I’ve been a fan of Mary Kay Andrews’ for quite some time. Many of her books are set in Savannah, one of my favorite cities, and one I visit at least once a year. In getting to know more about her, I found out that she is originally from St. Petersburg, FL, a product of the Pinellas County School system. I have lived in Pinellas County for most of my life. Mary Kay’s books are just the right mix of funny and sexy. I was very excited when she said she agreed to an interview. Here’s what she had to say:
Eve’s Fan Garden (EFG): First of all, I’d like to thank you for doing this interview. I live in the Tampa Bay area, so I get a big kick out of reading all the Pinellas County references in your bio and on your blog. I remember Maas Brothers (a department store). In your biography, you mention that you are a “diplomate of the Maas Bros. Department Store School of Charm”, What lessons from that esteemed academy do you still use today?
Mary Kay Andrews (MKA): Let’s see, smile like you mean it, have clean fingernails at all time, never chew gum in public, and right before you’re dressed to go out, remove one piece of jewelry.
EFG: Great advice! You got your start as a journalist covering the murder trial made famous by John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. How/why did you make the switch to fiction?
MKA: Twenty years ago I had two small children, and I wanted to be able to be home when they got home from school. And I didn’t like the direction journalism was taking. I thought if I could write books, I could work at home and have the best of both worlds. I wrote my first mystery while still working full time, and it didn’t sell, but the next one did sell, so I quit my job for the world of fiction. Scary, but I’ve never regretted it for a single day.
EFG: I’m sure many of our readers can relate to making job choices for the good of our kids – I know I can! You’ve been a published author for almost 20 years. Nowadays, you’re active on Facebook, have a blog, etc. -how has technology and the internet changed your job as a writer?
MKA: Technology and the internet have changed the world of publishing forever. When I got started, my publisher’s marketing and publicity people took care of those chores. Today, publishers expect authors to handle much of the heavy lifting through blogging, ect. Nowadays, it seems I work 24/7. I spend a huge amount of time–and money, on marketing, and social networking, and can’t think of a time when I’m not checking my email or updating my Facebook page–even tweeting and updating in April while on a cruise down the Rhine river!
EFG: I know that as a reader, I love those inside peeks into an author’s life and the ability to interact with my favorite authors. I can imagine it does take a lot of your time. You’re the mom of adult kids and a doting grandmother . The protagonists of your next book, Summer Rental , are all in their mid-30’s. How do you get inside the head of a 30-something in today’s world?
MKA: Fortunately I have a 29-year-old daughter and a 24-year-old son who keep me in the now and the know. And I pay attention to popular culture.
EFG: Related to the above – how do you write hot bedroom (Mmmmm…loved Ty Bazemore!) scenes knowing that your own kids might read them? Or do your kids have a “Don’t ask don’t tell” policy.
MKA: It’s funny. My books have gotten steamier as my kids have aged! I know my daughter reads and enjoys my books, and as for my son, he doesn’t read my books, but he loves that his female friends–and their moms, love my books.
EFG: Will you be touring for Summer Rental? Doing a big launch party?
MKA: We’re having a big launch party of Summer Rental on June 6th in Atlanta, to benefit the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, and I’ll be touring for nearly a month, hitting places like Charleston, S.C., Raleigh, Fairhope, AL, Houston, Chicago, the Outer Banks, where the book is set, Cape Cod and the Jersey Shore. Hey–maybe I’ll run into Snooki at the tanning salon!
EFG: Anything else you’d like to add?
MKA: Friend me on Facebook!
The advance buzz for Summer Rental is phenomenal. USA Today has dubbed it one of their “Hottest new reads” for summer. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution included it in their “Beach books of summer” list. Publisher’s Weekly called it a “beach blanket sizzler”. I call it “summer reading at its best“. Don’t miss this one!
For more about Mary Kay Andrews and her books, visit the following sites: