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Interview with Kim Boykin, author of ‘Palmetto Moon’

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Kim BoykinKim Boykin was raised in her South Carolina home with two girly sisters and great parents. She had a happy, boring childhood, which sucks if you’re a writer because you have to create your own crazy. PLUS after you’re published and you’re being interviewed, it’s very appealing when the author actually lived in Crazy Town or somewhere in the general vicinity.

Almost everything she learned about writing, she learned from her grandpa, an oral storyteller, who was a master teacher of pacing and sensory detail. He held court under an old mimosa tree on the family farm, and people used to come from all around to hear him tell stories about growing up in rural Georgia and share his unique take on the world.

As a stay-at-home mom, Kim started writing, grabbing snip-its of time in the car rider line or on the bleachers at swim practice. After her kids left the nest, she started submitting her work, sold her first novel at 53, and has been writing like crazy ever since.

Thanks to the lessons she learned under that mimosa tree, her books are well reviewed and, according to RT Book Reviews, feel like they’re being told across a kitchen table. She is the author of The Wisdom of Hair from Berkley, Steal Me, Cowboy and Sweet Home Carolina from Tule, and Palmetto Moon, also from Berkley 8/5/14. While her heart is always in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, she lives in Charlotte and has a heart for hairstylist, librarians, and book junkies like herself.

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About the Book:

Palmetto Moon 2June, 1947. Charleston is poised to celebrate the biggest wedding in high-society history, the joining of two of the oldest families in the city. Except the bride is nowhere to be found…Unlike the rest of the debs she grew up with, Vada Hadley doesn’t see marrying Justin McLeod as a blessing—she sees it as a life sentence. So when she finds herself one day away from a wedding she doesn’t want, she’s left with no choice but to run away from the future her parents have so carefully planned for her.

In Round O, South Carolina, Vada finds independence in the unexpected friendships she forms at the boarding house where she stays, and a quiet yet fulfilling courtship with the local diner owner, Frank Darling. For the first time in her life, she finally feels like she’s where she’s meant to be. But when her dear friend Darby hunts her down, needing help, Vada will have to confront the life she gave up—and decide where her heart truly belongs.

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Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Kim. Can you start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

Palmetto moon is my second novel; I published The Wisdom of Hair last year with Berkley Books. I also write romance novellas for the Tule Publishing Group including Steal Me, Cowboy, Sweet Home Carolina, and Flirting With Forever.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

I’d been trying so long to sell that first book, I just kept trying and eventually, Leis Pederson at Berkely Books bought The Wisdom of Hair. But if I hadn’t, I think I would have eventually self-published or gone with a small press. It’s great that there are so many options now.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

Almost 15 months. I sold my first novel December 15, 2011 and it came out March 5, 2013.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

My husband and I had our thirtieth anniversary in 2012 and I wanted to have another wedding and he didn’t. So when the book came out, I had a big catered reception. It was as much fun as a wedding and I still felt like the bride. How did I feel? Ecstatic.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I put up an author page on Facebook. Facebook has worked well for me every since.

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

The more you write the better you get. Sometimes I’ll find something I wrote a couple of years ago and I’ll think, who wrote this? As a published author, I’ve had the opportunity to speak to a lot of book clubs and civic groups, and book festivals. I think I’ve gotten better, I know I feel more comfortable than I did in the beginning.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

I was shocked when I asked for a social media guide and MySpace was prominently featured. Now, the market is largely price driven. The big publishers don’t respond to the market as readily as small publishers or self-published authors, and when they do a big price adjustment, it’s usually for the folks who are already bestsellers. It’s tough to compete for sales when my download is $7-9.95 and you can buy a bestseller’s book on sale for $1.99.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

I never realized how much I wanted my stories to be heard until I held my first novel in my hands.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

You owe it to yourself to spend time on your craft. Get in a critique group. Submit your work. Self-publish if you want but above all you much keep writing. And, if you really want to be traditionally published, NEVER give up.

 

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