Published Wednesday, December 26, 2012
By NICHOLE GOLDEN
Georgia writer Sue Monk Kidd, author of “The Secret Life of Bees” and other acclaimed works, will be spending the last days of 2012 and the first of 2013 finishing a new novel.
Kidd will speak in Newnan at the Centre for Performing and Visual Arts Jan. 10 at 7 p.m. The best-selling author does not traditionally take time out for public speaking so close to finishing a book, but made a special exception for the Newnan appearance. Kidd received the invitation to speak from childhood friend Ann Cole of Newnan, a Centre patron. “We grew up in Sylvester, Georgia,” said Kidd. “Our fathers were friends and our mothers were friends.”
Kidd will give a 40-minute lecture and reading on her life and work as a writer, and the influence of her faith on her writing. This will be followed by 20 minutes of questions and answers, after which she will sign books. Kidd is the inaugural speaker in the Anne Quinn Powell Author’s Series for Great American Literature. This event, sponsored by Central Baptist Church, has a $10 admission charge.
Tickets for the event may be purchased at Scott’s Book Store, Morgan’s Jewelers, Central Baptist Church, and the Centre.The following morning, Jan. 11, the author will give an informal creative writing craft talk, and question and answer session for Coweta County middle school and high school students.
“The Secret Life of Bees,” Kidd’s debut novel, was both a critical and a popular success. The novel spent more than two and a half years on the New York Times bestseller list, sold more than six million copies, and has been translated into 23 languages. The book has been produced on stage and made into an award-winning movie.
Kidd spoke from her Florida home about her current project, a historical novel set in 18th Century Charleston, S.C. The story, for which the author did a “great deal of research,” is about two women and their quests for freedom. The book has been three years in the making. “I’m not a speedy writer,” said Kidd.
“The Mermaid Chair,” Kidd’s second novel, took her two years to write. It won the 2005 Quill Award for General Fiction.
Kidd likes writing at home in her study. “I do have my writing rituals,” she said. “I need a certain amount of structure.”
The writing day for Kidd is about eight to nine hours long. “I get really focused,” she said.
Favorite authors of Kidd’s include Barbara Kingsolver, Marilynne Robinson, Alice Munro, and Ayana Mathis. Kidd said that Mathis’ debut novel, “12 Tribes of Hattie,” is a “brilliant book.”
“Reading is my favorite thing. I may actually like it better than writing,” said Kidd.
One of the questions often asked of Kidd at public events is about what it takes to be a writer. “Writing is not an easy calling,” she said.
Kidd said that there are many wonderful reasons to write including articulating truth. According to Kidd, writers should have three things: something to say, the ability to say it, and the courage to write it.
Don’t start out thinking about success or trying to write something that sells, advises Kidd. “It’s probably going to be a disaster,” she said.
The New York Times Book Review wrote of “The Secret Life of Bees” that it “is Southern storytelling at its finest and is fast becoming a modern classic.” Kidd also wrote three highly-regarded spiritual memoirs, a collection of early writings and essays, and, most recently “Traveling with Pomegranates.” She expects her new book to come out in 2014.
For more information on the Centre lecture, visit www.thecentreonline.net .