(We have a copy of Karen’s book The House on Tradd Street to give away. Just leave a comment relevant to this post to be entered)

Growing up, I was a voracious reader, but it’s a miracle that I ever picked up my first book. Despite the occasional birthday or Christmas gift (I still remember receiving Little House in the Big Woods one Christmas when I was very small, and immediately disappearing into my room to read), I didn’t have access to a lot of books. My mother never read for pleasure, and my father always read dry non-fiction books about business and politics. It wasn’t until I accompanied a friend to the local library that I became aware of the magical world of books. The wonderful librarian gave me my first Nancy Drew and a few other age-appropriate books to whet my appetite and I was hooked. I couldn’t quite believe that I could check out any of the thousands of books, and take them home to read all for FREE!

That was just the beginning. I soon devoured all the books I could in the very small school library and was constantly hounding my mother to take me to the public library to get my next ‘fix’. She made the mistake once of waiting outside for me while I ‘returned a few books’–not understanding in ‘reader-speak’ that what I intended to do was then browse the stacks for my next pile of books to bring home. She never made that mistake again.

When I was in 7th grade, we moved to London, England. The public library was a good distance from my home–but there was a little bookshop about two blocks from where we lived that I began to frequent. I soon found a place to spend all of my allowance and baby-sitting money, and never regretted a penny of it. I still have those books, too, on my bookshelf–Jeffrey Archer, Susan Howatch, Victoria Holt, Rosemary Rogers and Katherine Woodiwiss among others. Those books were my friends during the difficult days of my adolescence, and I still turn to reading when I need a break from life, and I will be forever grateful to the wonderful librarian who first showed me the magical world of books.

When I got to college, I didn’t have time for reading for pleasure anymore. I was busy with school (I was a business major) and with the first social life I’d ever had. I found I didn’t ‘need’ my books so much and proceeded to graduate, then move to Washington, DC for my first real job. I worked long hours, and got engaged–and had even less time to read. I missed my books, and even bought a few and read them, but not with the same passion I’d had when I was younger.

It wasn’t until I had my first baby and became a stay-at-home mom that I rediscovered my passion for books–and it all started with a flyer from a catalog book club I belonged to. I read the description for a book called OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon and was intrigued. I quickly ordered it and as soon as it arrived, I started reading it. And couldn’t stop.

I’d take my kids to the park and put them in the swings and proceed to push them for hours, holding open the thick book with my other hand (I think I developed carpal tunnel syndrome from that book!). When the screams of the children to let them off the swings became too loud , I’d go home, make dinner, then curl into a chair to read some more. And before I was done (in a record 3 days) I’d already ordered the rest of the series.

I’d rediscovered the magic of reading with this one book, and I haven’t stopped since. It was the feeling that came over me while reading it that inspired me to sit down and try to write my first book.

Now that my ninth novel has been published and I’m contracted for three more books, I don’t have as much time to read anymore. But I’m determined not to let all those books pass me by as I did before! I’ve discovered the joys of listening to books on CD in my car as I’m driving my children around. Now, instead of listening to them complain about being in a swing forever, I happily turn a deaf ear to their adolescent whinings about having to listen to another one of my books in the car. Hey, I gave birth to them–I’m allowed.

Karen White is the award-winning author of nine published novels, with books 10 and 11 due out in 2009 and 12 and 13 in 2010. She writes ‘grit-lit’–Southern Women’s Fiction–for Penguin Publishing. Her latest release, THE HOUSE ON TRADD STREET is the first in a new series; the sequel will be out in November, 2009. Karen lives outside Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, two children, and spoiled Havanese dog, Quincy. Quincy can be seen incognito as the dog General Lee in THE HOUSE ON TRADD STREET.

About The House on Tradd Street: An old man whom practical-minded Charleston real estate agent Melanie Middleton met only days ago has died, leaving Melanie his historic Tradd Street home, complete with housekeeper, dog–and a family of ghosts anxious to tell her their secrets.

Enter Jack Trenholm, a writer who believes the diamonds that went missing from the Confederate Treasury more than a century ago are hidden in Melanie’s new home. He decides to turn on the charm with the new tenant, only to discover that he’s suddenly the smitten one.

It seems Jack’s search has caught the attention of a possibly malevolent ghostly presence. Now Jack and Melanie must unravel a mystery of passion, heartbreak, and even murder.

Again, leave a relevant comment to be entered to win!

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28 Responses to “Saturdays in the Nook with Karen White!”

  1. Margay Says:

    Karen, I feel so bad for you! When I was growing up, I was surrounded by books – I couldn’t get enough of them! Whenever we got the Scholastic order form in school, we got books, whenever the bookmobile came around, we got books. My mother even ordered them from Reader’s Digest. And of course, there was the library, one of my favorite places to hang out. So, for me, I think it was inevitable that I ended up writing my own books.

  2. Karen White Says:

    Hi, Margay–

    It all worked out in the end for me; now I’m threatening the lives of my family with a book avalanche from all the books I own!

    And I made up for my lack of books as a child with my own children—they always ahd more books than toys and they’re still readers (both are in high school now).

  3. Darlene Says:

    Thank God Karen that you did pick up a love for books on your own. I was very lucky. My mom read to me from as early as I can remember and then I would read to her. I have fond memories of library trips and bringing home piles of books. I would love to be entered for a copy of this one.

  4. Sally Says:

    I was similar in that nobody else in my family was a reader. Thankfully, both my brother and I love books and reading despite that. We were library people. I still remember the long walks I used to take to get to the library as a kid. What would we have done without Nancy Drew? I remember my best friend had ALL of the books and we both read them! Thanks for your post Karen! I look forward to reading your books!

  5. Sheri Says:

    Karen, I’ve hear quite a bit about The House on Tradd Street and its unique blend of women’s fiction and mystery genres. It sounds like a really great book! I think it’s so great that you reconnected with your ‘inner reader’ and have also been inspired to write so many books! I myself was fortunate that my mother instilled a love of reading in me from an early age and filled the house with tons of books. However, with all of the reading I had to do in school and other activities taking up my time, I let reading for pleasure take a backseat. I’m so happy that in the past couple of years, I’ve started getting in touch with my love of reading again. That is also what inspired me to start my own book blog so I could have the opportunity to think about the books I’ve read and share a love of reading with others.

  6. Kelly B Says:

    I am so glad you found the wealth of books in the library! I was fortunate in that even though she wasn’t a big reader, my mom took me to the library and enrolled me in lots of book clubs growing up. I have never lost the taste for a good story, and a story of an old home with old ghosts mucking about!!!! Please enter me!

  7. Karen White Says:

    I’m on book tour for a week in the Charleston area right now (The House on Tradd Street is set here) and I brought along a huge stack of books from my TBR pile while I’m away from the stresses of home! Of course, there’s the matter of the sequel that I also need to be writing, but there should be time for both, right?

    My daughter loves books so much that I had a mural painted in her room of her favorite books/book quotes falling from the ceiling all over her walls. You can see the picture on my website (got to the photo page) at http://www.karen-white.com.

    Unfortunately, my daugher isn’t a library person–she wants to OWN her books. Even if she finds a book in the library,if she likes it she’ll go buy a copy. Just the kind of person authors really like.

  8. Colleen Says:

    Love this post. My mom was a big reader so I always had access to book, but I fondly remember the summer after 4th grade because I broke my ankle at the very beginning and so was allowed to spend my entire summer at the library instead of at camp. I worked my way alphabetically through the fiction stacks in air-conditioned splendor, saved from the humidity of a DC summer. I never lost that reading bug- thank goodness for liberal arts majors!

    The House on Tradd Street sounds great- please enter me in the contest.


  9. Julie Lessman Says:

    OMIGOSH, Karen — Susan Howatch and Victoria Holt were mainstays in my tall, tall bookmobile pile every month in grade school!! And Diana Gabaldon “literally” blew me away when I first read her, forcing me to hit the wall while writing my 3rd book because my writing sounded like sludge after reading hers. I am thrilled we have similar taste in books, which is no surprise after reading your work. I finally had to see what all the fuss was about regarding Karen White after several of my fellow writer friends at The Seekers blog (http://seekerville.blogspot.com/) bragged on you to no end. Well, they were right — I especially LOVED Falling Home, and would absolutely LOVE to win The House on Tradd Street, so please throw my hat in the ring. But win or buy, it’s on my TBR list!

    gsus at charter dot net

  10. Gina Says:

    My mum did the exact same thing and she never followed me to the library anymore! I could spend hours poring over the books and getting a headache choosing which lucky 8 books to borrow. (Each person can only borrow 4 so I took my mum’s card along too)

  11. ruth Says:

    Your wonderful post took me back to another place and time. Books were always in our house. My father and mother read and our home always had a treasure trove of books. I joined a library when I was young and started borrowing books immediately, walking there and then biking every few days for a new stash. My favorite and first reading was the entire Anne of Green Gables Series. I am a devoted library patron and enjoy frequent and regular trips there. Browsing through bookshops is something that appeals to me greatly.

  12. Cindi Says:

    I don’t remember being read to as a young child!
    I do remember ordering books from our book order that the school would give out! Agatha Christie is one of my favorite authors! I would appreciate being entered into your wonderful book giveaway drawing. Many thanks, Cindi

  13. Lori Barnes Says:

    I enjoyed the story of growing up reading, I liked to read when i was young but I never read after that it wasn’t until I lost my photography studio and became a stay at home mom before i found my love for reading and has turned on the extreme side to addiction lol!
    This book sounds like it has a little of everything and i would love to have my name in the drawing .Thanks!

  14. Anita Yancey Says:

    I share Karen’s love for books. I love to read, and have a hard time putting a book down once I start it. The House on Tradd Street sounds like a real winner, and I’d love the chance to read it. Please put my name in for the drawing of this book. Thanks.

  15. Kathy Says:

    What a great post. My mom’s a reader, so reading was always encouraged in my home. I loved reading to my son when he was young, and I can’t imagine not doing that with a child. Your book sounds wonderful. I’m living in South Carolina for the 3rd time, and sadly, I’ve never been to Charleston.

  16. Theresa N Says:

    Karen I’m glad you find time to write with the reading and the kids:) I’m very excited about The House on Tradd Street, it sounds wonderful and Charleston is my favorite city.
    Theresa N

  17. Karen White Says:

    It sounds to me as if a lot of you ladies need to make a trip to Charleston (especially you, Kathy since you LIVE in SC!).

    My daughter is an avid fan of Jane Austen’s and her license plate is MRSDRCY and she has a bumper sticker that reads “I’d rather be at Pemberley”. The apple sure didn’t fall from THAT tree!

    I think my greatest success as a parent is to have passed along my love of reading–and it seems like the rest of you have done a great job of it, too!

  18. Melissa Says:

    I can’t imagine growing up without books everywhere! I have always had books everywhere. My husband, who is not a reader, doesn’t understand but tolerates my many bookshelves. The library is such a wonderful resource. The House on Tradd Street looks wonderful! Thanks for the giveaway.

  19. Darby Lohrding Says:

    I love old houses and I love the mysteries that surround them…especially when there are ghosts and treasures involved!!! This book looks like a great read…one I’d probably devour like you did with your Christmas in the Woods book (what a great gift that was for you and to think you still remember it!).
    Thank you for this giveaway,
    darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

  20. Marcia Says:

    Libraries have always been my favorite places. As a child I walked to a local library on those endless summer days – and spent hours making my selections to the hum of an oscillating fan. My favorite books were always biographies. I started reading about people whose names were near the end of the alphabet, on the lower shelves. The librarian let me climb on a chair to read Clara Barton and Abigail Adams. I felt like I had conquered Everest!

    M.C. Forecki
    Better Than Magic

  21. booklogged Says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading Karen White’s post. She sounds like such a ‘down-to-earth’ person. I didn’t read much as a child even though my mother did read to us and I saw her reading often. I really started my love affair with words and reading in my thirties. Now I don’t go a day without reading.

    I love your daughter’s license plate and bumper sticker. I have some nieces that would love having those.

    I look forward to reading The House on Tradd Street.

  22. avisannschild Says:

    Great post! I can totally relate to devouring every book (whether age-appropriate or not) in the local library! I was definitely one of those kids. Although my parents did encourage me to read, we never had many books in our house for some reason. I’ve certainly made up for that as an adult!

    Thanks for this giveaway!

  23. Serena (Savvy Verse & Wit) Says:

    what a great guest post. I was a voracious reader at a young age as well.

    No need to enter me in the contest. I recently reviewed this book, here: http://savvyverseandwit.blogspot.com/2008/11/house-on-tradd-street-by-karen-white.html

  24. Becky C. Says:

    Iloved reading your comments. I too, have always, had a passion for reading and books! I love words!! I’m also a huge fan of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series!

    Please enter me in the contest.

    Thank you,

    Becky C.

  25. Judith L. Says:

    i learned to read at age 4, and from the time i was old enough to have my own Library Card i was a goner….books have been There for me for 53 years and will be until i no longer am..i am also real good at grammar LOL

    i would love to win a copy of The House on Tradd Street


  26. Jenn Says:

    I remember as a little girl, being sent to my room when I was bad. I was told, “no TV, no toys” so I read for hours. I would have rather been in my room doing that anyway! My parents quickly revised my punishment to going outside and picking up sticks (we lived on a very woody 14 acres). LOL

    I would love to win a copy of The House on Tradd Street! Thanks!

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