Fun with Kristin Harmel and Mary Kay Andrews
Last summer, during the 2020 Covid madness, I was desperate for something to read. I was pregnant, jobless, and sitting at home avoiding the Florida heat. Days took hours and minutes and seconds to slowly drip by.
Books turned out to be one of the life rafts that got me through the pandemic. I would go to the all-too-quiet Deerwood library here in Jacksonville and wander the aisles. The leisurely roam was one way to fill the summer minutes.
How to Choose a Good Book
I randomly chose book after book from the fiction section. After getting a Bachelor’s in English and taking graduate classes on Literay, Cultural and Textual Studies, I boldly embraced my freedom to read whatever I wanted.
Before I spent my time reading classical works, the American novels, epics by sci-fi entreprenuers with post-structuralist theories, British and Victorian novels, and, of course, Chaucer and Shakespeare. This doesn’t include the batch of forgotten authors I studied while exploring a philosophy minor in early undergrad.
To sum up, I studied a lot of extremely talented and boring writers. It was exhausting. Meanwhile, I just wanted to devour chick-lit.
I just wanted that story of a recently broken up quirky girl living in New York City who leaves her medical filing job to make runway wedding dresses and dating her soon-to-be husband who she met at a fancy shoestore while picking up loafers for her overbearing boss that pretty much owns the garment district.
You know the story.
You Can Count on Harmel
While I was glorying in choosing books by the cover, title and reading a page in the middle, I would sometime come to a dead end and find the story lost my interest. Except for those few authors who I knew that I could totally devour anything they put on paper. Kristin Harmel is one of these.
I was super excited that Harmel was coming to The Bookmark in Neptune Beach for a reading last year. Unfortunately, it was Covid cancelled. However, learning about her reading motivated me to sign up for The Bookmark’s mailing list. Also, it pushed me to find alternative ways to get more Harmel in my life.
I discovered that Harmel was part of a facebook group of authors, Friends and Fiction (F &F). The page has live segments where authors speak with fans. I decided to check out the other authors on the page. I found out I really liked Mary Kay Andrews.
Christmas Bliss in July
Christmas Bliss really won me over. It was July. I was 6-months pregnant and one of the main characters, all-too-pregnant BeBe Loudermilk freaks out of what to wear to her baby shower. She can’t fit into anything and just doesn’t want to go. It was like meeting a distant pregnant friend. It was much needed in a time when other moms-to-be were all holed up indoors and hoping to not get the virus.
Next, I had to read Blue Christmas to get more of the happy holiday feels to get my through my endless stuck-at-home summer.
I read most of Andrews books in the fiction section. Then I started exploring the large print section to see if there was anything I missed. (My husband teases me because in addition to checking out large print books, I started knitting during the pandemic).
I’m currently reading Hello, Summer in large print. I will admit that my reading rate has significantly slowed since my newborn arrived. But I still make time for Mary Kay Andrews here and there.
Upcoming Mary Kay Andrews Events
My Harmel and F&F fandom keeps paying off. I found out that May 14th, the day after my birthday, Mary Kay Andrews is doing a signing at The Bookmark! I may have missed Harmel’s reading, but in two weeks I have a chance to see another beloved writer. I am counting down the days!
Until then, I can get a little taste by jumping onto the F&F fan page. Tonite, April 30th, there is a F&F Book Club Happy Hour with Ron Block & Mary Kay Andrews. Good thing I have some pinot grigio in the fridge. Can’t wait to tune in for the happy hour at 7:30 PM EDT!