I’m a Midwestern girl who, after forty years in Georgia, is still trying to get the hang of being Southern.
What does all my fiction have in common? (So far!)
1. A Southern setting. I wasn’t born in the South. (But I got here as fast as I could!) Over the years I’ve fallen in love with my adopted land and now I can’t stop setting novels in the deep South.
2. A sense of hopefulness. I’m definitely a glass-half-full person. I believe our natural state is joy and all my fiction is drenched in the idea that life is a gorgeous, positive adventure. That said, my characters can often be deeply flawed, but by the end of their adventures they will definitely snag their own little pieces of redemption.
I’m not saying I’m a laugh-a-minute kind of author but my sense of humor always sneaks into my work.
4. A romantic element:
Romance is not always the main element in my work but I do manage to sneak some smooching and canoodling into every novel.
Bottom Dollar Girls Series
The Bottom Dollar Girls came about because I love exploring small Southern towns and I wanted to share in my novels some of the quaint and crazy things I saw. Also I’m a girl’s girl, meaning girlfriends have always been extremely important to me. I wanted to write novels that capture all the wonderful dynamics of friendships between females.
Girl Meets Class
I taught at an inner-city school for ten years, and it was one of the most difficult experiences in my life. Yet that decade in the trenches definitely changed my world view for the better. My main character, Toni Lee, is a bit of spoiled Southern princess and she definitely faces her share of challenges when she begins to teach at Harriet Hall, a very tough high school in the fictitious town of Rose Hill, Georgia.
I also wanted to show a town that has two very different sides to it, rich and impoverished, and how those sides rarely intersect. Both sides tend to have misconceptions about each other. (Class differences is a theme that interests me.)
Karin Gillespie is the national-bestselling author of five novels. She has also written for the New York Times, Washington Post and Writer Magazine. She has an MFA from Converse College and lives in Augusta, Georgia. She writes a book column for the Augusta Chronicle, and a humor column for the Augusta Magazine.