Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Interview: Beth Hoffman, Author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

Tomorrow, I will be posting my review of Beth Hoffman's Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, a novel about a young girl from a troubled family whose life is upended when her mentally ill mother dies.  She is forced by her father to leave their home in Ohio and move to Savannah to live with a great-aunt she doesn't remember.  Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is an emotional Southern fiction novel about healing and love, and it's chock-full of eccentric characters (which you all know I love).

Meanwhile, I am thrilled to welcome Beth Hoffman to Diary of an Eccentric today, and I want to thank her for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions.  I just love getting to know the authors behind the books I enjoy.

What's the best thing to have happened to you as a writer, aside from being published?

There have actually been two things. The day my publisher called to inform me that Saving CeeCee Honeycutt hit the New York Times bestseller list is a day I will always remember. And equally wonderful is the feeling I get when people come to my author events. When I stand at the podium and look out at all their faces, I feel enormously grateful; it's such a privilege to be in my position. My book tour has taken me all over the country, from Massachusetts to Florida and from Georgia to California, and everyone has been enormously kind and supportive.

Do you have a writing routine or a particular space devoted to writing?

Yes. I live in a circa 1902 Queen Anne that I fully restored. It's in a quaint historic district that's loaded with old world charm and shrouded by magnificent 100-year-old trees. I have what I call a writing library on the second floor of my home. Though the room isn't very large, it has three soaring windows in an ashlar-cut stone bay that opens to a view of the front gardens. Morning light floods into the room, and it has a large fireplace that I keep burning throughout the winter. My kitties love the room and spend the majority of their time lounging on a windowsill or curled up at my feet.

I'm a very disciplined writer and I usually spend at least six hours a day either writing, researching, or thinking. Sometimes when the muse is with me, I'll write well into the night.

What authors or books have influenced you the most?

Though I can't say that any one author has influenced me per se, I have always loved the writings of Truman Capote, Reynolds Price, Laurie Lee, and Bailey White. The first time I read Capote I was spellbound. His writing encompasses the senses and emotions so fully without falling into sentimentality. Roxanna Slade by Reynolds Price is one of those rare books that I've read twice due to its richly developed characters and remarkable sense of place. In Cider With Rosie, Laurie Lee brilliantly captures a child's view of rural English life during and after WWI. His prose is stunning. Everything Bailey White has written delights me no end. And, I read a collection of short stories by Pamela King Cable called Southern Fried Women that I absolutely adored. She's a wonderful writer.

Are there a few books you've read that you find yourself recommending over and over to other readers?

Yes, the books I've recommended the most are Illusions by Richard Bach, The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy, and A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote. And when it comes to short stories, I always recommend the writer I mentioned previously—Pamela King Cable.

What do you do when you're not writing?

In the spring and summer months I spend quite a bit of time working in my flower gardens, reading, and browsing through bookstores and antique shops with my best friend. I'm also involved in animal rescue. For all my life I've always been a quiet, introspective person. I call myself a home girl, and I happiest when I'm surrounded by what I love most—my husband, my kitties, books, and gardens.

Are you working on another novel? Any hints?

Oh, how I wish I were working on a novel. I've just completed a major author tour and I don't yet have my energy in alignment with my creativity. During the last several months I've had over a thousand emails, and the majority of the people ask that I write a sequel to CeeCee's story. I really miss writing full time, and though I have a few ideas and several new characters have arrived in my imagination, nothing has quite gelled. So, I'm writing character sketches and small scenes while I wait for the meat of the story to reveal itself. But one thing I know for certain is that I will definitely write another novel.

Thanks, Beth!  I wish you much success and can't wait to read more of your work!

Penguin is offering copies of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt to 3 lucky readers.  Just leave a comment telling me why you want to read the book, along with your e-mail address.

Because the publisher is shipping the books, this giveaway is open to the U.S. and Canada only.  The giveaway will close on Sunday, June 6 at 11:59 pm EST.  The winners will be chosen randomly.

Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate.



© 2010, Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or reproduce content without permission.

48 comments:

Molly said...

What a wonderful interview, Anna!

I have the book sitting patiently on my shelf waiting for me to find the time to read it this summer. There have been so many fantastic reviews written, that I know I will not be disappointed.

Serena said...

No need to enter me.

I hope everyone checks out Beth's writing space on my blog today...there are some great pictures.

I really like how she calls herself a home person!

Cheryl said...

I would love to be entered in this giveaway. It sounds like a great book. I loved your interview too. I can just picture the house with the light flooding in. What a great spot to write!

Debbie F said...

OMG! I want this books so bad! I think the thing that got my attention first was the cover - I just love it. I also love the storyline. I love coming of age stories and stories about families. I really can't wait to read this.

dcf_beth at verizon dot net

Debbie F said...

Oh - also - I'm from Maryland too! which part are you from?

bermudaonion said...

I was lucky enough to meet Beth on her tour and she is simply amazing! I could totally be friends with her if I lived close to her. Don't enter me.

Arch said...

I would like to be entered in this giveaway. I have been hearing good things about this book and was especially impressed after reading its review on Beth Fish's blog. I have to say, the cover of this book is very attractive too...I would love to read this book...

I enjoyed reading the interview with Beth and look forward to your review tomorrow.. :)

archanaskorner(at)gmail(dot)com

- arch

Jo-Jo said...

What a wonderful interview Anna! I must admit that I kind of pictured Beth as being somewhat of a homebody. And nice to know that she loves her kitties too! No need to enter me as I already read and adored this novel. All the ladies in my book club have been loving it too. I will post about your giveaway though.

Suko said...

I've wanted to read this book since hearing about it. I'd like very much to meet these eccentric characters. :)

Wonderful interview, Anna. Your questions are intelligent and Beth's answers are thoughtful and articulate. Her writing library, complete with kitties, sounds divine!

suko95(at)gmail(dot)com

Thanks for hosting this giveaway!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

No need to enter me, babe. I'm dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.

Debi said...

The cover of this book is beautiful. Jo-Jo actually told me I really should read this one. She has lead me wrong so far! Please enter me. What a great interview!

debraldufek AT hotmail DOT com

Margie said...

I like family dramas and stories set in the South.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Tina said...

I've been reading a lot of books set in the South lately, and this one has been on my MUST HAVE list since it came out. Please enter me.

tbranco (AT) hughes (DOT)net

JHS. said...

I'd love to read it because it sounds like it has the ingredients of a great read: A message about hope & healing coupled with eccentric characters to make it interesting.

JHS
Colloquium

admin at jhsiess dot com

Linda said...

I love southern fiction, and a very good friend highly recommended this book. So, I've been anxious to read it ever since I heard about it. Thanks for the giveaway.
lcbrower40(at)gmail(dot)com

Donna said...

I'd love to win this book! I read Jo-Jo's copy, but I'd like to have one of my own as I love the cover!
dogdmc48@hotmail.com

Amy said...

I want to read this book because I know that it has many great and interesting characters in it, something that all of my favorite books share. I have also read and heard that it is a rich and layered story both sad and joyful and it's beautifuly written. All of that along with a pretty cover renders this a must-read for me!

Thank you for hosting a great giveaway!

~ Amy

Anonymous said...

would love to read this novel...thanks for the chance :)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Gwendolyn B. said...

Really nice interview! I'm so looking forward to reading SAVING CEE CEE HONEYCUTT because I love Southern fiction and I love stories told from a young person's point of view. Thanks so much for the chance to win a copy!

geebee.reads AT gmail DOT com

scottsgal said...

I have read nothing but rave reviews for this book - I'd love to read it!
msboatgal at aol.com

Martha Lawson said...

I would love to win this book, it looks absolutely awesome. This book also has one of the prettiest covers I've ever seen! I love hummingbirds. Please enter me.

I follow on gfc (new)

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

Pamela Keener said...

This book sounds just like my cuppa tea. It has been on my wish list for forever.
Love & Hugs,
Pam
pk4290(at)comcast(dot)net

Carol D. said...

Like other commenters, this book has been on my wish list since before it was released. The wait at the library is still reaaaalllly long, so I'd love to have a copy to read and then share with my mom and sister.
Thanks. Carol
cdirks1@sbcglobal.net

Nancye said...

I would love to win this book because I enjoy books set in the south and I enjoy eccentric characters. Thanks for the chance!

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

gcpeach17 said...

I would love to win this book! Covers are important and this is lovely. I cannot wait to read it! Count me in, please.

gcpeach17 at aol dot com

windycindy said...

I also enjoy eccentric characters!
Whether they are in movies, books
or my life, these people make life interesting. This book sounds wonderful and I would love to know
what happens with CeeCee...
Many thanks, Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

Dawn M. said...

I keep hearing so many good things about this book. It just makes me want to read it for myself. Count me in, please! :0)

Thanks!
librarygrinch at gmail dot com

♔ jessica.marie said...

I would love to read this book because I have lived in Ohio my whole life, but really want to move south ... although for some reason I want to move to Alabama ;)

Thanks for the opportunity!

lovejessicamarie (@) gmail (.) com

Sandra K321 said...

I would love to read this. It sounds like the author has done a great job with the characters and made me want to know them better; who doesn't love eccentric characters?
seknobloch(at)gmail(dot)com

Kritter said...

I would love to read this book - I have read so many raving reviews and I have yet to read anything from this author.

kdurham2@gmail.com

Deedles said...

I would love to read this because it sounds like a good read and I've heard some great things about it.
djeanq(at)gmail(dot)com

Kristi said...

I love Southern fiction and feel this one would fit me to a T! But I must admit - it was the cover that pulled me in initially!

kherbrand at comcast dot net

degood said...

Please enter me. I live in the Northwest and love to read fiction set in the South. It is a whole different way of life to me.

kerrie@mayansfamily.com

degood said...

I follow your blog as degood with google friend connect.

kerrie@mayansfamily.com

nfmgirl said...

I'd love this! I've heard such good things about it, and I love eccentric characters, too!

nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

Anita Yancey said...

I would like to read this book because I am always looking for new authors, and I haven't read any of her books yet. Please enter me. Thanks!

ayancey(at)dishmail(dot)net

Aik said...

I'd love to win this book!

aikychien at yahoo dot com

Koey said...

I'm Koey from The Bookahlics.

This book really sounds great! I love the cover too!

My e-mail is:
the.bookaholics at hotmail dot com

Cindy W. said...

I am always drawn to a book by it's cover art. I love the hummingbird on the cover. I also have seen some great reviews for it.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

Sarah E said...

I'd like to read this book because I love books set in the south. I've also read several great reviews about this book.

Please enter me in this giveaway!

saemmerson at yahoo dot com

Sarah E

Wrighty said...

I've wanted to read this since I saw the first review! It sounds so good and it's the perfect book to take to my hammock. :) Thanks so much for the offer!

5wrights1[at]verizon[dot]net

Bons said...

Please enter me to win a copy of this book. I have it wishlisted on BookMooch and would also list my review on LibraryThing.com

We have a pied-a-terre in Savannah that we keep leaving Atlanta for. It's in the Historic District & we take our fur baby on carriage rides too...just returned Friday. Would recommend it to anyone!!!! Adore Savannah & would enjoy the book as well as pass on to others!

M. said...

I would formerly not have been interested in a novel with a 12 y.o. protagonist, but after falling in love with 11 y.o. Flavia de Luce in 'The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie', I'm more open minded!

The stupendously gorgeous cover doesn't hurt, either.

mayamissani AT yahoo DOT ca

Sue said...

I'd love this one. Thanks for the giveaway!

s.mickelson at gmail dot com

Margie said...

Thanks for the giveaway. This book sounds very intriguig...I enjoy family dramas and stories set in the South.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

A Musing Mother said...

I'm reasonably certain you want this one to go to me.

ntaylor228 at yahoo dot com

edmontonjb said...

I would love to read this book because I really like the cover. I'm a sucker for a nice cover.

dftrew(At)gmail(dot)com

Anna said...

This giveaway is now closed.

Thanks to everyone who entered and/or promoted the giveaway. I really appreciate it. The winners will be chosen randomly and announced shortly.