Tell us about your new novel, Christmas Bliss.
Christmas Bliss is the fourth in my Savannah series, following antique dealer Weezie Foley and inn-keeper BeBe Loudermilk. The story is set the week before Christmas, with Weezie’s upcoming wedding, and the impending birth of BeBe’s first child.
What inspired you to write this story?
My readers kept begging for another book with these characters, who seem to be the most beloved of the many I’ve created over the course of 21 novels.
How would your novel’s main characters, Weezie and BeBe, describe each other?
BeBe would say Weezie is her best friend, a die-hard junker with a crazy family and a pesky pooch. Weezie would say that BeBe has a heart of gold—although she’s just a little on the cynical side.
You began your career as a reporter. How have those skills helped you write fiction?
Being a journalist teaches you to work on deadline and that there’s no such thing as writer’s block. It’s also a great skill-builder because it teaches you tenacity—and to listen carefully.
Before switching genres, you wrote ten mysteries. Do you want to write another mystery someday?
Actually, I almost always include a mysterious element in my stories, so I really haven’t left my detective days far behind.
Who are your favorite authors?
I was always a huge Elmore Leonard fan, and I totally admire Michael Connelly, along with Laura Lippman and Margaret Maron. For women’s fiction, I love Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Patti Callahan Henry.
What was the last book you read that you loved?
Easy! Lee Smith’s fabulous new novel Guests on Earth.
What are your favorite holiday traditions?
Decorating my house to the nines in time to host my book club’s Christmas get-together, the night-before night-before Christmas wrapping marathon with my daughter and our neighbors, baking cookies with my four-year-old granddaughter, Molly, and Christmas Eve children’s mass with the whole family.
You have been married to your high school sweetheart for nearly forty years. What is the secret to a long-lasting relationship?
A great sense of humor, plenty of time apart, and the overriding belief in our marriage and family as a team unit. It also doesn’t hurt to have a hot hubby like mine!
As a lifelong “junker,” what has been your most cherished find so far?
Maybe a bunch of vintage glass Christmas ornaments I bought at an estate sale years ago--each box was carefully labelled "bird," "stars," and "blue and silver balls." I keep them in the same boxes they came in and enjoy them all over again when it comes time to bring up the Christmas bins from the basement.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Don't go overboard revising on your first draft. Go all the way to the end of your story and then go back and revise. If you keep revising and rewriting and trying for that first "perfect" chapter, you might never get to the end of your book. Write hard and fast until you finish the story--then go back and polish and hone.
What are you working on now?
Next summer's book--set in Savannah with a wedding florist as a protagonist.
***Giveaway!!! Please leave a comment sharing your favorite holiday traditions, and you will be entered to win a copy of Christmas Bliss, along with a bookmark, ornament, set of recipe cards, and signed bookplate! Remember to include your email address or social media link, so we can contact you if you win. US residents only. The winner will be chosen at random on Thursday, November 21st. Good luck!***
Mary Kay Andrews is the author of the New York Times bestselling The Fixer Upper, Savannah Breeze and Blue Christmas, as well as Deep Dish, Hissy Fit, Little Bitty Lies, Savannah Blues, and Christmas Bliss. She also wrote ten critically acclaimed mysteries, including the Callahan Garrity mystery series, under her real name, Kathy Hogan Trocheck. She claims to know the location of every promising thrift store, flea market, and junkpile in the southeastern United States, plus many parts of Ohio. Trocheck is the mother of two grown children and a proud grandmother. After a brief hiatus in Raleigh, NC, she and her husband moved back to their old neighborhood in Atlanta, where they live in a restored 1926 Craftsman bungalow. They divide their time between Atlanta and a restored beach cottage on Tybee Island, GA. For more information, please visit marykayandrews.com.