I’m so pleased with the blurbs that will accompany the publication of The Home Guard on March 4, 2019. Here is one from the incomparable Margaret Evans, the editor of Lowcountry Weekly: “With a large cast of unforgettable characters – both historical and fictional – and a backdrop of indelible splendor, John Warley has spun a tale of adventure, romance, and reckoning set during a pivotal moment in our nation’s fraught history that reverberates profoundly, even today.” But wha
Remember a few blogs back when I talked about writers compulsively asking themselves, “What if . . .?” Beaufort’s Civil War history so engaged me that I became obsessed. “What if,” I asked myself, “one--no two--people stayed behind when all the whites fled? And what if one of them was an old woman, and the other a young boy, her grandson, only twelve years old? And what if they had to hunt and fish to stay alive? And suppose the Rebels recruited the boy to spy for them? And w
Previously, I explained why John Grisham need not worry about me threatening his throne as king of the mystery, thriller, suspense genre. Talent aside, I lack the inspiration to write it. But what about historical fiction? My mother’s maiden name was Barnwell. The Barnwells are an interesting clan in the way Southern families can be, with plenty of “characters” to spice up the primordial soup. Like all families they were, very originally, hunter-gatherers, but the Barnwells
In last week’s blog I described the literary summit of three dead writers (Faulkner, Proust and Nabokov) and one very much alive writer, Pat Conroy. Today I want to tell you about the day Pat became an editor. A restaurant in Beaufort, South Carolina called Griffin Market specializes in Italian cuisine from the Piedmont region of Italy. Pat’s time in Rome made him passionate for the food, so that the opening of this restaurant by Chef Laura and Sommelier Riccardo was a bit li
Last week I disclosed my dilemma in combining two short novels, A Southern Girl and Just a Dance, into the single story they cried out to be. The solution was neither painless, nor quick, nor even mine. Dante famously warned at the gateway to his Inferno, “Abandon all hope, you who enter here,” and I had abandoned all hope of getting A Southern Girl published. But in 2012, I appeared with Pat Conroy at the Savannah Book Festival. Pat always draws a large crowd, and the crowd
A Southern Girl (ASG) began as a short novel, by word count almost a novella. It began with the infant’s abandonment as the U.S. family, the Carters, debated the wisdom of adoption. It ended with the resolution of the conflicts on both sides of the world (hey, it’s a novel, it has to resolve conflicts). But then that question set in again: what if? What if the infant thrives and something happens that devastates the family unit? That led to what would have been my third novel
Last week’s blog identified three forces in Mexico that inspired me to more and hopefully better production in my writing. But motivation is not the same thing as inspiration. Today, I want to address inspiration. Writers are routinely asked where they get their ideas. I have long suspected that those most inclined to ask are the people for whom the idea of writing a novel is a foreign (and as magical) as pixy dust on faireys’ wings. I am equally in awe of anyone who can pain
Six weeks on the road is a stretch, and when forty-three events in four states are factored in, there is only one logical question that can be asked: are you insane? Maybe. I kicked off the Southern Girl book tour on May 8 near Columbia with Friends of the Irmo Library, the first of a number of library events on the schedule. The crowd was small but eager to learn about the book. The crowd was anything but small the following evening at a private party on Hilton Head Island.