Thursday, October 2, 2008

Guest Blogger: Karen White

Once upon a time, there was time.... Those words are on a needlepoint pillow my self-proclaimed "#1 fan" sent me for my past birthday (my 29th. Again.) She always takes me out to lunch to celebrate the publication of my latest book, brings a stack of books for me to sign and for her to give to all of her friends, and then we chat about our lives. After our last meeting, she was about to go in for knee replacement surgery and I admitted to being a little jealous. I told her that yeah, there would be pain, but there would also be weeks of forced rest where she wouldn't be allowed to do anything but read and watch TV! I must have been looking pretty wistful, hence the needlepoint pillow.

So, how did it come to this that I was envious of a woman about to have her knees sawed into, yanked out, and replaced with metal? Don't get me wrong, I am so blessed--healthy children, supportive husband, and a career out of writing books I love. But somewhere along the way between giving birth to two children and ten novels, the hours in a day have somehow shortened. I knew I'd reached my limit when I paused at the adult diaper aisle at my Kroger not too long ago and considered purchasing Depends just to extend the amount of time between trips to the bathroom. Seriously.

I promised myself that when I finished the next book, I'd take stock of my life and reevaluate just as a manager of a business does during a recession. Or the captain of a ship does when it's sinking. I 'cut the fat' so to speak. And it wasn't easy. I gave up my exercise class and instead bought gym equipment for my basement so as not to spend about forty-five minutes of commute time. I stopped cooking entirely (not too much of a sacrifice for me OR my family!) and found a lady who will deliver meals for a reasonable price. I dropped out of my choir and now devote all my singing time now to annoying my teenaged children inside the house and car (an added benefit). I say 'no' a lot more now--which, amazingly enough, gives me time to say 'yes' to things that used to make me feel guilty--a chick flick with my daughter, lunch with friends, getting creamed in a video game by my 14-year-old son. I've even managed to take a nap or two!

I still sometimes feel like I'm sucking wind--especially when I'm on deadline trying to finish a book. But it's temporary. And even in the midst of wind-sucking, I give myself a time-out to do nothing. I'll read (my favorite thing to do), play the piano, cuddle with the dog, chat with my husband about nothing in particular, embarrass my children. You know, live life. Then I get back to work. It's amazing how "wasting time" can make me so productive!

So the next time I find myself in the adult-diaper aisle, I'll give myself a mental shake and remind myself that it's time to reassess. Or to at least take a nap.

After playing hooky one day in the seventh grade to read Gone With the Wind, Karen knew she wanted to be a writer—or become Scarlett O'Hara. In spite of these aspirations, Karen pursued a degree in business and graduated cum laude with a BS in Management from Tulane University. Ten years later, after leaving the business world to stay home with her children, she fulfilled her dream of becoming a writer and wrote her first book. In the Shadow of the Moon was published in August, 2000. This book was nominated for Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA award in 2001 in two separate categories.
Karen has since published seven more award-winning novels. Her next novel, The House on Tradd Street, will be released in trade paperback by New American Library, a division of Penguin Publishing Group, in November 2008.
When not writing, Karen spends her time reading, singing, playing the piano, carpooling children and avoiding cooking. Karen lived in London, England for seven years and is a graduate of the American School in London. She now lives outside Atlanta with her husband, son and daughter and is working on her tenth novel, a "grit lit" southern family drama set in Savannah, Georgia. The Lost Hours will be published in May 2009.

1 comment:

Karen Harrington said...

Hi Karen,

Loved your post and I'm looking forward to your next book. And now you've whet my appetite for a grit lit set in of my all-time favorite haunts.