Kimberly Brock Books bio picture
  • The River Witch

    " Kimberly Brock has an amazing voice and a huge heart; The River Witch welcomes the reader to a haunted landscape, authentically Southern, where the tragedies of the past and the most fragile, gorgeous kind of love-soaked hope are equally alive. This is one debut that you absolutely should not
    miss."

    ~~ Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of Backseat Saints

  • Georgia Author of the Year 2013
    The River Witch is available wherever books are sold

JUNE is She Reads month for The River Witch

Here it is! June is my month to celebrate and share THE RIVER WITCH with readers at SHE READS online book club!

 

I hope you’ll join us for plenty of discussion about the book, writing, a little about me…

Photo by Julie Bloemeke

 

…and lots of chances to win some really special ***giveaways!***

 

Just click here: SHE READS   And hop over to their site for all the big announcements! JOIN THE PARTY!!


THE RIVER WITCH MEETS ANNA KLINE AND THE GRITS AND SOUL BAND!

Most exciting news for The River Witch book tour!!

 

You know, if you’ve been reading interviews or the novel, that music plays an enormous role in this book. Last week I was putting together a blog about my playlist and folks, boy, did I get lucky! I’m going to let my friend share the details below by reposting her latest blog…

But FIRST…   I’d like to introduce you all to Anna Kline and the Grits and Soul Band!!

They’ll be touring with me for signings and readings on select dates! (TO BE ANNOUNCED) So,keep checking my New/Appearances page to find out if we’ll be near you sometime soon! And if you’d like to have us at your local indie bookstore, shoot me a message and maybe call the store to let them know.

We’re so excited about this collaboration, bringing story and song together in such a powerful way!

Here’s a video of Anna and the band, discussing the song that really got my attention while I was working on the final draft of the manuscript. I think you’ll see why…

And now, in Anna’s words…Here’s what’s up!

 

**************************

Hey friends!

This has been a big week and it started out all subtle-like, you know?  Very deceiving to say the least but what a bang of fireworks it turned out to be!

You know how, as you get a little older and wiser, it’s easier to say no to things that don’t fit in your life and that decision makes space for something even bigger and better that’s just supposed to be there?  These past few years have been one lesson after another for me in that regard.  Events this week just drove the point on home.

So, I was able to put one particular time  & energy drain down the tubes this week – much to my relief – and isn’t it funny when I was given that gift, another one came just a day later!  I’m currently awestruck.

My friend, Erin, runs the online Deep South Magazine which is an it’s-all-about-the-South arts and culture zine.  She emailed me Thursday and said she had an author friend, Kimberly Brock, who is promoting her new book, The River Witch, and that she was interested in finding out more about getting on Thacker Mountain Radio.  Could I please help her with some info since we were on the radio show in November?  Of course! I said, and sent her an email.

In the meantime, Kimberly checked out our music. She wrote me back and told me how much she loved our sound, and in particular, our song “Flood Waters.” I said, Thanks so much – I really appreciate it to which she responded:

“I am not just blowing smoke at you when I say that your music makes my toes curl. I am super excited to have been introduced to you and your band!  The MUSIC is the heart of the story. It haunts and heals and drives everything. When I listen to you, I HEAR this book! I can’t tell you how excited that makes me!!”

Sounds amazing, huh?  (The book, I mean)

So, one thing led to another and about 50 e-mails later, Grits & Soul is teaming up with Kimberly for some special appearances on her book tour this summer and fall!  We are absolutely thrilled that she wants to include us!  She asked us to accompany her for some of her book readings to perform a few of our songs and also some that inspired the book.  Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

WHOA.

Not only that, but The River Witch was chosen as the featured selection on She Reads national online book club for the month of June!

Kimberly has built a recommended play list of music that inspired and compliments the book and that list will accompany her blog post about the book…and  guess what!?!  We’re included! We are over the moon. My copy of the book is on its way – I can’t wait!!

We are still setting up dates so once they are confirmed, I will plaster them all over the place.  We’re going to be in Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and maybe Tennessee.  It looks like there will also be some music giveaways on the She Reads and Deep South Magazine as well so keep checking back for that.

Kimberly is enjoying quite a bit of momentum and success!  We are so excited for her!!  You can read the first two chapters of the book right here on her website.  Isn’t that great?!  She definitely has a gift and what’s more, she is one helluva stellar Southern woman!  I can stand behind that.

Congrats to Kimberly and what an honor for us to be included in this special time in her book’s life! WOW. Thank you, Erin, for introducing us and thank you, Kimberly, for your support!! We’re thrilled to support you right back.

May 28, 2012 - 3:34 pm

Melissa Crytzer Fry - I LOVE when serendipitous things like this happen; how AWESOME that you’ll have a band with you at signings, Kim. And the music … SO wonderful.

June 3, 2012 - 3:10 am

Karen Babb - Thanks so much for being a part of my daughter’s journey. She called me with the news and was soooo excited she could hardly get the words out fast enough!! Thank you for supporting her!

Karen Babb (Kim’s Mom)

June 4, 2012 - 7:19 pm

Jolina Petersheim - You are the woman, Kimberly. You are going after this with everything you’ve got and teaching me SO MUCH along the way. Thank you!

June 15, 2012 - 10:45 pm

anna - Mrs. Babb – You have no idea how excited *we* are! I am honored to be a part of this journey with her…it’s going to be quite a ride!

And yes, serendipitous, for sure!

June 20, 2012 - 2:26 pm

admin - Anna, I’M the one who’s honored! And can’t wait for Malaprop’s!!

Nothing Says I Love You Like Flaming Batons

A very acclaimed author said to me just this morning, “We need to help each other. This business is sometimes very lonely.”

How many times have I heard that? It’s disheartening, really. We work so hard to write our stories because we want to share them. The flip side of that is how isolated writers often feel. We chose to spend a lot of our time alone and then, we creep out into the light to offer our hard work up for gut-wrenching evaluation from critics and fans, peers and strangers. We hope that the words that we have dredged up from the very center of our souls will ring true and powerful and bring meaning to how we experience life.

And then…we wait. Alone. Because no matter how many people pat us on the back to say they loved the work, read the work, shared the work — or even those who were disappointed in the work — the influence and reach of a book is hard to measure. Numbers lie. Time sometimes doesn’t tell. And so, we don’t really know what we’ve accomplished except that we’ve followed our hearts, had some glorious moments and some heartache, and hope somewhere, somebody has picked up the book, turned the page, and discovered what we intended.

I started to write this post about how we should support each other, not just as writers, but as human beings. It went something like this:

If we have the opportunity to sing someone’s praises, we should take it. If we’re offered a ride, we should scoot over and make room for one more. If we can’t find common ground, we should get out our shovels and dig til we’ve built it for ourselves.

But it sounded too much like a sermon or a scene out of Pollyanna. And then I was inspired, as I ALWAYS am, by another writer and the indomitable DIXIE CARTER, who would have been 73 years old today.

I think she says it all right here. I hope I’ll always support the people in my life with flaming batons

 

 

May 25, 2012 - 1:38 pm

Cathleen Holst - Dixie lives!! One of my favorite scenes from that show.

You’re so right, Kim. We are not in this alone. It takes a village. We are, after all, a family.

Great post!

C xx

May 25, 2012 - 2:24 pm

Katherine - Amen, Kim! You are so right. Everybody deserves a leg up onto the dream horse. Thanks for posting this: it’s a great reminder of how to walk through this business.

And how I miss Designing Women! There just aren’t any shows on TV about fabulous Southern women (I’d had high hopes for GCB, especially with the fabulous Annie Potts on board, but they cancelled it).

May 25, 2012 - 3:18 pm

Melissa Crytzer Fry - Such an important message, Kim. So, yes, get up on the pulpit and scream it: “If we have the opportunity to sing someone’s praises, we should take it. If we’re offered a ride, we should scoot over and make room for one more”!

May 25, 2012 - 4:31 pm

L.G.C. Smith - Oh, what a lovely post, Kim. I love “Designing Women.” I think I might like to be an honorary Southern woman. I couldn’t agree more, and I love to toss flaming batons into power lines on behalf of my writer friends and favorite authors.

May 25, 2012 - 5:30 pm

Girl Parker - Amen to the Flaming Baton Sisterhood and the fiesty spirit behind it. Well said, Kim! Oh Dixie Carter, how I love your moxie.

SHE READS national online book club CHOOSES THE RIVER WITCH for JUNE!!

I’m soooo excited!!! HUGE announcement!!!
The national online book club SHE READS has chosen THE RIVER WITCH as their June read!!!!
They’ll make the official announcement JUNE 1st.
This is wonderful news in the effort to bring this little book to more readers! I’m so honored and grateful and convinced that only a divine hand could have brought about such a blessing!
If you’ve ever wanted to participate in a book club, here’s your chance! Go check them out and join me! I’ll be featured for the full month of June, chatting about The River Witch, writing, and loads more! PLUS, there are several wonderful GIVEAWAYS in the works!!
May 23, 2012 - 1:46 pm

Jean Willett - WOW!! Wonderful news! Time to celebrate :)

Jean

May 23, 2012 - 2:38 pm

Jessica McCann (@JMcCannWriter) - What great news! June is going to be an exciting month for you. Congratulations, Kim!!

May 23, 2012 - 4:35 pm

admin - I’m over the moon, Jean!! Hope you’ll join the discussion in June! xoxoxo

May 23, 2012 - 4:35 pm

admin - Can you believe???? I must have one overworked little angel some place. ;)

May 23, 2012 - 7:03 pm

Katherine - This is fabulous news! Congratulations, Kimberly!

May 25, 2012 - 8:31 am

Laura Kay - Congratulations, Kimberly! So excited for you and the readers–they’ll LOVE The River Witch!

Karen Spears Zacharias Interviews Me – Of Mermaids and Mythology, Sacred Stories and Spirituality

Several weeks ago, I was lucky enough to receive an email from best selling author Karen Spears Zacharias. Karen writes about real people and the issues that matter to them. Her new novel, A Silence of Mockingbirds (April 2012 MacAdam/Cage Publishing), is no exception. A disturbing memoir about a tragic topic, more importantly Karen’s latest is a call to us all to take a strong stand for child advocacy and something I think everyone should read.

It has been chosen as a ONE BOOK ONE COMMUNITY read.

ANN RULE says A Silence of Mockingbirds is beautifully written by a very talented investigative journalist. But, even more, this is KarenZacharias’s  own story too, one of trust betrayed. A tragic book that we should all take to heart. We cannot change the past but we can save children who are in peril now. Karen has given us Karly’s legacy, that of a small, bright spirit who loved and was loved. And yet destroyed by heedless caretakers. A must read. Compelling and heartbreaking.”

So when she asked if she could read an early copy of The River Witch, I was thrilled. She followed up by offering to interview me for the SIBA’s Author’s Round the South newsletter as the Author to Author spot and it’s one of my favorites so far. I thought I’d share it here because it really does touch on the heart of the novel and my reasons for writing it.

Welcome Karen! And hope you enjoy reading her beautiful introduction and interview below…

 

Joshilyn Jackson is one of Kimberly Brock’s biggest fans. The River Witch,says Jackson of Brock’s mystical debut novel, offers readers “a haunted landscape, authentically Southern… This is one debut that you absolutely should not miss.”

It’s praise well-earned. A car wreck and miscarriage has broken Roslyn Byrne. The professional ballet dancer retreats to the Sea Isles off the coast of Georgia, not so much to heal as to hide. There she encounters the enchanting 10-year-old Damascus, and the two become bound in hope.

Kimberly Brock says what she fears most about writing is failing to transport the reader to that mystical place infused with inspiration and imagination. Readers of The River Witch will surely tell Brock to put her fears to rest.

Karen: What exactly is a River Witch?

Kimberly: Throughout history there have been tales of women who turned into mermaids or serpents or sirens. But I was far into the writing of The River Witch before I realized I’d incorporated such long-standing mythology into my contemporary work. In particular, after the book was finished, I discovered shocking similarities between The River Witch and the enduring myth of Melusine, a cursed maiden living on a lost island who took the shape of a serpent when bathing. This dual feminine nature – the idea of a beautiful woman with a terrible secret, an unfortunate lover, a woman with a wailing song, one who bridges the gap between known and unknown realms, who has lost her children and wanders in exile because her darker nature has been revealed – applies not only to the main character, Roslyn, but to all the women in the novel in various ways. Inadvertently, I crafted the same old myth, incorporating my own culture and environment of the Appalachian foothills and the Georgia coast. I love that! I think it stands as proof that our stories are timeless. But I leave it up to the reader to decide who they think the River Witch might be in this story, and what they think that means.

Karen: Do you consider yourself a superstitious person?

Kimberly: I am a deeply spiritual person, an intuitive person. I believe in a higher power and I wonder at the universe. I think all people and cultures are superstitious simply because our understanding of the world and our own nature are so limited. Superstition is a reflection of those limits and of our yearning for the divine.

Karen: Have you ever encountered anyone like Nonnie who gave you the heebie-jeebies?

Kimberly: I have certainly known women whose intuition was unsettling, women who listened to their dreams. Whether you attribute it to mysticism or the highly religious culture of the South, I’ve always embraced the concept of spirits and souls and stories of people who knew their loved ones were hurt or in danger before they got the call. There are stories in my own family about this kind of insight. We believe there is something beyond the physical world. Our grannies raise us on it. We plant by it. Our music and literature are haunted by this kind of prevailing otherworldly, long-suffering hope. Nonnie embodies all of those qualities.

Karen: How did the story of The River Witch first present itself to you?

Kimberly: I read this article about a couple of women who decided to open a pumpkin farm. They were holding a weekend celebration for the harvest. The pictures were gorgeous, with this long table laden with food. And everywhere, there was this beautiful, round, sumptuous fruit; these gourds and pumpkins, round and full and smooth. All these warm colors. I couldn’t stop looking at the pictures. I pulled the article out of the magazine and kept it, going back to it often. I couldn’t stop thinking how much I wanted to be there with those women. I could hear the music from the fiddle and the open-throat sound of the singers in the photographs. I could taste the fried chicken and grilled corn on the table. And it was all wrapped up in the shapes of their harvest, such a compelling illustration of the feminine divine, of sensuality and fertility and sustenance. I knew that I was going to tell a story about it somehow. In my mind, it was set in a very isolated place, a mountain or an island. I knew there was a river. I started looking into all of that and researching, learning what it takes to grow those monster pumpkins, and sketching scenes with a woman longing for her childhood home and sacred traditions wrapped up in music and stories and a bountiful table. This was Roslyn. But I couldn’t bring the ideas together cohesively.

Then one day, about a year later, I saw another report. This time they were showing people floating down a river inside giant pumpkins that had been rigged up as boats. I got excited. I saw the element of water, the continuity of cycles and the ecology of a Sea Island with its rivers and marshes and the hold-outs from a disappearing culture. What would it be like to crawl inside one of those giant pumpkins on the river? Would I feel free or like I was losing everything? And then I thought, if I felt the way I felt when I looked at the women in the magazine with all their pumpkins, what would I see if I was a little girl without a mother – or a mother without a child? And then, Damascus started talking to me.

Karen: What was your biggest hurdle in writing this book?

Kimberly: Roslyn’s character was stoic and stubborn and she wouldn’t open up to me for a long time. She is a woman who has lived her life under such rigid control and forced denial that it was nearly impossible to discover any depth to her. Her experience was so limited in relation to her age. Her loss is so deep. Finding a way to make her authentic on the page and reveal her heart was a long struggle. I waited for her to arrive right up to the last page, I think.

Karen: You tackle the grievous matter of a miscarriage in The River Witch. What do you think are some of the most egregious misconceptions about miscarriages?

Kimberly: That they ever end, that the grief isn’t as potent or that the child isn’t known. That grief for a baby you didn’t raise is any less than that of losing a live child. We understand grief for a loved one who has lived a life and we can find ways to come to terms with that cycle, life followed by death. But when that cycle is broken, people don’t know how to approach that kind of disappointment. We don’t know how to comfort the bereaved. We belittle or discount a life that ended before or shortly after birth to try and make the scales balance with the way we expect life to operate. In The River Witch, this incongruity is also evident in the aftermath of the young death of Damascus’ mother, and the devastation of the Trezevant family. But in specific regard to miscarriage, I tried to examine the idea that life is cyclical in ways we may not even perceive, that the soul’s journey moves beyond our understanding.

Karen: When did you fall under the spell of writing?

Kimberly: I’ve always been a storyteller. Ask my family, who endured many hours of reenacted Disney films or impromptu plays. Ask my childhood friends and teachers, who swallowed tall tales and ghost stories whole on the playground and paid the price later, afraid to sleep in their beds. They believed I had descended from an angry Cherokee Indian Chief. They believed I was going blind like Helen Keller. I was in trouble all the time for inventing and embellishing. And then, around the age of five somebody gave me a crayon and that was that. That’s when I became a writer.  I love words, whether I’m writing or reader, or acting or teaching. I love the power language gives us to share our experiences, to dream, to search and learn and reach for what is beyond us and what is inside of us. Our words are the innate and sacred gift of being human.

Karen: What frightens you about writing?

Kimberly: That I’ll never be smart enough to write the book the way it comes to me through inspiration. That the idea is too big for me and I will fail it.

Karen: Which one of these three characters — Damascus or Nonnie or Roslyn– do you most identify with, and why?

Kimberly: I can’t say that I identify more strongly with any of the three over another. I guess there are specific things about each of them that I identify with as the author. With all of them, there is this longing for family, to understand them or to learn why they’ve been lost. In my own family, particularly in my grandparents’ generation, there were rifts that separated siblings and parents so I grew up knowing very little about them, if anything. It’s more common than people realize, I think. I often wonder what traditions and stories are lost when this happens, as Roslyn wonders about her mother’s family. Of course, sometimes people detach themselves with good reason. That’s reflected in Damascus’ relationship with her father. And with Nonnie, she has cherished and honored her mother’s legacy. She is carrying it forward even as the culture of the island evolves. I think I identify with that in the small ways I try to keep my family traditions and memories alive, through food and celebration and the retelling of stories. Damascus is just beginning to learn the value of this through Roslyn’s time on the island, and hopefully through her relationship with her Aunt Ivy.

Karen: Roslyn has a complicated relationship with her mother but an endearing one with Granny Byrne. Was there someone in your life that you modeled Granny after?

Kimberly: Mainly, Granny Byrne is based on an idea rather than a person, but she does bare resemblance to a mix of my own mother and grandmother. Even a little of my father is in there. I think Roslyn’s relationship to her grandmother is more of an idea than a reality, even for Roslyn. Had she been allowed to grow up in the cove with Granny Byrne, I wonder if her memories would be the same? A family is a complicated mess at best, and I think the way Roslyn and her mother struggle is much more true to life. But we all have our mentors and we idolize them, that’s what gives their influence strength in our lives.

Karen: What surprised you most in the writing of this book?

Kimberly: First, the discovery of the myths I mentioned above after the novel was complete.And also the personal mining involved in some of the scenes and the way I fought to avoid it. I wrote some of the novel four or five different ways and still couldn’t understand why it fell flat or felt inauthentic. I sold it, feeling that some of the scenes were lacking and I couldn’t put my finger on why. My editor, in her great wisdom, could pinpoint things I was overlooking and it would boggle my mind because immediately, I would know why I had skimmed the surface with one thing or another. The personal soft spots I was side-stepping made the scenes shallow. I had to be willing to open myself to perspectives or judgments that were uncomfortable, in order for the characters to fully evolve.

Karen: Do you have a writing mentor? How did that relationship develop?

Kimberly: I’ve been lucky beyond imagination to have so many accomplished and gracious authors coming alongside me at different stages on this journey. I’ve met other authors at writing conferences and through social media and been amazed that they’re almost always willing to lend their advice and a moment of encouragement to a fledgling. I am very aware of the precious value of their time and I think that is part of the beauty of the writing community, that we value one another and each other’s stories in a way that is noncompetitive and supportive.

Not only writers, but many others in the publishing industry including agents, editors and independent booksellers, have played the role of mentor and friend. The fact that they accepted a writer before publication and showed enthusiasm and continued interest in the work simply because they respected the process was an act of faith that carried me a long way. I try to find ways to pass that along every day.

Now I’m sticking my neck out to start visiting bookstores for signings and readings, I’m overwhelmed by the welcome attitude of booksellers and the generous wisdom and helping hand of veteran authors. This book would have never seen the light of day without them.

Karen: Your single best writing advice?

Kimberly: Trusting the process. That’s kind of like trying to convince a woman she doesn’t really want an epidural because the natural process of labor is beautiful and rewarding, but seriously, it’s true. I keep trying to read something or watch some presentation that will give me the secret, but that’s just stupid. No one writer’s process is the same just like no two books are the same. There’s no use rushing it. I’m a global thinker and I have this broad idea, a kind of amorphous vision of a work and I want to get to the finished piece in this neat, controlled way that never happens. I have to force myself to relax in the bog of my imagination until something floats to the top that I can latch on to. And all that time, I’m convincing myself I’m not crazy. I have to know that I’m going to come full circle, and that I am an idiot kind of writer who is going to do it all the hard way. And then I have to hope I’m eventually going to be smart enough to write the book of my dreams, because when I’m writing I always know I’m not smart enough. I have to let the book teach me something first.

Karen: What are you working on now?

Kimberly: Another southern mystical piece involving an authentic but forgotten and discredited piece of American history about a woman whose voice has been lost for centuries and the man whose love made her story immortal.

P r a i s e
  • " The River Witch welcomes the reader to a haunted landscape, authentically Southern, where the tragedies of the past and the most fragile, gorgeous kind of love-soaked hope are equally alive. This is one debut that you absolutely should not
    miss."

    ~~ Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of Backseat Saints

    "Kimberly Brock’s The River Witch achieves what splendid writing ought to achieve – story and character that linger in the reader’s consciousness. Tender and intriguing, often dazzling in its prose, this is a mature work of fiction worthy of the celebration of praise."

    ~~ Terry Kay, Honored Georgia author of To Dance With the White Dog

A d d   t o   g o o d r e a d s
  • goodreads add book

    The River Witch


M o r e   p r a i s e
  • "There is magic and wonder in The River Witch, but the real enchantment here is the strength of the characters Roslyn and Damascus. Their voices are the current that carries the reader along in this compelling tale of healing and discovery."

    ~~ Sharyn McCrumb, New York Times bestselling author of The Ballad of Tom Dooley.

    "With lyrical prose, Kimberly Brock explores the hidden places of the heart. The River Witch is a magical and bewitching story that, like a river, winds its way through the soul. In the voices of her wounded characters, Brock takes us through both the breaking and the healing of a life."

    ~~ Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author of Driftwood Summer