Momtrends recently chatted with Karen White about her latest release, Dreams of Falling. This highly anticipated novel set in South Carolina is available wherever books are sold.
1. What inspired you to write Dreams of Falling?
As with all of my books, my inspirational nuggets come from a varied assortment of experiences (and not just a few from Investigation ID channel!). For Dreams of Falling, when I first started thinking about the next book I wanted to write, I’d just started going through all of my mother’s old photos. They’d been sitting in boxes since my father had given them to me about five years earlier when my parents moved into a retirement community. There are many photos of my mother and her sisters in the late forties and early fifties growing up in the Mississippi Delta, as well as news clippings detailing their birthday parties and what they wore (it was a small town with apparently not much news to print).
There’s much to comment on about these glimpses into my mother’s life in the South during the post-war fifties, but what caught my writer’s attention were the fashions—the crinolines, the gloves, the hats, the shoes! I felt as if I were time-traveling, and I knew I had to use that time period as a setting for my next book so I could indulge my love of a bygone era.
2. Why did you choose to write the novel in multiple timelines of the past and present? How do you keep the storylines straight?
I’ve always been a history buff, ever since my dad took me to my first Civil War battlefield as a little girl. As I grew older and studied history in school, what I loved most about history is how it informs the present, or as William Faulkner once wrote, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” In Dreams of Falling, I use the characters of CeeCee and Bitty as a conduit between the two time periods, both characters appearing in the 1950s storyline and the present day. It’s how I like to illustrate how much has changed, and how much as stayed the same.
As for keeping the storylines straight, I write them the way they appear in the book. This way, none of the characters knows more than they should—meaning before the reader does (since I don’t!).
3. Let’s talk about Larkin. How does she feel when she receives the news of her mother’s disappearance?
I think she’s very conflicted. She has completely broken off all ties to her past—including her family—and likes to think they are no longer relevant to her life. She imagines she’s a completely new person without any connections to the girl she’d been growing up in Georgetown, South Carolina. But then she gets the phone call telling her that her mother is missing and that she needs to come home. Despite her belief that she’s severed all family ties, she is still emotionally connected. She still loves her mother and the pleas to go back to the place she’d sworn never to return override her determination to shut the door on her past.
4. How does the lifelong friendship of Ceecee, Margaret, and Bitty affect Larkin’s decision to stay in Georgetown, SC and search for answers?
It’s almost as if she doesn’t have a choice. On the very first day of her return, Larkin discovers that not only does her grandmother’s childhood home, Carrowmore, still exists, but that it had remained in the family even though Larkin had been told that it had been sold years before. It’s not long afterward that she discovers the unanswered questions surrounding the circumstances of her grandmother’s death, and that CeeCee and Bitty know more than they’re telling. Larkin’s return opens up a veritable Pandora’s Box, one that can’t be closed again until Larkin uncovers every secret harkening back to CeeCee, Bitty, and Margaret’s high school graduation trip to Myrtle Beach in 1951.
5. As moms, what life lessons are we able to learn from Larkin’s experience?
That it’s never too late—to forgive, to start over, to find love. And that forgiving ourselves is the most important lesson of all.
6. Where are we able to find more information about your book tour and upcoming book releases?
My website at www.karen-white.com has the most current listing of my book tour appearances, as well as news and covers of my upcoming releases.