The Dixie Divas
One of the terrific perks that comes with being a published author is having the opportunity to connect with other published authors. And, being a Southern writer myself, there’s nothing better than getting to know writers who hail from the South and share their love of Dixie. When I read the book, Bet Your Bottom Dollar, by Karin Gillespie, I laughed and had myself gay ole time as I followed the antics of the main characters, Elizabeth, Mavis, and Attalee.
Since that day I’ve been fortunate to have connected with Karin Gillespie (shown in the photo on the left—the pretty, mischievous-looking blond with the twinkle in her eyes), and she’s just as charming and entertaining and funny as her Bottom Dollar Girls series, published by Simon and Schuster.
I recently asked Karin if she’d be willing to share with my readers how the Dixie Divas came to be, and though she’s quite busy, she graciously accepted my invitation. So without further delay, here, in Karin’s own words, is her story …
The Dixie Divas
“When I found out my novel was going to be published I talked to lots of other authors and they scared me to death. “The book signings are killers,” they warned. “Usually the only people who will show up are the events coordinator and your mother.”
I also discovered a book called Mortification: Writers’ Stories of Their Public Shame. How terrifying! I thought there had to be some way to attract an audience to book signings. I talked to a mystery author, Denise Swanson. She traveled with other mystery writer and they called themselves the Deadly Divas. She said they sometimes attracted hundreds of people to their signings.
We decided we would have fun book signings. We wear boas and tiaras and other silly accessories. Patty, our mystery writer wears black and yellow crime tape. We tell jokes and stories. No staid, stuffy readings for the Divas. We aim to entertain.
Because we have to watch our pennies we often pile into one car and one hotel room. (Thankfully none of the divas snore.) I call us Thelma and Louise squared.
And yes, for the most part, our signings are wonderful. Sometimes we sell over a hundred books and present to packed houses. The press loves us and we have enjoyed half-page feature article spreads in many Southeastern newspapers, coverage we would have never gotten as solo authors.
But every now and then we have a dud signing. Once we spoke at Cocoa Florida library and the crowd was sparse and composed primarily of elderly retirees. The librarian apologized for the small turnout. A retiree who was listening in said, “You should have been here last week. There was an author who had a long line out the door.”
“Who was the author?” I asked wearily.
“I don’t remember,” said the retiree. “I just remember the name of his book. It was called Overcoming Incontinence.”
So yes, dear friends, we were upstaged by incontinence.
On another occasion we visited a small-town library in Georgia. The cub reporter interviewing us was wet behind the ears. His story had many inaccuracies but the most glaring was the title of his piece, which read, “Dixie Beavers to Visit Local Library.”
We’ve traveled together over three years and we’ve shared a heap of embarrassments as well as countless triumphs. You get to know a lot about people when you swill wine together, share long car rides and sleep in the same bed. The Divas and I have become as close as sisters and we cherish our relationships. I can’t imagine doing signings without them. When I’m with the Divas it doesn’t matter how many people are at our book signings. I know J.L. Miles will make me laugh, Julie Cannon will have a word of encouragement and Patty Sprinkle will give me valuable advice. That’s all I care about. Now it’s less about selling books and more about spending time with my darling Divas.”
Karin’s books can be purchased at fine independent booksellers, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s, Books-A-Million and many other retailers.
Bio: Karin Gillespie is the author of the Bottom Dollar Girl series and the founder of A Good Blog is Hard to Find, a group blog for Southern authors.