Hey y'all, I am really excited to tell you about this new book from Mary Kay Andrews. As you all know I am a huge fan. I've read all her books and just love the way she writes. Her books are always set in the South and she makes you feel like you know the people you are reading about. They are so enjoyable you just can't put them down and this one just might be her best ever. If you are looking for a good summer read, you have just got to read this book, she's a junker just like us and you will relate with her just like I do. For those of you who are not familiar with Mary Kay I have included a Q&A with her in this post. I am very excited that I was asked to preview the book and then offer a signed copy to my followers. So if you would like to leave me a comment I will pick a winner next Sunday, June 5. And as a special bonus, I will send you a coin purse necklace from me! Love you guys and you just gotta read this book! Cheers, lauri
Q&A With Mary Kay
Q: So. What’s with you and junk?
A: I grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida, which some people refer to as “God’s Waiting Room.” It’s where elderly Yankees with good taste retired, and then never unpacked all that wonderful old china, crystal, linens, ect, which meant it ended up being sold at estate sales or donated to charity thrift stores. Also, my mother was a junker, and I inherited that trait. Or curse.
Q: In your Savannah series, Savannah Blues, Savannah Breeze and Blue Christmas, your protagonist, Weezie Foley, is first an antique picker, than an antique dealer. Have you followed her career path?
A: In a way, yes. Savannah was the first place my husband and I moved as 22-year-old newlyweds. With no money and a tiny apartment to furnish, I started going to estate sales. That’s where I met pickers, and later antique dealers. After we moved to Atlanta, I continued my junking ritual. At an estate sale more than twenty years ago, I bought what I thought was a majolica piece, for a dollar. I took it to a majolica dealer at the old Elco Antique Market in Atlanta, who promptly told me it was an antique French majolica asparagus dish. She offered me $50 for it, and later marked it up to $250. I took the money and became a picker. Then, four years ago, a friend on Tybee Island, where we have a second home, asked if I wanted to rent space as an antique dealer. I dove in, and haven’t looked back.
Q: Your newest book, Summer Rental, like many of your other novels, including The Fixer-Upper, features an old house just begging to be restored. Why that recurring theme?
A: Old homes, like antiques, seem to tug at my heart. They have tales to tell, secrets to whisper. They have a patina and a grace and energy that speak to me. I find that most of my stories do revolve around a woman’s search for home, whatever that means to her.
Q: I see your blogposts and your Facebook pictures of the junk you buy. What on earth do you do with all of it?
A: We have a really big basement. But actually, I have a selective catch and release system. Some things I keep. We have a 1920s Craftsman house in Atlanta, and I’m always adding to my collections or upgrading my décor here. And then there’s The Breeze Inn, our Tybee Island home. Plus I have two adult children, who often become the recipients of my steals and deals. And now, of course, I buy for my antique booth at Seaside Sisters, on Tybee Island.
Q: What kinds of things do you buy for yourself?
A: I’ve collected blue and white English transfer-ware for more than 30 years. I love Ironstone. I’ve got a soft spot for quilts, and I love to buy antique oil paintings—especially rural landscapes. My daughter calls me a linen whore, and I really can’t resist gorgeous old tablecloths and sheets and pillowcases. I love the whimsy and nostalgia behind vintage tin-litho children’s sand-pails and watering cans. And being a native Floridian, I’m a sucker for anything that screams retro Florida—that stuff ends up at The Breeze Inn. Q: What do you buy to sell at your antique booth at Seaside Sisters?
A: Beachy, shabby chic stuff sells really well, because we’re at the beach. I only buy stuff I really love, because if it doesn’t sell, it’s probably coming home with me! I try to buy smart so I can keep my prices low enough that my readers, who seek out my booth, can have the fun of taking home something they know I hand-picked for them. I usually have Depression-era quilts, ‘50s chenille bedspreads, rattan or wicker furniture, McCoy pottery, vintage children’s toys from the ‘20s on, fun black and white beach snapshots, anything quirky or amusing.
Q: Describe your perfect day.
A: Right after Matthew McConaughey wakes me up with a tender, wet kiss, I throw on my size four jeans, toss back a Diet Coke, and saddle up with my girlfriends, who I call my junk posse. We roll up to an estate sale at a spooky mansion in Buckhead, and the hearse is just backing out of the driveway. The deceased’s daughter-in-law is standing in the driveway offering to give it all away. I load up my Ford F-150-longbed truck with a king’s ransom in English antiques, French linens, 1950s barkcloth drapes, and the entire contents of a 1940s-era small-town five-and-dime store, including crates of Shiny-Brite Christmas ornaments. Then we stop for lunch at Souper Jenny, where I take a call from my agent informing me that Hollywood wants to option the rights to ALL my books. And Tina Fey is going to write the screenplay, star and direct.
Q: That’s not a real day. That’s a fantasy. C’mon. For reals.
A: Oh, for real? I struggle into my faded black yoga pants, spill my Diet Coke all over the console of my ten-year-old mini-Suv. I find an estate sale at a crumbling mid-town bungalow, and I wade through a mildewed basement full of stained Tupperware and forty years worth of Readers Digest Condensed Books. I finally find a 1950s Dick and Jane reading primer and some stained 1940s luncheon cloths. When I get upstairs to cash out, the snooty daughter gets off her cell phone long enough to tell me she’s seen the Dick and Jane listed for $50 on eBay, and, oh yeah, the luncheon cloths aren’t actually for sale after all. That’s reality.
Q: Ever thought of quitting the famous author business to get into the highly lucrative business of being an antique dealer?
A: Much as I adore dabbling in the world of junking, I have finally realized that I don’t have the smarts or the desire to work as hard at that business as it takes to be a success. On the other hand, I’ve been a working writer my entire adult life. I know how blessed I am to be able to make a living at writing fiction. So I hedge my bets—I write for a living—because I can’t imagine not writing. And I junk for fun, and every now and then, I get lucky and turn a profit at it. And then I go out and buy more junk. Because I can’t not.
Mary Kay Andrews is the New York Times bestselling author of The Fixer Upper, Deep Dish, Blue Christmas, Savannah Breeze, Hissy Fit, Little Bitty Lies, and Savannah Blues. A former journalist for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, she lives in Atlanta, Georgia.