Monday, August 08, 2005

Definitely not A DOLLAR SHORT!

This is a new book I can't WAIT to read! Welcome to Karin Gillespie, Queen Diva of The Girlfriends Cyber Circuit and author of the just published A Dollar Short: The Bottom Dollar Girls Go Hollywood. If Karin's first book (Bet Your Bottom Dollar) is any indication, A Dollar Short is going to be scrumptious!

Here's Karin's Press Release... and below it you'll find an interview in which Karin discusses writing, marketing, and all things bottom dollar-ish.


“As tart and delectable as lemon meringue pie… a pure delight!”
--Jennifer Weiner, author of Good in Bed, In Her Shoes, and Little Earthquakes

“Never a dull moment…. this fast-paced screamer of a romance begs a giggle, if not a guffaw. —Booklist

It isn’t every day a movie star steals your husband. Former beauty queen Chiffon Butrell faces that dilemma when her husband Lonnie wins a trip to Hollywood. Lonnie meets mega movie star, Janie Lynn Lauren—known as Jay-Li to her elite circle- and leaves Chiffon behind in Cayboo Creek, S.C., with three kids and no money.

Chiffon’s manages to lose her temper and her job in quick succession—only to discover that Lonnie’s paycheck from the Nutra-Sweet plant has been forwarded to a California address. With three kids to feed, Chiffon comes up more than a dollar short.

Her good friends, the Bottom Dollar Girls, try their best to pitch in. But there are too few hands to lend, what with Elizabeth and her husband Timothy expecting their first baby any day, and the rest of the Bottom Dollar Girls knee-deep in their secret—and possibly scandalous--plan to raise money for the Cayboo Creek Senior Center.

When a slick of Wesson Oil at the Winn Dixie gets the better of Chiffon’s ankle, there’s just one thing to be done—call on estranged older sister Chenille, who hails from Bible Grove, S.C. A prissy, fussy spinster prone to dressing her dog Walter in matching plaid “mother-son” outfits, Chenille is everything Chiffon detests.

Chiffon's little house is soon overrun with buzzing paparazzi, and the tabloids are having a field day with the starlet's affair with a down-home country boy. Jay-Li declares war when she appears on national television to assassinate Chiffon’s character and to declare her intentions for Lonnie by wearing a t-shirt that says, “Chiffon, Be Gone!” Things get ugly in a hurry in the battle of wills between the mother of three and the world’s greatest movie star.

Through all their trials, the Grace girls find solace in the centerpiece of the series, the Bottom Dollar Emporium. Whether it's the straightforward advice of eighty-five year old Attalee, or the helpful ministrations of Elizabeth, the women of the Bottom Dollar stick together.

Not to be missed, A DOLLAR SHORT (Simon and Schuster, August 2005) sparkles with energy and wit, as well as the compelling story of emotional loss and the strength to endure. It is a hilarious saga of loss, sisterhood, and the will to survive in small town Cayboo Creek, South Carolina.


Before coming a novelist, Karin Gillespie was a special education teacher at an inner-city school and an editor of a regional parenting magazine. She’s also a bi-monthly columnist for the Augusta Chronicle.

Her first novel, Bet Your Bottom Dollar, is in the process of being optioned by James Woods for film.

She travels the Southeast with three other Southern authors, and they call themselves the Dixie Divas.

For the release of A Dollar Short: The Bottom Dollar Girls Go Hollywood, Karin will be embarking on the “Take Back the Tiara Tour” which will feature a red carpet, dime-store tiaras, and an essay contest for women.

A Dollar Short has been chosen as a featured alternative for Doubleday and Literary Guild book clubs.

MO'C: I loved your first novel, Bet Your Bottom Dollar, and can't wait to dig into the sequel. Did you always have a series in mind?

KG: This is the conversation I had with my agent when I got “the call.”

Agent: Good news! Simon and Schuster wants to buy your novel.

Me: Shriek! Shriek!

Agent: They think it should be a series. Do you have an idea for a second book?

Me: (Lying through my teeth) Of course, I have an idea for another book! I have ideas for gazillions of books.

So, no, I didn’t have a clue. But at that point I was willing to write a pop-up version of the book if they wanted it.

MO'C: A Minnesota native, you migrated to the deep South. How did you find that transition and how long did it take you to learn to stop talking Minnesotan and begin speaking Southern?

KG: I moved to the South when I was thirteen and since I’m waist-high into my forties I consider myself more Southern than Midwestern. Of course Southerners would likely disagree. You really have to a granddaddy in the Civil War to be truly Southern.

There is even a saying about the matter: If you do settle in the South and bear children, don't think we will accept them as Southerners. After all, if the cat had kittens in the oven, we wouldn't call 'em biscuits.

Anyway I leaned quickly enough to replace my “you guys” with y’all and to quit putting sugar on my grits.

MO'C: Which of the characters is most like you and why?

KG: I deliberately make my characters the least like me as possible because then I can vicariously lives completely different from mine. But I’m probably most like Chenille in A DOLLAR SHORT. She’s a school teacher (who gets fired due to an unfortunate mishap with a machete) and I used to be teacher too so I “borrowed” some of my experiences and gave them to Chenille.

MO'C: If I remember right (and I don't have the book in front of me so forgive me if I'm wrong), Chiffon was not an altogether sympathetic character in the first Bottom Dollar Girls book. What were the challenges of making her a sympathetic character in this one and how did you address those challenges?

KG: She was kind of a bit player in the first book, but not particularly unsympathetic. I think you may be thinking of Jonelle Jasper who was a mean little wench in the first book and is even a bigger one in the second book.

However, I think it’s pretty easy to make an unsympathetic character sympathetic once you are in their point of view. You can make the readers understand why they’re acting so sleazy, through their inner dialogue.

MO'C: Do you have any advice for second-time novelists, both those with and without sequels? Is it easier to write a sequel than a standalone novel, do you think?

KG: I’ve found that writing a series is easier because you don’t have to re-create an entire universe with every book. I just wrote a book out of series and it was like cutting the grass with pinking shears when I'd gotten used to felling great swathes with a riding lawn mower.

Second books, by the way, are like second children. You love them dearly but you don’t fuss over them nearly as much. My advice is once the book is out and once you’ve done all you can to promote it, let it go and focus on the next thing at hand.

MO'C: You also run the widely read marketing blog, Diary of a Hype Hag. What are your three top tips for authors trying to market themselves and their work?

1.Figure out what promotion tactics works for you and dump the rest. After
every book launch I do a house-cleaning, figuring out what was a waste of my
time and what wasn’t.

2. Do something every day to promote your book, whether it be sending out a
bunch of postcards or sending a press release to a radio station to see if
they want you as a guest.

3. Get a few books on book promotion and read them straight through, making
notes and brainstorming as you go along. When you get an idea, let it simmer
for a day or so and you’ll likely discover a way to make it even a better

But as important as promotion is, don’t EVER let it overshadow your writing. The best thing you can do to promote yourself is to write a kick-butt book.

MO'C: As if you didn't have enough to do, you are the mastermind behind The Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit. How did you come up with this brilliant idea? What have been some benefits the Circuit has provided?

KG: I started the GCC because I'd heard about virtual tours, and I thought they were a fabulous idea. I also knew several women writer who had blogs so I thought why not have a virtual tour with women writers only? I put a little item on my blog and the authors who wanted to join came pouring in. I initially thought 10 authors or so would be a good number, but the interest was so strong I ended up with 25 authors instead. The tour had definitely exceeded my expectations. I hear from publicists and publishers who want their authors to join, and now there's a waiting list. The authors who tour tell me they are picking up new readers and the bloggers enjoy having some great content. It's a win-win situation for everyone.

MO'C: Tell us about your Take Back the Tiara Contest.
KG: Here’s the link but basically it’s an essay contest for women writing about a moment of empowerment (excuse that cheesy word) or when they have “taken back the tiara.”

MO'C: Do you have any words on motherhood and writing?
KG: It’s been my experience that they don’t mix all that well. I was a single mother for seventeen years (I just got married a couple of months ago) and I really didn’t attempt to do serious writing until my son was 12 and didn’t seem to need me every spare minute of the day. I really applaud women with young children who write but I suspect they must have supportive partners.

MO'C: What's in the works for Karin Gillespie?
KG: I have two more books under contract that I’ve completed. One is the third book in the series called DOLLAR DAZE, the other is an out-of-series book called EARTHLY PLEASURES, which is sort of a chick lit in Heaven tale. I’m hard at work on my fifth book!

Thank you so much, Karin, for visiting the blog today! You can buy Karin's novel at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or my favorite, your local indie bookseller via Booksense. And don't forget to visit Karin's site!