Cover To Cover is the anchor program for GPB’s literary coverage. Cover To Cover features a collection of distinctive Southern voices interviewing Georgia writers, Southern writers, and writers dealing with the South. The GPB Southern Lit Cadre will provide you with a varied, weekly glimpse at fiction, non-fiction, history, poetry, and even the occasional ‘old school’ nod to Flannery O’Connor or William Faulkner.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

November's Cover to Cover

The next edition of Cover to Cover airs this Sunday evening, November 25, at 8PM. Joining me in the studio to talk and take questions about her new novel, Queen of Broken Hearts (Hyperion, 2007), will be South Carolina author Cassandra King.

Queen of Broken Hearts is the story of Clare Ballenger, an Alabama divorce therapist who works wonders for her clients but can’t seem to work the same magic for herself or those closest to her.

From the book jacket:
"It’s not easy being the Queen of Broken Hearts. Just ask Clare, who has willingly assumed the mantle while her career as a divorce coach thrives. Now she’s preparing to open a permanent home for the retreats she leads, on a slice of breathtaking property on the Alabama coast owned by her mother-in-law. Make that former mother-in-law, a colorful eccentric who teaches Clare much about love and sacrifice and living freely.

When Clare’s marriage ends in tragedy, her work becomes the sole focus of her life. While Clare has no problem helping the hundreds of men and women who seek her advice to mend their broken hearts, healing her own is another matter entirely. Falling in love again is the last thing she wants.

So when Lex -- a charismatic, charming, burly sea captain -- moves to town to run the marina, Clare insists they remain friends and nothing more. But even though she fights it, she begins to fall for him -- and then finds she has a rival, his estranged wife Annalee.

A story infused with all the flavors, textures, and intrigues of a small Southern town, with a rich, resonant center, Queen of Broken Hearts is a bold step forward for Cassandra King."

Now, I hear some people objecting to, or at least questioning, my choice of Cassandra King for November’s show. Not because she’s not a good writer (which, of course, she is), but because she’s not a Georgia writer.

My answer is “Quite correct.” However, she was born in Alabama, lives in South Carolina, has spent a lot of time in Georgia, and is married to a Georgian. Furthermore, there are readers all over Georgia who love her books, and (and this is the crucial one) she really wanted to be on the show!

Now, when an author as accomplished and as popular as Ms. King wants to spend an hour in the Cover to Cover studio taking listener questions, who am I to say “no”? Add to that the fact that she’s married to another famous Southern author by the name of Pat Conroy, and you can see how difficult it would have been for me to refuse.

Truth be told there have been other “non-Georgian but Southern” authors on the show in its 10-year history; Elizabeth Cox (Night Talk) and Tommy Hays (In the Family Way) to name just two. So there is ample precedent for inviting Cassandra King to join us Sunday evening at 8PM. [Pictured right: Cassandra King. Photo credit: Andy Anderson]

I’ve heard King read from Queen of Broken Hearts on several occasions this year. She was one of the featured authors at the Dahlonega Literary Festival back in February, and I then attended an event she did at the Margaret Mitchell House and Museum in June. I was thrilled when she signed my copy of Queen of Broken Hearts for me and wrote “It’s such an honor to sign a book for you!” Flattery, Cassandra, will get you everywhere!!

King is the author of three previous novels, Making Waves (2004), The Sunday Wife (2002), and The Same Sweet Girls (2005), as well as numerous short stories. She lives in the South Carolina Low country with her husband, Pat Conroy.

Here’s what reviewers have said about Queen of Broken Hearts:

• “King delivers what her fans want—strong bonds, strong women characters and triumph over tragedy.”—Publishers Weekly
• “King's vivid and charming portrayal of southern small-town life enriches this moving and genuine story of midlife revelations.”—Booklist
• “Cassandra King has written a wonderful and uplifting tale, about women helping other women in a small Alabama town. Full of romance and surprises along the way.”—Fannie Flagg, author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe
• “Queen of Broken Hearts is an absolutely fabulous story of healing and hope, filled with irresistible characters that are beautifully drawn and have great insights into life. I laughed and cried, and you will, too… I absolutely adored this book.”—Dorothea Benton Frank, author of The Land of Mango Sunsets
I know Sunday’s program will be a good one, and I hope that, wherever you may be in the world, you’ll tune in to listen and maybe even call in. We always use a toll-free number, 1-866-RADIO GA (1-866-723-4642), and the show is streamed live on the GPB website.

So join Cassandra King and myself on the radio or online Sunday evening at 8 for an hour that will focus on Queen of Broken Hearts.

Hope to hear from you.

[If you have comments or questions about this, or any other, Cover to Cover blog entry, please email me at Thank you.]