Monday, July 6, 2015

Author Kristy Woodson Harvey – Taking Advice From Characters

Dear Carolina by Kristy Woodson Harvey - Thoughts in ProgressIt’s a sheer delight to welcome a fellow Southerner and author Kristy Woodson Harvey to Thoughts in Progress today.

Kristy joins us to talk about her debut novel, DEAR CAROLINA. This a heartwarming story you won’t be able to resist. Here’s a brief synopsis of it:

One baby girl.
Two strong Southern women.
And the most difficult decision they’ll ever make.

Frances “Khaki” Mason has it all: a thriving interior design career, a
loving husband and son, homes in North Carolina and Manhattan—everything except the second child she has always wanted. Jodi, her husband’s nineteen-year-old cousin, is fresh out of rehab, pregnant, and alone. Although the two women couldn’t seem more different, they forge a lifelong connection as Khaki reaches out to Jodi, encouraging her to have her baby.

But as Jodi struggles to be the mother she knows her daughter deserves, she will ask Khaki the ultimate favor…

Written to baby Carolina, by both her birth mother and her adoptive one, this is a story that proves that life circumstances shape us but don’t define us—and that families aren’t born, they’re made…

Now please join me in giving Kristy a warm welcome as she talks about taking advice from one’s characters. Kristy, welcome.

I never thought I’d be taking advice from my own characters. But, sometimes, you end up writing what you need to hear the most. Recently, a friend of mine made me these amazing printable quotes from DEAR CAROLINA to share with readers. They were some of her favorite takeaways from the story. 

One of those quotes is from Khaki, the adoptive mother in the story’s, Dad. He tells her, “The only thing to do in life is to be open. You have to keep saying yes.”

Daddy Masons quoteI’ve reminded myself of that more than a few times over the past several months. Because, you see, when this dream of getting to be a published author finally came true, I promised myself that I would give it my all. I thought that might involve getting out of my comfort zone a bit. But I was going to keep saying yes no matter what.

So, for example, when someone asked me, seven months ago, to speak to a crowd coming into town, it was easy to say, “Sure, I would love to.”

It was easy because it seemed so very far away. The day before the talk, on the other hand, it didn’t seem like quite as good of an idea. In fact, it seemed like a terrible one! The thoughts of having to stand up there in front of all those people and talk about anything—even this book that I loved so much—suddenly seemed terrifying.
Jodis quote 
But I thought of Daddy Mason. He would have said to do it anyway. He would have said to face the fear because that’s how we find out all the best things in life.

And so, I put on my bravest smile, swallowed hard, and got behind that podium.

And you know what? It wasn’t bad. In fact, after the first minute or two, it was kind of fun. They laughed in all the right places, smiled attentively. A minute or so after that I found that I wasn’t even using my notes any more. 

And, when it was over, as relieved as I felt about the idea of getting down off of that stage, I felt even more relieved when they asked if I could please read them a little bit of the story too. 

Khakis quoteThis wonderful group of people were so complimentary about my little talk, which, without a doubt, will make it exponentially easier to get up on that stage the next time and the next and the time after that. And almost every person in that group bought a copy of DEAR CAROLINA, which, of course, is the best compliment you could possibly pay a writer. The sight of all those copies of my brand new book in all of those hands filled me with pride. It was a moment I had dreamed of since I first thought of writing a book. 

And I smiled to myself realizing that that moment made me think of another one of those quotes from the book. It’s a moment when Buddy looks at Jodi, the birth mother in the story, and says, “Sometimes, you can’t make a dream come true all by yourself.”

Buddys quote Kristy, thanks for dropping by today and sharing this look at Dear Carolina. I love the quotes that were pulled from the book. They say so much about life.

Now here’s what some others are saying about this intriguing novel.

“Kristy Woodson Harvey weaves a story around characters with rich, complicated lives we all identify with…beautifully shows how a family comes to be.  Not only by blood, but also by choice.” -- New York Times Bestselling Author Jodi Thomas

"A story of motherhood told by two mothers of the same child, DEAR CAROLINA is Southern fiction at its best. Lovely and lyrical, with the strong voices of the two female narrators taking us deep into the heart of what being a mother is about. It shows us that love is not without sacrifice, and there’s little in life that doesn’t go down easier with a spoonful of jam. Beautifully written." -- New York Times Bestselling Author Eileen Goudge

Here’s a bit of background on Kristy.

Kristy Woodson Harvey is the author of Dear Carolina. She blogs at Design Chic about how creating a beautiful home can be the catalyst for creating a beautiful life and loves connecting with readers at

She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's school of journalism and holds a Master's in English from East Carolina University. She is a regular contributor for The Salisbury Post, Domino magazine and Houzz. 

She lives in North Carolina with her husband and three-year-old son.


Thanks so much for stopping by during Kristy’s visit. Have you wrote letters to your children (whether or not they are adopted) telling about their birth or early years? What are your thoughts on this idea?


  1. A character who give you advice you are ready and able to take is real. Who can ask for more?
    This sounds a truly heart-warming book. Thank you Mason, and thank you Kristy.

    1. Elephant's Child, this is a heartwarming story that will have you laughing and crying, but mostly smiling from beginning to end.

  2. You need to listen to your characters more often then! And very cool so many people purchased a book. Congratulations, Kristy.
    And Mason, thanks for featuring my latest in your sidebar!

    1. Alex, it's always my pleasure to let readers know about your amazing books.

  3. Kristy, thanks again for joining us. I so enjoyed this look at how both the birth mother and adoptive mother work to make life special for this baby. Wishing you much success.

  4. See, speaking in front of others isn't so bad!

  5. Mason - Thanks for hosting Kristy.

    Kristy - Thanks for sharing your experiences. Public speaking is one of the top fears people have. I'm glad you conquered your nerves, and I wish you much success.

  6. Thank you so much for having me today, Mason, and for letting me share with your amazing readers! It was such an honor! Your support of Dear Carolina means the world to me! xo Kristy

  7. I think it's a great idea and I've just started writing notes to my children. I started journals for each of my grandchildren before they were born and add pictures (first one was the sonogram) and add comments about what they are doing and of course tell them how much they are loved.

  8. Sounds like a great story! Love the quotes!! :)

  9. Great quotes. And how wonderful to host a fellow writer from your own neck of the woods.

  10. This book sounds fascinating. Good to meet you. The quotes are a great idea!

    Mason, thanks for hosting her.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.