GREETINGS TO ALL “THOUGHTS ON THIS ‘n THAT” BLOG FOLLOWERS!
Now that we’ve entered into the full swing of the holiday season, we’ve decided to do something a little different. Over the next few weeks, we’re featuring some of our favorite authors and finding out what they like best about the HOLIDAYS. We’ll also find out what their latest book project is.
Barbara Claypole White, Author
Barbara Claypole White and I have something very important in common. We’re both dedicated to eliminating the stigma of mental illness. Barbara is able to tackle the subject in her bestselling novels like THE PERFECT SON and ECHOES of a FAMILY. She describes her books as, “Hopeful family drama with a healthy dose of Mental Illness.” THE PERFECT SON is about how a family copes with a son who afflicted with compulsive obsessive disorder. ECHOES of FAMILY is about a woman with clinical depression, who has to face her illness to get well.
Barbara’s new novel, THE PROMISE BETWEEN US, comes out next year, on January 16th and asks the question, “Can you be a good mother, if you abandon your child?” Once again, Barbara offers readers “a hopeful tale of redemption, renewal and the promise of love.”
Barbara Claypole White grew up in the English village of Turvey with big dreams of becoming a novelist. So, armed with a history degree from York University, she went to work in the London fashion industry. After she failed to snag the job of her dreams—and was wallowing in excessive self-pity—her boss sent her to New York on business. Flying home over the Atlantic, she fell for the handsome American professor who had picked her up at JKF Airport with a well-informed comment about English author P.D. James. (Fiction matters, people.)
Eighteen months later, Barbara embarked on a new life as a faculty spouse, freelance writer, and marketing director in a small Midwest college town. She also had a dirty little secret: she was writing a novel. Set against the backdrop of eighties fashion and the arrival of AIDS in London, it was spectacularly bad.
Then Barbara learned she was pregnant, and her husband was offered a distinguished professorship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The family moved to the forest outside the historic town of Hillsborough, and Barbara became a stay-at-home mom and a woodland gardener. Both passions would shape and guide her writing voice. She also started a new manuscript called Dogwood Days, but her writing ground to a halt when her young son was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder.
They entered into exposure therapy, and Barbara began her ongoing journey of educating herself about life with anxiety. Growing up, she had watched family members struggle with mental illness in secrecy and shame. She was determined her son would follow a different path. As he began to reclaim his life from irrational fear, Barbara returned to her manuscript. One day, a charismatic entrepreneur with severe OCD strolled into her imagination and refused to leave. His name was James Nealy.
Barbara rewrote Dogwood Days with James as her hero. When it won second place in the Carrie McCray Memorial Literary Awards for Novel First Chapter, she began to think, “Maybe.” She joined a nonfiction project for parents of children with invisible disabilities called Easy to Love But Hard to Raise, began blogging through the highs and lows of life with OCD, and landed an agent and a two-book deal. Dogwood Days became The Unfinished Garden and won the 2013 Golden Quill Contest for Best First Book. The In-Between Hour, which was chosen by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance as a Winter 2014 Okra Pick, followed. She also became a OCD advocate for the A2A Alliance, a nonprofit group that promotes advocacy over adversity.
She is currently hard at work on novel six (technically seven)…when she’s not waging war against squirrels and voles or gardening with a watchful eye open for Horace, the black snake who likes to scare the UPS guy.
*more on VOLES at the end!
I got to meet Barbara in October during the Women Fiction Writer’s Conference in New Mexico. We had a couple of chats and I have to write, Barbara, really has a heart of gold.
She even agreed to answer our Holiday questionnaire.
CR: Favorite Holiday.
BCW: That would be Christmas, since my son’s birthday is Christmas day.
CR: Favorite present you’ve given?
BCW: I’m not sure I can answer this because I get ridiculously excited about finding the right present for the right person. I did, however, gift my mother a signed first edition of Jodi Picoult’s SMALL GREAT THINGS last year – and then made her promise she wouldn’t lend it out. We’re both huge Jodi Fans.
CR: Favorite gift you’ve received?
BCW: My son on Christmas, 1994.
CR: Favorite Holiday music?
BCW: I would have to vote for either Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas” or the crappy old cassette tape I have of a carol service in my Father’s church. He died in 2000. and it was years before I could listen to that tape, but it’s the traditional service of lessons and carols … and I get to hear my daddy’s voice. I listen to it every Christmas Eve, while I make mince pies. Which leads to the next question.
CR: Favorite Holiday meal and/or dessert?
BCW: Mince pies. Hey, I’m a Brit, y’all.
CR: Message/wishes for 2018?
BCW: I wish everyone peace – wherever they live in the world.
Thank you, Barbara.
Back to those “voles.” I had never heard of such a thing. I thought maybe the computer did autocorrect, and then I did a google search. YUCK! They look like honey badgers … and we all know, they don’t give a ___.
Back to the voles. Those varmits are ugly and a nuisance. If you’re also suffering from VOLE infestation, here’s a video, YOU MUST SEE! It focuses on moles, but it was too funny to pass up.
We’re giving away journals to a few of our blog followers. Just tell is what your message and/or wishes for 2018 are. We’ll announce winners soon.