to write the kind of books I like to read—interesting, relatable characters in a provocative setting that’s as much a character as the living, breathing ones. I write “Southern Women’s Fiction” because of this—strong female characters set in the South with issues that anyone can relate to.

GSM: As a New York Times best-selling author, what advice do you have for aspiring writers?
KW:
Just do it. A book that you only talk about will never be read.

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PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF THE PUBLISHERS