Thursday, September 28, 2006

Applause for the Bottom Dollar Girls

Are you a big fan of Mark Childress, Fannie Flagg or Margaret Mitchell? Does Southern fiction make you want to curl up with some grits, hominy, and mint juleps? Then check out the work of Karin Gillespie, author of the Southern series about a group of friends called THE BOTTOM DOLLAR GIRLS. Karin is the founder of the Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit and an all-around great gal. She has joined us for an interview today. Welcome, Karin!


My name is Karin (not "Karen") Gillespie and it's pronounced CAR-IN as in, "Is that your CAR-IN the street with its bumper about to fall off?" My mother, who gave me this troublesome moniker, pronounces it CAR-REAN in a lovely lilting Australian accent. My Southern friends sometimes call me "Corn" (as in "children of the"). My last name is pronounced the same as Dizzy's (no relation).


Karin Gillespie’s Bottom Dollar Girls are back with a sugar-spun vengeance in Dollar Daze: The Bottom Dollar Girls in Love . Broaching the age-old question – Is it ever too late to find one’s heart’s desire? – the feisty ladies of Cayboo Creek are suddenly blindsided by schoolgirl flights of fancy when unexpected romance enters their lives.

Mavis Loomis, Birdie Purdy, and Gracie Tobias, widows in their mid-sixties are certain their dating days are over until they observe their friend eighty-something Attalee Gaines in tempestuous relationship with Dooley Prichard, a trifocal-wearing charmer. If it’s not too late for Attalee, how can it be too late for them?

Unfortunately the eligible men in Cayboo Creek are as picked over as a garage sale at noontime. Things look discouraging until an old high school heartthrob comes to town and Birdie and Mavis compete for his attentions. In the meantime socialite Gracie Tobias finds unlikely love in the arms of a rugged duct doctor. Can she overlook the vast differences in their backgrounds?

"Karin Gillespie has created characters in the "Steel Magnolias" mode. These are warm, wonderful women who love men, love life and definitely love each other. Their stories are universal in nature but told with a southern flavor. If you have never entered the world of Cayboo Creek, pick up DOLLAR DAZE and go there for a visit. You are bound to have a reading experience that will have you laughing, crying and having a high old time."~Jackie Cooper, Author of HALFWAY HOME

“Each character is lovingly crafted in Gillespie's hilarious, heartwarming, and often irreverent look at senior living in small-town America.”— Starred Review Booklist

“A sweet and amusing tale of romance and lust for the older crowd”—Kirkus

“Gillespie writes with such conviction that readers are thrust right into Cayboo Creek and the lives of the Bottom Dollar Girls….charismatic and replete with poignancy, a story to pass on.”---Romantic Times, four and a half stars

“Laugh-out--loud”—Atlanta Magazine Critic’s Pick


1. How did you get this idea for this book? Please describe how the book grew from a glimmer of an idea into a whole novel.

I was in what I call “the hospice” stage of being single. I was in my mid-40s and after years of being divorced I honestly never thought I’d ever get married again.

There was this fellow named David I’d run into now and again but he could never remember my name and seemed utterly indifferent toward me.

Then I checked out this fabulous book from the library called The Crimson Petal and the White . I devoured the 800-word novel post haste and when I got to the end, I discovered a receipt with the name of the last person who checked it out. It was Mr. Indifference himself!

I ran into him again and mentioned that we’d checked out the same book. For the first time, ever, he finally took notice of me. We chatted enthusiastically, started dating, and yes, dear reader, I married him.

While our courtship was going on I was writing Dollar Daze: Bottom Dollar Girls in Love. My personal life kept bleeding into the manuscript. Everyone in the book was falling in love. It was like Cupid spiked the water of Cayboo Creek S.C. the setting for Dollar Daze. One of my characters, a proper Southern widow named Gracie Tobias, hooks up with the love-of-her-life via a library book.

2. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Learn about the business. Read Publisher’s Weekly and Publisher’s Marketplace. Join list serves and forums with other writers. Go to conferences and chat up authors, agents and editors.

3. What's your writing day like? Any tips or tricks for getting organized?

I journal in a notebook first thing in the morning. It’s like a warm up for the real writing , and I get out all of the kvetching and set my goals for the day. Then I run because physical activity helps me work out any thorny plot issues I might be having.

Then I get burn incense, chant and perform a top-secret writing ritual that I simply cannot disclose ( hint: It involves diet coke, whiskey and peanut M&Ms.)

All right. I’m lying. I procrastinate by reading other writers’ blogs and then I face the laptop. Every time I manage to eek out a page I get to check my email. After thoroughly perusing all the ads for Ciali in my inbox, I go back to writing. I’m constantly doing a word count check because as soon as I hit 1,000 I’m done for the day. This is usually happens between three and five p.m., hopefully in time to watch for happy hour.

4. What's been the most exciting thing about publishing? The most frustrating?

Getting fan mail is really exciting. Also once James Woods, the actor, called me at home expressing interest in my first novel. That was damned exciting! (He ended up optioning it.) The most frustrating thing is waiting. Waiting to get published, waiting for checks, waiting for the Pulitzer. (Maybe that will be a looong wait!)

5. Do you think you might write a follow-up to this book? If not, what else is in the works?
I co-wrote a novel with Jill Conner Browne (aka the Sweet Potato Queen) called The Sweet Potato Queen’s First Big-Ass Novel: Stuff We Didn’t Actually Do But Could Have and May Yet which will come out in January 2007. Then I have another novel that will be out in 2007 called Earthly Pleasures about a greeter in Heaven who crosses the dimension to be with her lover on Earth. I also have a short story in This Is Chick Lit.

I’m not sure if I’ll write another Bottom Dollar Girl book yet. That question can only be answered by the publishing gods.

Thank you so much, Karin! Karin's book is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your best bet, Booksense.