Interview: Summer’s Reigning Queen, Mary Kay Andrews

Mary Kay Andrews is a New York Times bestselling author of women’s fiction. The Weekenders her 24th novel. A newspaper journalist for 14 years, she spent the last ten years as a features writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She describes her books as romantic comedies, with heroines who are forced to reinvent themselves in ways they’d never expected, after their lives are upended. We caught up with her for fun advice on what to read and drink this summer.

What are you reading now? 
I have Laura Lippman’s newest suspense novel, Wild Lake on my iPad, and the first of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, My Brilliant Friend on my nightstand. I suppose as a novelist my expectations for a book have been raised. If a story doesn’t hook me in the first chapter or so, I become restless and put it aside. I’m also always trying to figure out what makes a good book work, how an admired author manages to write something so fresh and unique that it makes me burn with envy.

What was the most interesting thing that you found out while researching this book that you ultimately decided not to include?
Since Riley, the protagonist of the book, is facing foreclosure on her vacation home, I did a lot of reading about North Carolina real estate law, foreclosure, and eviction law. Actually important, although not fascinating stuff. And I read about hurricanes, and their history on the North Carolina coast.

The Weekenders is set in one of the most ideal places we can imagine, what do you do and what other places would you suggest readers go to unwind?
I love the beach, and my husband and I own two vacation rental homes on Tybee Island, outside of Savannah. We love to be there off-season, ride bikes, walk the beach, and cook with friends. My husband goes fishing and I go hunting–antiques! I grew up on Florida’s Gulf Coast, and those are some of my favorite beaches in the country, with turquoise water, sugar white sand, and exotic tropical greenery. North Carolina’s coast is also beautiful, and for The Weekenders, I loosely based the setting, Belle Isle, on Baldhead Island, which is a real barrier island, reachable only by ferry.

Favorite thing to drink at the beach?
My daughter Katie makes a mean Beergarita punch, and I also love grapefruit-flavored LaCroix sparkling water. And I never say no to Whispering Angel rose wine.

Tell us, what’s next?
I’m already in the planning stages for a novel set on a barrier island off the coast of Georgia, featuring Brooke, the runaway bride from an earlier novel, Save The Date. In the meantime, I’ll be touring and promoting The Weekenders.

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