• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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It’s So Typical of Me to Talk about Myself

Dear Friends of this blog. Under the category of better late than how did I possibly fail to mention the publication of a novel by our very beloved and brilliant Donna Everhart?Please join me in congratulating her on the publication of The Education of Dixie Dupree. Better yet, support the author and buy a copy.

Let’s try something new in the comments. Let’s see if we can do a live(ish) Q&A. Leave a question for Donna and hopefully she’ll answer.

33 Responses

  1. Congratulations Donna ! What a beautiful cover!

    • Thank you, Downith. I loved this cover…it was perfect for many reasons, but one is the fact the narrator’s favorite word is metamorphosis – and those butterflies in the jar carry such a significant meaning to her story.

  2. Congratulations, Donna. Mazel tov!

    Now, to the question. What do you hope will be better about the world because this book exists? Or, to rephrase, we all know why we write, and have a thousand different answers to that. Why do you want readers to read?

    • Thank you, herb!

      My simple answer would be I love grit lit – or Southern gothic stories, with all of these damaged and flawed characters, so what better thing to write than what I like to read – right?

      My more complicated answer is, I would want readers to read it b/c we (writers) all hope to strike a chord – even if it’s only with one person. But, this will be one who will take the time to write and say “thank you for writing this story. It is my story.” It’s rough in what it deals with and in the way I wrote it – fearlessly or graphically – as a couple reviewers said, but I couldn’t see any other way to do it. The good news – I have had a few reach out and write about how it affected them. Those are the best emails ever.

  3. Wow! Thank you Betsy! I actually did a little jerk when I opened the post and saw my book cover/face. You surprised me! (and that title for the post – perfection!)

  4. So fun to see you here at Betsy’s Bar &

    I thought about this story for days after finishing it. Fighting back, speaking up, writing it down – these are the empowering gifts of the story. All in the hands of a brave writer.

    My questions are: Did you take any heat from family & friends? Does everyone assume it’s autobiographical or get defensive?
    My family would be tough to take, but that’s just me.
    Enjoy all of this, Donna.

    • It’s fun to be here – as it always is!

      Thank you for those words, november – and when a writer reads another writer’s work, and then says such as that, well. Speechless. Which is rare for me.

      If I’d written this story when I was younger, I think yes, there are some who would have had a little twist to the joint of their nose. My mother has worried the most. “They’ll think you’re writing about me!”

      That’s why it’s dedicated the way it is…my Dad passed one month before I got the contract. And then of course, it’s to my Mom – and who in their right mind dedicates a book to their mother when it’s this kind of story?

      Anyway, thanks again, november. I’m soaking it all in and have been having fun.

  5. Congratulations, Miss Donna.

    After ideas and outlines, how do you get started?

    • Hi, Frank! Thank you…

      How do I get started…I wish I could say I take off like a sprinter in the Olympics going for gold, but I don’t. Writing in the beginning for me is very tentative. Beginnings are the hardest, aren’t they? They are for me anyway. It’s daunting. I sometimes write only to cut it out and move what I have to some further place for use later. At this stage I save everything. Even if it’s only one sentence. I’ve got one now I’m waiting to use somewhere.

      I also decide on the books I want to use for inspiration. For instance, right now, the project I’m working on takes place in 1955, on an eastern NC cotton farm. I have “I WILL SEND RAIN,” (Rae Meadows) and ALL OVER BUT THE SHOUTIN’ (Rick Bragg) by my side.

      I don’t like to set word goals in the beginning either – by the time I get 10K though? 1000 wpd, and if it’s a crazy busy day – like today, I feel good with anything that moves it forward – even just editing.

      Long answer eh?

  6. Donna as you know I loved this book! My question for you has to do with your writing style. Are you a pantser or a planner? Do you have a detailed outline of your story or just an idea of the major points and let the story flow from there?

    • Hey Eldonna! Yeah…(having my aw shucks moment here)…I do know that, and thank you again!

      Sooo, it’s the latter for me. I get the major points down and let it go from there. But, wait, stop the press. I didn’t do this with DIXIE – total pantster on that. (whaaa?) My agent has said, “you have your whole life to write your first book and about a year for each after publication.”

      And because it took me ten years (on and off) to get DIXIE done – i.e. I wasn’t published, I had the luxury of finding my way. In an interview I called it “story wandering.” I did a LOT of wandering with DIXIE.

      But now, I have to have an outline – it’s in the contracts for one. And I’ve learned to love them. The thing with them though, it’s only 3-5 pages – and the story has to be 300 to 320 or so pages. That, to me, is a combo, 1% plotter (outline) 99% pantster.

  7. Congratulations, Donna!
    What’s next?

    • Thanks, MikeD!

      The next book, THE ROAD TO BITTERSWEET will release on December 26th, 2017. I’m excited about that too – very different from DIXIE, although it too, is a coming of age story. It takes place in 1940, in the NC Appalachian mountains, and is about a 14 yo girl and her sister who is mute, but musically gifted. (in those days, “idiot savant.)

      And I hope to share some more news in a couple weeks or so. 🙂

  8. Oh Donna isn’t all of this just wonderful. Did you always believe it would happen?

    • Hey 2Ns! It is wonderful…

      As you probably know, I’ve had myself a couple pinch me moments since this all started. Who am I kidding??? I’m STILL pinching myself.

      No, I did NOT think it would happen. This book didn’t sell right away – it went out on sub in 2012 to some of the top editors in NY. It didn’t get picked up. It took until 2015, and after I’d written two others – only one went on sub, that it finally did.

      Yeah. Still pinching myself.

  9. Congratulations, Donna!

    Are you a cat person or a dog person?

    • Thank you Tetman!

      I am both – but, lean towards dogs. Actually, I am ALL animals…I am a member of the Humane Society. I was donating to the World Protection Society of Animals at one point too. I wish I could save them all.

  10. Wow! Congrats, Donna! I’m looking forward to reading it.

    My question(s): What’s your modus operandi for writing? What motivates you? Are you impulsive, scheduled, disciplined, helter skelter, or all of the above? Do you shut the blinds and shut out the world? Do you bend over your laptop or write longhand in the wee hours?

    • Hi Diane! Thank you!

      Great questions – all the above? Ha, no, I’d drive my own self crazy. My M.O. Reading great writing – pure and simple. Oh my word. You know what I mean – the sort of writing that makes your heart race and your upper lip sweat? Yeah. I want to write like that – and I can’t quit buying books that tend to do that to me, than I’m working and working to improve my own technique, so it’s a vicious circle!

      I do shut out the world – but it’s more of a into the zone thing, b/c my husband is constantly in and out. I could go upstairs and shut the door – I meany hey, I have an office just for this – but I’ll claim laziness. I like the convenience of just getting up and walking out the back door to give my “little guy” (4 lb yorkie) a break. And I bend over a laptop – sometimes till it pure “tee” aches.

  11. I LOVE Dixie, Donna! She has a special place in my heart because you are such an excellent writer. I’m proud to know you, and I can’t wait to read THE ROAD TO BITTERSWEET!

    • Hi Lilac! Thank you…! You’re so kind – I owe you a reply on my own site – oops! (helping Mom move – it’s been a little nuts) At this point, I’ve been hanging around DIXIE DUPREE so long, she’s truly like a daughter. 🙂 I hope you’ll love my little protag in the next book just as much!

  12. I’m a bit late to the game here, and the only questions I easily conjured have already been asked. So, let me just say–in case anyone has not yet read this book: It is so very, VERY fabulous! It’s always thrilling when a member of Betsy’s tribe publishes a new book, but it’s a particular joy when the writing is so wonderful. XO!

    • Pardon me if I’m panting in your ear SSS, but honest to Godiva reading your comment was pretty damn exciting. Thank you for that, it means a lot! xoxo

  13. congrats, Donna! the cover is terrific. my question: have you noticed your writing friendships have changed since you signed? agent + book deals. that’s successful! dish.


    • Thank you Rea! I loved the cover too – and your question, but it’s a hard one to answer.

      It’s hard because a lot of my writing friendships are online – and they’re not the sort where it’s an exchange of ideas, and we write pages and share them. I know exactly what you mean, though. It’s when there’s a group of writers, say 3 – 4, and they’ve all been writing, and meeting (maybe once a week) for a long time. They share their work, their dreams. They cry over rejections together and it’s all good. Until…suddenly – one breaks out. They get an agent! Holy shit, they get a book deal! Tears of joy flow from all eyes, they speak of good wishes, and “it couldn’t happen to a better person! And then…they all go home and the others who are still struggling, some (all???) might cry tears of green. They might think, my writing is better! How did it happen to her/him and not to me!

      I can see how this would happen. It would be a hard, bitter pill to swallow b/c we all know how passionate we are about writing, and getting that deal.

      For me, when I was writing DIXIE, I wrote alone. And I still write alone, meaning there are no other writers I share my work with or meet with, etc. Oh – I did join the NC Writers Network hoping our county would form a group and they did and it failed b/c nobody – including me – showed up.

      I wish I had some real dirt to share. What a boring answer, huh?

  14. So, I’m lucky enough to have read (and loved) Dixie, and I see you have a new title coming at Christmas time. Speaking for those of us who adore Dixie, we’re wondering if you plan to revisit her life seven years down the road? Or maybe two years down the road, but somewhere down the road. I’ll hold my other 9 questions to allow others a turn. Thank you!

    • Hey John *ms* Frain! I’ve had a couple other people ask me that question too. The plain, simple answer is, IDK. Of course she’s 12 by the end of the book, and in my head she’s that “forever” 12. Then again, it would be kind of interesting to see where she goes, eh? I’m sort of in that mindset of don’t monkey around with what turned out to be a pretty good debut. Then again, I could see her in her teens (say 15 or so) and here come the repercussions because of what happened. It would be the early 70s with great music, clothes, and…drugs. OMG. Dixie on drugs? Yikes.

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