December 10, 2019

A Conversation with Author, Kasie Whitener


For the rest of 2019, I plan to feature various authors and writers in interview-styled posts. Writers will find some jewels of helpful information within these interviews, and readers, I hope, will find their next "To Be Read" book.

This next interview is with Kasie Whitener. I met Kasie a few years ago at a writing conference. I recall seeing her entry to the slush pile workshop and being impressed by her writing. We're both part of South Carolina Writers' Association, and we mainly stay in touch on Facebook.

Kasie Whitener

Dr. Kasie Whitener writes GenerationX and vampire fiction and is a member of the South Carolina Writers Association. Her day jobs include business owner at Clemson Road Creative, lecturer at the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina, and radio personality. At her writing core is fantasy romance and not-quite-getting-over-the-90s. Dr. Whitener has presented workshops for the South Carolina Council on Humanities, Bowling Green State University's Winter Wheat Literary Festival, and the Pat Conroy Literary Center. Her short story, "Cover Up," won the Carrie McCray Prize in 2016 and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize that same year. Her first novel, After December, was recently published by Kat Biggie Press’s new fiction imprint.

What are you working on?

Right now my first novel is with an editor, and we’re getting it ready to be published by Kat Biggie Press. (Kasie's book is now available. See info below.) The book is called After December, and it’s about a 22 year-old whose best friend commits suicide forcing him to come home from college for a transformational weekend. I’m also revising a time-traveling vampire choose-your-own-adventure novel, but that’s just now with beta readers.

How does your book differ from others in its genre?

After December takes place in 1999 which is unusual. We have a cutoff for “historical” fiction right now that is the late seventies, maybe early eighties. There aren’t many late 80’s or 90’s stories in either historic or commercial fiction. I consider my work GenX fiction in that it focuses on and illuminates the value systems of those brat-pack-watching, Atari-playing latchkey-kids. After December examines the establishment of alternative family units, the disillusionment of commercialized art, and the myth of a safe white collar suburbia. There’s lots of drinking, a good bit of sexuality, and frank conversations around the unrealistic expectations of adulting.

Why do you write what you do?

The voices inside me were shaped by the Challenger explosion, Monica Lewinksy’s shame, and 9/11. There’s such a rich and varied value system in my generation and we’re so small that we’re frequently overlooked by the more self-aggrandizing Millennials and bombastic Baby Boomers. Essential to being GenX is insisting that it doesn’t matter that we’re GenX. But it does. So I write about what matters and try to give a voice to GenX so we don’t become The Lost Generation – only valued well after we’ve died.


How does your writing process work?

I’m a pantser. I let the voices flow from me onto the page and then revise, revise, revise until I get it right. I have two critique groups and some good beta readers. I wrote about them here. I’m a big believer that the real work of the craft is done in revision. But I love the frenzy of creation and participate in NaNoWriMo every year.


How do we find your book?


You can watch the book trailer for After December here. The book is available on Amazon and other major retailers.

November 27, 2019

My Goodreads 2019 Challenge Results To Date

As we move into the holiday season, I want to take a brief detour from my author interviews to share my Goodreads list of books read in 2019. The Goodreads Annual Reading Challenge allows you to set a goal for how many books you'll read in the next year and track it. 

For 2019, I set my goal at 60 books. As of today, Nov. 26, I have read 76 books. I'm currently reading 4 more, and I still have 5 weeks left to add to this number. Last year, I barely missed hitting my goal of 50 books. What's different this year? Several things:
  • I started listening to audiobooks in the car with my grandchildren
  • I was grounded by a broken foot
  • The grands are older, so I have more free time to read (not much but I'll take what I can get)

You will find several genres in this list including middle grade and young adult titles The list is heavily weighted toward my favorite genre of fantasy, but I've read mysteries, contemporary fiction, literary, women's fiction, and nonfiction, too.

You will, also, find several books from one particular author. I had a lengthy list of her books on my e-reader already. I probably scooped them up during a special deal, so she was an easy go-to.

The full list is below, but there are certain ones that stand out to me as special favorites. They are listed below in no particular order:

  • The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
  • Little Fires Everywhere
  • A Man Called Ove
  • Where'd You Go Bernadette
  • The Plastic Magician
  • The Blood Queen
  • The Girl Who Drank the Moon
  • The Natural History of Dragons (received a 4 due to narration not story)
  • Shattered Bonds


And here is the full list in order by my rating on Goodreads.  After you look through this list, why don't you pop into the comments on this post and share your favorite books from this past year? I'd love to see what you suggest.


Title
Author
Rating
Shiftless (Wolf Rampant #1)
Aimee Easterling
5
The Spies That Bind (Gallagher Girls, #0.5)
Ally Carter
5
Little Fires Everywhere
Celeste Ng
5
The Plastic Magician
Charlie N. Holmberg
5
Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook
Christina Henry
5
The Hundredth Queen (The Hundredth Queen, #1)
Emily R. King
5
Forest of Secrets (Warriors, #3)
Erin Hunter
5
Rising Storm (Warriors, #4)
Erin Hunter
5
Shattered Bonds (Jane Yellowrock, #13)
Faith Hunter
5
A Man Called Ove
Fredrik Backman
5
The Dispatcher
John Scalzi
5
The Girl Who Drank the Moon
Kelly Barnhill
5
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
Kim Michele Richardson
5
Before We Were Yours
Lisa Wingate
5
The Vine Witch (Vine Witch, #1)
Luanne G. Smith
5
Where'd You Go, Bernadette
Maria Semple
5
The Sisters of the Winter Wood
Rena Rossner
5
Treasure Island
Robert Louis Stevenson
5
The Queen of Blood  (The Queens of Renthia, #1)
Sarah Beth Durst
5
Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass, #7)
Sarah J. Maas
5
Rivals! Frenemies Who Changed the World (Rivals!, #1)
Scott McCormick
5
Aimless Witch (Questing Witch, #1)
Shannon Mayer
5
Alex (Rylee Adamson, #5.5)
Shannon Mayer
5
Blood of the Lost (Rylee Adamson #10)
Shannon Mayer
5
Guardian (Rylee Adamson #6.5)
Shannon Mayer
5
Liam (The Rylee Adamson Epilogues, #2)
Shannon Mayer
5
Lynchpin (The Rylee Adamson Epilogues, #4)
Shannon Mayer
5
Maze Witch (Questing Witch #3)
Shannon Mayer
5
Pamela (The Rylee Adamson Epilogues, #3)
Shannon Mayer
5
Rising Darkness (Rylee Adamson, #9)
Shannon Mayer
5
Stitched (Rylee Adamson #8.5)
Shannon Mayer
5
Pack Princess: A Fantastical Werewolf Adventure (Wolf Rampant Book 2)
Aimee Easterling
4
Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage
Alfred Lansing
4
Swimming for Sunlight
Allie Larkin
4
Siryn
C.E. Murphy
4
The Watchmaker's Daughter (Glass and Steele, #1)
C.J. Archer
4
The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant (Fred, the Vampire Accountant, #1)
Drew  Hayes
4
Fire and Ice (Warriors, #2)
Erin Hunter
4
Into the Wild (Warriors, #1)
Erin Hunter
4
Circle of the Moon (Soulwood, #4)
Faith Hunter
4
The Art of Racing in the Rain
Garth Stein
4
The Memory of Butterflies
Grace Greene
4
Granny's Got a Gun (Secret Agent Granny #1)
Harper Lin
4
Jukebox Joyride
Jacob Stein
4
Talon (Talon, #1)
Julie Kagawa
4
Fantasy of Frost (Tainted Accords, #1)
Kelly St. Clare
4
Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns, #1)
Kendare Blake
4
The Last Girls
Lee  Smith
4
The Mystery of Alice
Lee Bacon
4
Come Home to Me
Liz Talley
4
A Natural History of Dragons (The Memoirs of Lady Trent, #1)
Marie Brennan
4
The Tropic of Serpents (The Memoirs of Lady Trent, #2)
Marie Brennan
4
The Ocean Liner
Marius Gabriel
4
Even Tree Nymphs Get the Blues (Mystic Bayou, #2.5)
Molly Harper
4
The Graveyard Book
Neil Gaiman
4
Sick Girl
Rachel Hargrove
4
Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass, #6)
Sarah J. Maas
4
Princess Academy
Shannon Hale
4
Caravan Witch (Questing Witch, #2)
Shannon Mayer
4
Wounded (Rylee Adamson, #8)
Shannon Mayer
4
St. Dale (St. Dale, #1)
Sharyn McCrumb
4
Dodge & Twist
Tony Lee
4
Tell No One
Barbara Taylor Sissel
3
The Soul Summoner  (The Soul Summoner, #1)
Elicia Hyder
3
The Matchmaker
Elin Hilderbrand
3
The Falconer (The Falconer, #1)
Elizabeth May
3
Iron and Magic (The Iron Covenant, #1)
Ilona Andrews
3
Creative Change: Why We Resist It How We Can Embrace It: Why We Resist It How We Can Embrace It
Jennifer  Mueller
3
The Clockmaker's Daughter
Kate Morton
3
15 Minutes (A Maizie Albright Star Detective Mystery, #1)
Larissa Reinhart
3
The Summer That Made Us
Robyn Carr
3
Ink Mage (A Fire Beneath the Skin, #1)
Victor Gischler
3
Atomic Marriage
Curtis Sittenfeld
2
Room to Breathe
Liz Talley
2


Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!