I love today’s guest, having had the privilege of meeting her in person this past year as well as endorsing her debut novel Still Waters.
Award-winning writer Lindsey P. Brackett once taught middle grades literature, but now she writes her own works in the midst of motherhood. Her debut novel, Still Waters, influenced by her family ties to the South Carolina Lowcountry, is a story about the power of family and forgiveness. Called “a brilliant debut” with “exquisite writing,” Still Waters also received 4-stars from Romantic Times.
As a freelancer, Lindsey has been published in a variety of print and online venues. Best known for her popular columns in North Georgia newspapers, she is also an irregular blogger, an editor for Firefly Southern Fiction, and a flash fiction expert with Splickety Publishing. Her new venture, Just Write Life, offers mentoring and coaching for aspiring authors.
A Georgia native, Lindsey makes her home—full of wet towels, lost library books, and strong coffee—at the foothills of Appalachia with her patient husband and their four rowdy children.
Lindsey’s debut novel, Still Waters, releases this week!
Cora Anne Halloway has a history degree and a plan: avoid her own past despite being wait-listed for graduate school. Then her beloved grandmother requests — and her dispassionate mother insists — that she spend the summer at Still Waters, the family cottage on Edisto Beach, South Carolina.
Despite its picturesque setting, Still Waters haunts Cora Anne with loss. At Still Waters her grandfather died, her parents’ marriage disintegrated, and as a child, she caused a tragic drowning. But lingering among the oak canopies and gentle tides, this place also tempts her with forgiveness — especially since Nan hired Tennessee Watson to oversee cottage repairs. A local contractor, but dedicated to the island’s preservation from development, Tennessee offers her friendship and more, if she can move beyond her guilt.
When a family reunion reveals Nan’s failing health, Cora Anne discovers how far Tennessee will go to protect her and –Edisto — from more desolation. Will Cora Anne choose between a life driven by guilt, or one washed clean by the tides of grace?
Hi Lindsey! Welcome to the blog! I start all of my guests out with a fast four:
Lindsey: Apples because dip, of course. My favorite is plain Greek yogurt mixed with honey and peanut butter.
Carrie: mmm I love apples with peanut butter. Will have to try this dip!
Lindsey: Summer lovin’ havin’ a blast… I wrote a beach book. Do you really have to ask? 🙂
Carrie: Yes, clearly this was a silly question 😉
Lindsey: Cats. Low maintenance.
Carrie: <sputters> But… but … dogs! And cuddles! And loves! lol
Lindsey: This is an unfair question to ask a southern girl. But if I have to choose, tea. Sweet and iced and with a lemon wedge.
Carrie: heehee. Sorry 😉
Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Lindsey: I’m really good at connecting people. When I coordinated MOPS, one of my favorite parts was seeing relationships develop between mothers I just knew had to be friends. Now, at writing conferences, I take a lot of appointments with aspiring writers who just want to talk about “doing it all” (which I don’t) or they want to pick my brain about who they should talk to during appointments. I take great joy in steering a fellow writer toward the agent or editor I feel suits their project. I joked with Edie Melson I should just be the help desk for the Blue Ridge Conference because I’ve been around long enough, now, that I have a good sense about the kinds of classes and appointments that best suit conferees. People just want someone to talk to, to reinforce their decisions, and apparently I’m approachable and have fallen into that unofficial role.
But here’s the real secret power: I surround myself with people who are smarter and more creative than I am. This is the only way to be successful at anything you do, I’m convinced. Always keep the people around who can teach you a thing or two.
Carrie: Yes! Amen to that!
Q: Which books are ‘on your nightstand’ right now?
Lindsey: A really messy pile of books is on my nightstand and stretching out across the windowsill. I even took a picture for you. I’m usually reading 2-3 things at once with an additional craft book going on the Kindle app. Right now I just finished one of Susan May Warren’s Christianson family because Susie is so great when I need to lose myself in a good romance that isn’t saccharine sweet. I’m still reading The Highly Sensitive Person in small doses and learning lots about myself—and my characters. I’ve been planning A Tree Grows in Brooklyn for months because it’s a classic I’ve never cracked (no, I don’t know why). I needed a reality break the other day and went to the church library, hence Mitford and Karen White and Beth Webb Hart who I adore. But what I’m plowing through right now is Friday Night Lights because it’s football season and I’ve got a project going that requires some research—although it’s honestly like reading a biography of my hometown.
Carrie: Ooo I love Karen White – I’ll need to check out Beth Webb Hart now too 😀
Writing spaces are as diverse as authors and books. Where is your favorite space to write?
Lindsey: We homeschooled last year, and while it had great moments, that wasn’t the right choice for us. So these days my kids are all back in public school and I get to write at home all day, in the quiet. It’s glorious because there are four of them so when they get home, I’ve had my fill of quiet and am ready for all the chaos. We tucked my desk into a little corner of the living room and I spend my mornings there. By afternoon, though I move out onto our covered porch to enjoy the sunshine, drink my sweet tea, and edit manuscripts for clients.
Before this, though, I worked a lot in public places. In fact, 2/3 of this book was probably written in a booth at Chic-fil-A while my youngest was in preschool.
Carrie: Well… you’re in Georgia… where else would you write? 😉
Q: Still Waters is about ‘family, faith, and forgiveness’. How did your own family’s stories influence the story of Still Waters?
Lindsey: I have a large immediate and extended family, so I really wanted to bring that sense of a large family into my story. Alas, not everyone made the cut 🙂 But there’s a lot of truths embedded into this story. While the plot is entirely fictional, my family did spend every summer on Edisto until I was about 12. My maternal grandparents lived in Walterboro, which while in the same county, is still a 45 minute trek up the highway. But this is where my mother grew up, this was her summer beach, and she brought us back to it, along with our cousins and aunts and uncles, and for me, there was a real sense of belonging. This was our home too. A few of our family folklore tales made it into the book. The snake under the table at Saturday night dinner, the chickens my aunt made into pets until they met their Saturday dinner demise, and the love story of my protagonist’s grandparents are all taken from real life.
Carrie: oh i love this!!! I want to go back and reread it now 😀
Q: Along with being the title of your debut novel, Still Waters is the name of Cora Anne Halloway’s family cottage on Edisto Beach, South Carolina. What is your favorite thing about going to the beach? And, would you rather stay in a beach house, a cottage, or a tourist hotel?
Lindsey: Always a beach house or cottage. We’ve stayed in so many houses on that beach, it’s a family game to try and remember them all. My dad marks them by the problems they had because we seem to have a gift for picking lemons. But I love the sense of togetherness that comes from staying in a cottage. I like to cook, and I want a kitchen because I have no desire to waste my beach time with getting ready to go out. Plus, with a large family it’s just so much more economical.
My favorite thing about the beach—Edisto specifically—is that it’s truly a time for us to unwind and relax. Edisto is a family beach, and there’s few attractions aside from natural ones. So we gather shells and build sandcastles and take walks and ride bikes and it’s pure, utter simplicity. The ocean gives me a sense of my place in this world. Think about it—huge and expansive, but so steady and rhythmic.
Carrie: I’m partial to the mountains but I do love ocean as well. So peaceful in its strength.
Q: What do you most want readers to take away from Still Waters?
Lindsey: I really hope readers end this story with a sense of how special a place Edisto is—it’s really another character in the novel. I hope they see Cora Anne could not have found forgiveness in any other place, because her heart and soul were so tied up with her family and her history there. My goal, also, is to help us all realize the importance of forgiving ourselves. We can’t carry past despair into our future… as Nan wisely reminds Cora Anne.
Carrie: Edisto IS another character in the novel, you’re right. And forgiveness is such a pivotal theme.
Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Lindsey: I’ve got quite the online and IRL (in real life) book tour for September into October. I’m looking forward to being on location in Edisto and sharing a lot of the real places in the story with my readers. You can follow all my events on my author page, Lindsey P. Brackett.
Currently, in addition to my freelance work and mentoring, I’m finishing my second novel. It’s not an Edisto book (though I’ve got another one of those started as well). This (hopefully) next book is set in Poplar Creek, a small community that straddles the county line—and for sixteen years has been haunted by one horrific Friday night. In grief, this community, and its church, split right along the boundary. From these foothills of Appalachia to the glittering marquees of Nashville, sixteen-year-old Addie chases her convictions—and the hope of every prodigal that one can never go too far to be welcomed back home.
Carrie: ooo i can’t wait to read that one!! And have SO MUCH FUN on your book tours 🙂
Come celebrate the launch of Still Waters with a prelaunch party! There will be giveaways! 😀 Click the image below to go directly to the event page on Facebook.
What about you? Do you have a favorite beach and/or beach memory?