Books keep coming my way lately, so here’s another good one, all about books!
Southern authors are definitely kindred to me, as they know and live the nuances that are so unique to the South. Today, I’m sharing a fun Q & A session with Mary Kay Andrews and Beth Hoffman, two Southern authors that know a thing or two about women’s literature and how to best speak to that audience. They both have brand new books out too!
I’m going to share some questions that they were asked to answer and some of their inspiration pics along the way too so that we get a peek inside their fun personalities and then we will have an exciting giveaway package and someone will win all 4 copies of the books listed below.
Won’t that be fun for summer reading?
How would you describe your decorating style?
MKA: Traditional cottage with a junky vibe. I love anything old, but it doesn’t have to be Louis or Chippendale–just worn and well-loved. Some people call my style cluttered. I prefer to think of myself as a hoarder with taste.
BH: My home is a 113-year-old Queen Anne, and my design style runs eclectic with a touch of the unexpected/whimsical. I’m crazy for unique animal accessories, crystal inkwells, and Chinese blue-and-white porcelain. My home is on the formal side, but it’s important that I don’t take my designs too seriously.
When it comes to shopping for your home, what store is your “happy place?”
MKA: If I’m buying “new” I love Home Goods or T.J. Maxx or Marshall’s. The only new furniture in Ebbtide, my Tybee Island beach house, is a pair of armchairs bought at two different T.J.s in two different towns.
BH: If I’m junking I’ll watch for weekend flea markets or estate sales, but if I’m on the hunt for architectural salvage, my first stop is always The Wooden Nickel in Cincinnati; they have everything from rare stained-glass windows to antique door knobs.
Do you have a plan of attack when you go shopping or junking?
MKA: Sometimes. I have a pretty practiced eye and I can sweep an estate sale or yard sale and tell quickly if the seller’s taste is my taste. If I see something I might like, I always pick it up immediately, because somebody else will surely grab it if I don’t. I’ll do a quick run-through of a house or an antique mall or dealer’s booth, scanning the offerings, and then go back a second time, to make sure I didn’t miss something.
BH: The fun thing about antiquing and junking is that it’s unpredictable. I’ll often come home with something entirely different than what I was looking for. Not long ago I went on a mission to find a dictionary stand and came home with a carousel horse!
What stylists or decorators do you admire?
MKA: I love Barclay Butera’s use of blue and white and beachy themes, and Atlanta decorators Phoebe Howard and Suzanne Kasler do gorgeous, timeless rooms–although I could never be as spare as they are. But I think Bunny Williams always does pretty rooms, and i love pretty.
BH: Charlotte Moss has gorgeous taste and a flair for detail, and I love the eclectic style of Jackye Lanham.
What lifestyle and decorating blogs and websites do you visit regularly?
MKA: Southern Hospitality, of course, but I also love to read Joni Webb’s Cote de Texas blog to see what designer’s work she’s showcasing, and I really admire Miss Mustard Seed for her willingness to tackle just about any decorating project. Pretty Handy Girl helps scratch my DIY itch, and I always love to see what Layla is up to over at The Lettered Cottage.
BH: I often visit Absolutely Beautiful Things, and Southern Hospitality is a favorite (love the DIY Gallery). And I always find something of interest on This Old House.
What home and hearth print publications do you read?
MKA: I subscribe to House Beautiful, Country Living, Coastal Living and Southern Living, and if I see a magazine with the word COTTAGE in the title, I buy it.
BH: My go-to magazines are Veranda, Architectural Digest, and Southern Living.
What advice would you give to someone who is looking to infuse their own personality into their space?
MKA: Use the colors you love, even if they aren’t trendy. Accessorize with things that are meaningful to you–frame a child’s poem or drawing, hang a treasured grandmother’s straw hat where you can see it, pick up mementos when you travel. Don’t be afraid to be playful–a little kitsch can be fun.
BH: Display the things you love in creative ways—hang a vintage door knocker on a wall above a painting, take your great-aunt’s lace-edged pillowcase, stuff it with a down-filled pillow form and turn the lace-edge over to create envelope. Accessorizing is personal, but for the best results it’s important to keep scale, balance, and textures in mind.
Do you have any tips/tricks for junking and decorating to share?
MKA: Have a shopping list–at least in your head, and carry measurements and a tape measure in your purse or car. Make friends with the dealers who run estate sales. They love frequent flyers, aka repeat offenders, and if you’re friendly and not pushy–and you ask quietly and discreetly, frequently they’ll make you a deal. If you see a piece you love on the first day of the sale, but it’s beyond your price, ask the dealer if you can leave a bid with your phone number.
BH: Never leave home without a tape measure and fabric swatches of your upholstery. If you’re on the hunt for a large case piece like an armoire or bookcase, make sure you’ve double-checked the measurements of your doorways and stairwells before you buy!
What is your favorite room in your home and why?
MKA: It’s not the prettiest room in my house, that would probably be my guest bedroom. But my favorite room is the sun room off our living room. I curl up on the sofa there with my laptop and write. It’s sunny and cozy, with bookshelves in case I need a diversion. My own little hidey-hole.
BH: Each room in my home is special to me … well, except for the basement. If I had to pick just one, it would be my writing library. I spend a good ten hours a day in this room and the design makes me happy: I’m surrounded by things I love: books, art, and animal accessories, and the room has good energy and wonderful natural light.
How do you work your love of decorating into your novels?
MKA: It just seems to seep in! I’ve written characters who were antique dealers, pickers and interior designers and florists, but I’ve also written stories with protagonists who are lawyers or school teachers or soft drink marketers or bankers. Usually there’s at least a touch of what my former editor called “decorator porn.”
BH: Before my career as a novelist I was an interior designer, so my love antiques and architecture is a big part of who I am. It’s in my blood and organic to my writing.
Aside from each other’s work, have you read any good books lately you’d care to recommend?
MKA: I’ve been raving about Anna Quindlen’s STILL LIFE WITH BREAD CRUMBS, and THE DIVORCE PAPERS, a first novel by Susan Rieger.
BH: I loved Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger, and Willem’s Field by Melinda Haynes was a terrific read.
What is your favorite fictional home in literature?
MKA: I wouldn’t want to live at Manderley, the fictional Cornwall estate of Daphne duMaurier’s Rebecca, but I’ve always been fascinated with Manderley, and in fact once visited the town close to the house that supposedly inspired duMaurier. I’d love to see study with the fireplace where Maxim deWinter stared moodily into the fire with his beloved dog at his feet, or see regal oil painting of Rebecca that so intimidates the poor nameless narrator of the story.
BH: One of my favorite poems is A Room in the Past by Ted Kooser. His description of his grandmother’s kitchen takes my breath away. Here’s a few lines: “A kitchen falling through time with its things in their places, the dishes jingling up in the cupboard, the bucket of drinking water rippled as if a truck had just gone past, but that truck was thirty years.”
Wasn’t that a fun interview with Mary Kay and Beth? Now for the fun part! See all those books displayed below? Those will all be given away in a set to some fortunate person.
All you have to do is leave a comment telling me what your favorite thing to shop for in vintage shops would be? Collections? Dishware? Furniture? What is it that gets your pulse racing?
Note: This is a sponsored post by the author’s publishing houses.