Chick Lit

As many North Carolinians know, a lot of our favorite authors come from the South. There is something about our state that inspires writing; perhaps it’s the lush mountains, the relaxing beaches or the buzzing Triangle area. We caught up with six Southern writers who call the Triangle home, and who attribute the area to their success.

Many of these writers are well-established and have series of books that can be found at your local bookstore, and others are about to release a debut book. Make sure to have a pen in your hand, because you will want to make a list for your next library run.

Diane Chamberlain
After living in both New Jersey and San Diego, Chamberlain is happy to call North Carolina her home. Serving as the setting for many of her novels, she says that North Carolina provides her with the perfect combination of inspiration and contentment. Residing in the Raleigh area, Diane enjoys attending local book signings and frequents Quail Ridge Books & Music  and local book clubs.

In her newest novel, Necessary Lies, Chamberlain creates a world in which her characters must choose between what is right and what is easy. Set in rural Grace County, North  Carolina 50 years ago, this novel documents the lives of the Hart family and a local social worker who is desperately needed to help them overcome struggles. The book hits shelves in September, but has been previewed by some readers who won an early edition. “Captive,” “compelling,” “heartbreaking” and “beautifully written” are among the descriptions these readers have given the novel.

Lisa Springsteel
While New York tends to be the most well-known fashion hub in the U.S., Springsteel brings the industry to the Triangle with her nonfiction book titled, Becoming a Fashion Designer. Springsteel has lived many places, but she calls Cary her home and in July, graced the Barnes & Noble in Cary for her book signing.

Serving as a great how-to book for aspiring fashion designers, Springsteel provides interviews with top designers, inside knowledge about the industry and guidance on how to stand out from the rest in Becoming a Fashion Designer. Released in April, many readers have stated they wish this book existed when they were in college, as it provides all the necessary information a textbook couldn’t even begin to cover. This book is considered a “Fashion Bible” by reviewers, and a required reading for those who wish to enter the industry.

Rysa Walker
Rysa Walker had been eager to move back to the Triangle after a period of living in Washington D.C., and said, “The schools here were a strong draw for us. When my husband found a job in Cary in 2006, we decided to make the move. I shifted to teaching my college courses online so that I could work from home, and we regained our sanity.” Her novel, Timebound, isn’t set in North Carolina, but she attributes its completion to the relaxed pace of living that North Carolina offers.

Timebound, set to hit stores in October, explores time travel, history, family dynamics and science fiction as it follows 17-year-old Kate through the  discovery of her time travel genetics.

Explaining her inspiration for the story, Walker said, “As I was thinking one day, I couldn’t help but wonder if a time-traveling historian would be content to just observe. I suspect there would be a very strong temptation to tweak a few things.”

Walker, which is the pen name used by writer Cheryl Walniuk, won the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Grand Prize early this summer for Timebound, and was awarded a publishing contract.

Walker said, “Winning the grand prize means that I can take this year off from teaching and write full-time, something that I simply couldn’t have managed otherwise.”

With all of this time to write, Walker hopes to have another novel out soon to add to the CHRONOS series, which includes Timebound.

Carrie Knowles
What can we say? Carrie loves Cary. Director of the Cary Cross Currents Festival and a Raleigh resident of 35 years, Knowles says she enjoys the short travel distance to the Raleigh Farmer’s Market.

She made an appearance in May for the “Crazy Ladies Tour” at  Barnes & Noble in Cary.

Alongside her was fellow author Peggy Payne, who has given praise to one of Knowles’ five novels, Lillian’s Garden. Knowles says she enjoys attending book clubs to speak about her novels and can be contacted through her website.

Lillian’s Garden was released in April and has received praise calling its writing “gorgeously rich and sensuous.” With the phrase, “Devils in the hidden silences of their lives,” one can prepare for a tale full of secrets, family, betrayal and redemption.

Knowles’  latest novel, Ashoan’s Rug,  hits bookshelves in September. Described as “a literary magic carpet ride,” this novel weaves together 10 story lines and takes readers on the long journey of a rug, showing  how artwork can change lives.

Suzy Barile
Suzy Barile, a writer and teacher, has called North Carolina home since 1971. After attending UNC-Chapel Hill for undergraduate studies and N.C. State for graduate studies, she now teaches at Wake Technical Community College.

Barile attended the Local Author Showcase at the Morrisville Public Library in July and in October  is scheduled to attend the Raleigh Newcomers Club Alumni.

She said, “I often present programs about (Undaunted Heart) and visit book clubs, where members have read it and always have thought-provoking questions.”

Undaunted Heart: The True Story of a Southern Belle & a Yankee General is Barile’s first book and is a nonfiction telling of Ella Swain and General Smith Atkins’ unlikely love affair.

Barile said, “I grew up hearing the story of how my great-great grandparents met and married, but not until I found a stash of letters my great-great grandmother wrote to her parents after she wed did I learn much about the couple’s life together. The letters prompted me to research them and learn all I could. It was a fascinating journey!”

Margaret Maron
Magaret Maron is what we like to call a born and bred Southerner. A self-proclaimed farm girl from Greensboro, Maron recalls working in the tobacco fields. Although she considered it a good experience, she says she is much happier writing, with almost 30 mystery novels under her belt.

When asked her favorite thing about living in North Carolina, Maron says the people. The residents serve as the inspiration for her novels and are one of the reasons she is happy to be nestled in the South. In her Deborah Knott series, Maron says she enjoys sending her main character to the mountains and the coast of North Carolina because she can expose the state as a post-agrarian culture as it turns into a tech hub.

Maron’s newest novel is part of the Deborah Knott series, which is comprised of 17 other novels. The Buzzard’s Table follows Judge Knott as she heads home to South Carolina and joins forces with Sigrid Harald (from Maron’s other series) to catch a killer. In this book there are two murders — a pilot at a local airport and a real estate agent. Are the two deaths connected?

The Buzzard’s Table was released in 2012, and The New York Times as described it as “One of Margaret Maron’s smartly written mysteries.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *