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Inspired Correspondent
Bethanne
Posts: 495
Registered: ‎10-24-2008

Mary Kay Andrews, June 29-July 3

A great big 'ol Center Stage welcome to Mary Kay Andrews, whose new novel THE FIXER-UPPER is a delicious summertime read. 

 

Mary Kay Andrews is the author of the New York Times bestselling SAVANNAH BREEZE and BLUE CHRISTMAS, (HarperCollins) as well as HISSY FIT, LITTLE BITTY LIES and SAVANNAH BLUES, all HarperPerennial.  
 
A former reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, she wrote ten critically acclaimed mysteries, including the Callahan Garrity mystery series, under her "real" name, which is Kathy Hogan Trocheck.  
 
A native of St. Petersburg, Florida (and a diplomat of the Maas Bros. Department Store School of Charm), she started her professional journalism career in Savannah, Georgia, where she covered the real-life murder trials which were the basis of MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL.  
 
As a lifelong "junker" the author claims to know the location of every promising thrift store, flea market and junkpile in the Southeastern United States, plus many parts of Ohio.  
 
She has a B.A. in newspaper journalism from The University of Georgia (go Dawgs!), and is a frequent lecturer and writing teacher at workshops including Emory University, The University of Georgia's Harriet Austin Writer's Workshop, the Tennessee Mountain Writer's Workshop and the Antioch Writer's Workshop. Her mysteries have been nominated for the Edgar, Anthony, Agatha and Macavity Awards.  
 
Married for 30 years to her high school sweetheart, Tom, she is the mother of 24-year-old Katie Abel and 20-year-old Andrew. After a three-year hiatus in Raleigh,NC, she and her husband recently moved back to their old neighborhood in Atlanta, where they will live in a 1926 Craftsman bungalow.    

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Inspired Correspondent
Bethanne
Posts: 495
Registered: ‎10-24-2008
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Re: Mary Kay Andrews, June 29-July 3

Good morning, all! I'm looking forward to starting this week's Center Stage discussion with Mary Kay Andrews. THE FIXER UPPER, which I've finished, is absolutely charming -- a fast-paced, funny, and tender novel that will make the perfect addition to your beach bag. 

 

Here's my first question for MKA: How did you learn so much about home renovation? Does this book have any basis in your own remodeling experience?

 

Can't wait to hear from other readers of MKA's work, and from the author herself. Until soon!

 

Bethanne 

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Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Mary Kay Andrews, June 29-July 3

I've had this visit marked on my calendar -- I've been a big fan of Mary Kay Andrews ever since her first book came out, and I've read everything she's written. Well, except this one -- I've got my copy, but haven't had a chance to read it yet. Hopefully I'll have time to finish it before the end of her visit!
Inspired Correspondent
Bethanne
Posts: 495
Registered: ‎10-24-2008
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Re: Mary Kay Andrews, June 29-July 3


becke_davis wrote:
I've had this visit marked on my calendar -- I've been a big fan of Mary Kay Andrews ever since her first book came out, and I've read everything she's written. Well, except this one -- I've got my copy, but haven't had a chance to read it yet. Hopefully I'll have time to finish it before the end of her visit!
Hi, Becke -- glad you had this date marked. Can't wait to chat with Mary Kay Andrews. Start reading...I think you'll love it.
Bethanne 

 

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Author
Mary_Kay_Andrews
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎06-03-2009
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Re: Mary Kay Andrews, June 29-July 3

Hi Bethanne. Thanks for having me on CenterStage. I'm somewhat of a serial remodeller--which is definitely reflected in THE FIXER UPPER. My husband and I have remodelled a series of Craftsman bungalows in Atlanta and Raleigh, and just finished remodelling a beach house on Tybee Island, Georgia. We bought the house, which we christened The Breeze Inn, after the motel in my novel SAVANNAH BREEZE, last June, and have spent the past year making it liveable. It's a vintage 1943 concrete block two-story home. When we bought it, it was totally dilapidated; rat-infested, crumbling linoleum floors, plywood partitions, a disastrous kitchen and nasty bathrooms--not to mention the three refrigerators on the back porch. We gutted it down to the concrete block, putting in all new energy efficient windows, insulation (there wasn't any!), heat and air, all new plumbing and wiring, and a new kitchen and bathrooms. We put down reclaimed heart pine floors, and used salv aged vintage doors and hardware, a vintage claw-foot tub and kitchen sink, ect. Then we furnished the house with vintage furnishings and accessories I'd been hoarding for the past five years. It hasn't all been sunshine and lollipops, but at least, unlike Dempsey Killebrew in THE FIXER UPPER, I didn't have the FBI after me.

 


Bethanne wrote:

Good morning, all! I'm looking forward to starting this week's Center Stage discussion with Mary Kay Andrews. THE FIXER UPPER, which I've finished, is absolutely charming -- a fast-paced, funny, and tender novel that will make the perfect addition to your beach bag. 

 

Here's my first question for MKA: How did you learn so much about home renovation? Does this book have any basis in your own remodeling experience?

 

Can't wait to hear from other readers of MKA's work, and from the author herself. Until soon!

 

Bethanne 


 

Inspired Correspondent
Bethanne
Posts: 495
Registered: ‎10-24-2008
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Re: Mary Kay Andrews, June 29-July 3

Welcome, Mary Kay! So glad you're here; let me know if I can do anything to make your Center Stage visit more comfortable. See? I'm learning a thing or two from Southern ladies like you and your character Dempsey...

 

Bethanne

 

PS: More questions coming VERY soon from me! 

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Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Mary Kay Andrews, June 29-July 3


Mary_Kay_Andrews wrote:

Hi Bethanne. Thanks for having me on CenterStage. I'm somewhat of a serial remodeller--which is definitely reflected in THE FIXER UPPER. My husband and I have remodelled a series of Craftsman bungalows in Atlanta and Raleigh, and just finished remodelling a beach house on Tybee Island, Georgia. We bought the house, which we christened The Breeze Inn, after the motel in my novel SAVANNAH BREEZE, last June, and have spent the past year making it liveable. It's a vintage 1943 concrete block two-story home. When we bought it, it was totally dilapidated; rat-infested, crumbling linoleum floors, plywood partitions, a disastrous kitchen and nasty bathrooms--not to mention the three refrigerators on the back porch. We gutted it down to the concrete block, putting in all new energy efficient windows, insulation (there wasn't any!), heat and air, all new plumbing and wiring, and a new kitchen and bathrooms. We put down reclaimed heart pine floors, and used salv aged vintage doors and hardware, a vintage claw-foot tub and kitchen sink, ect. Then we furnished the house with vintage furnishings and accessories I'd been hoarding for the past five years. It hasn't all been sunshine and lollipops, but at least, unlike Dempsey Killebrew in THE FIXER UPPER, I didn't have the FBI after me.

 


Bethanne wrote:

Good morning, all! I'm looking forward to starting this week's Center Stage discussion with Mary Kay Andrews. THE FIXER UPPER, which I've finished, is absolutely charming -- a fast-paced, funny, and tender novel that will make the perfect addition to your beach bag. 

 

Here's my first question for MKA: How did you learn so much about home renovation? Does this book have any basis in your own remodeling experience?

 

Can't wait to hear from other readers of MKA's work, and from the author herself. Until soon!

 

Bethanne 


 


Just reading about the Breeze Inn makes me think of sultry summer nights spent sitting on the porch, sipping a. . .mint julep? What do people drink on Tybee Island? Mary Kay, I read a book last year that sounded like a gardening book but it was really about rehabbing an old house. You might like it:

The $64 Tomato  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We once lived in a 100-year-old house that needed massive work -- it would have been easier to tear it down and start from scratch. I'm nervous that reading THE FIXER UPPER is going to bring back those memories -- watching Tom Hanks and Shelly Long in "The Money Pit" was a nerve-wracking experience!

 

So did you take out your frustrations by writing this book? Does killing off characters help with that? 

 

 

Distinguished Bibliophile
Paul_Hochman
Posts: 2,801
Registered: ‎03-23-2007
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Re: Mary Kay Andrews, June 29-July 3

Here's a recent video with Mary Kay. Enjoy!

 

 



Reader
HermionesFan
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎06-30-2009
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Re: Mary Kay Andrews, June 29-July 3

I am a big fan and really enjoyed The Fixer Upper, which I read last week on vacation in Corolla, North Carolina. 

 

Will you write any more novels about Weezie Foley?  My favorite was Blue Christmas, and I would love to read more about Weezie and her friends.

 

 

Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Mary Kay Andrews, June 29-July 3

Oh, I do hope we get more of Weezie! 

 

Thanks for posting that video, Paul -- Mary Kay, your home should be on one of those makeover TV shows! I love the pink chairs, the turquoise and white house -- it's just what I imagine an island beach house should look like, right down to the wicker furniture. How cool! I love the turquoise lamps that were, I think, next to the sofa. I'm sure it was a lot of hard work, but it certainly looks as if it was worth the effort!

 

I just finished the book I've been reading and this book is up next. I'm glad I saw the video first -- it has put me in the right frame of mind for it! 

Inspired Correspondent
Bethanne
Posts: 495
Registered: ‎10-24-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Mary Kay Andrews, June 29-July 3


HermionesFan wrote:

I am a big fan and really enjoyed The Fixer Upper, which I read last week on vacation in Corolla, North Carolina. 

 

Will you write any more novels about Weezie Foley?  My favorite was Blue Christmas, and I would love to read more about Weezie and her friends.

 

 


Hello there, HermionesFan. So glad you've read THE FIXER UPPER; wasn't it delightful? I was fascinated by Dempsey's clever remodeling ideas. Wish I had her eye and her stamina!
Bethanne 

 

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Author
Mary_Kay_Andrews
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎06-03-2009
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Re: Mary Kay Andrews, June 29-July 3

We drink gallons of sweet iced tea--and, oh yeah, lots of adult beverages. Your typical Tybee bike has a koozie wired to the handlebars to accomodate such beverages. In the summer I like vodka tonic, double lime. winter it's bourbon and water.

 


becke_davis wrote:
Just reading about the Breeze Inn makes me think of sultry summer nights spent sitting on the porch, sipping a. . .mint julep? What do people drink on Tybee Island? Mary Kay, I read a book last year that sounded like a gardening book but it was really about rehabbing an old house. You might like it:

The $64 Tomato  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We once lived in a 100-year-old house that needed massive work -- it would have been easier to tear it down and start from scratch. I'm nervous that reading THE FIXER UPPER is going to bring back those memories -- watching Tom Hanks and Shelly Long in "The Money Pit" was a nerve-wracking experience!

 

So did you take out your frustrations by writing this book? Does killing off characters help with that? 

 


 

Author
Mary_Kay_Andrews
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎06-03-2009
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Re: Mary Kay Andrews, June 29-July 3

Don't tell anybody, but yes, I'm working on another installment of the Savannah books with Weezie and BeBe.

 


HermionesFan wrote:

I am a big fan and really enjoyed The Fixer Upper, which I read last week on vacation in Corolla, North Carolina. 

 

Will you write any more novels about Weezie Foley?  My favorite was Blue Christmas, and I would love to read more about Weezie and her friends.

 

 


 

Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Mary Kay Andrews, June 29-July 3


Mary_Kay_Andrews wrote:

Don't tell anybody, but yes, I'm working on another installment of the Savannah books with Weezie and BeBe.

 


HermionesFan wrote:

I am a big fan and really enjoyed The Fixer Upper, which I read last week on vacation in Corolla, North Carolina. 

 

Will you write any more novels about Weezie Foley?  My favorite was Blue Christmas, and I would love to read more about Weezie and her friends.

 

 


 


Hurray! Is it too early to hint at the title or release date?

 

Inspired Correspondent
Bethanne
Posts: 495
Registered: ‎10-24-2008
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Re: Mary Kay Andrews, June 29-July 3

Happy Tuesday, Mary Kay! Let's talk about Dempsey's "ornery cousin." (Please forgive me for not even attempting to remember her name; I am working from a coffee shop today and don't have the book here with me!) I loved that character. Did she always live in the house (i.e., when you began writing), or did she "pop up" as the plot progressed? I found the idea of someone older, frightened of change, but still gutsy and caring (at least to her dog) to be a wonderful contrast to Dempsey.

 

Bethanne 

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New User
pkiessling
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎06-30-2009
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Re: Mary Kay Andrews, June 29-July 3

I think The Fixer Upper is one of your best books to date - and I have read all of them.  I loved the Savannah books because I live in Savannah, but I was born and raised in Atlanta, so your other books appeal to me too.  I'm hoping to see you in Tybee to have my book autographed.  Keep 'em coming!
Author
Mary_Kay_Andrews
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎06-03-2009
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Re: Mary Kay Andrews, June 29-July 3

Hi Bethanne. Ella Kate is one of my favorite characters. I found her name in the obituary page of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution! The real Ella Kate's last name was Pickleshimer, so I didn't use that, although I loved it. I knew an elderly relative would be squatting in Birdsong, but I didn't really know much about her until Dempsey encountered Ella Kate while she was walking Shorty. Once Dempsey and I got a first look at her--she started to come to life. I originally planned to have her leave the house, but that's before I knew just how entrenched and determined an old lady she was.
 

 


Bethanne wrote:

Happy Tuesday, Mary Kay! Let's talk about Dempsey's "ornery cousin." (Please forgive me for not even attempting to remember her name; I am working from a coffee shop today and don't have the book here with me!) I loved that character. Did she always live in the house (i.e., when you began writing), or did she "pop up" as the plot progressed? I found the idea of someone older, frightened of change, but still gutsy and caring (at least to her dog) to be a wonderful contrast to Dempsey.

 

Bethanne 


 

Inspired Correspondent
Bethanne
Posts: 495
Registered: ‎10-24-2008
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Re: Mary Kay Andrews, June 29-July 3

Happy Holiday Friday, Center Stage visitors! I just wanted to stop by and remind you that today you still have the chance to talk to Mary Kay Andrews -- ask her a question, send her a comment, or just say "Hey!" 

 

Mary Kay, thank you for being part of Center Stage and for your delightful answers. Since it's a summertime Friday, I'll toast you with a virtual vodka with double lime (the sun is always over the yardarm somewhere...)

 

Bethanne 

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