Monday, November 5, 2007

An Interview with Jan Karon!

A few weeks ago, I decided to see if our magazine's "Book Nook" online book group moderator could possibly receive an advance copy of Jan Karon's new book, "Home to Holly Springs." I like to say that while I'm a Jan Karon fan, and have read all of her novels at least once, Liz is the "fanatic," as she has read all nine of the Mitford novels six or seven times each. Jan's publicist in New York, Ann Day, quickly responded to my request and sent the copy so Liz could start reading. We ended up exchanging e-mails about Jan's appearance coming up at the Carter Center in Atlanta tonight, which Liz and I had made plans to attend. It dawned on me that I might ask her publicist if Jan would be granting any media interviews. Yes! Would we like to meet Jan at her hotel for a one-on-one visit prior to the event? Would we ever! And so the plans were made ...

Not wanting to risk being late, we got to the Ritz-Carlton about 8:30 a.m., and though we were early, so were Jan and her entourage (with her above are editor Carolyn Carlson, publicist Ann Day and daughter Candace Freeland). What a delight! Although we were booked for 30 minutes with Jan, she graciously gave us an hour, and Liz and I were in heaven. As our time was drawing to a close, I finally had a chance to ask Jan something I've wanted to know for quite a while ...

Mitford fans, you know how Cynthia and Father Tim are always sharing a pot of tea? I just KNEW this means Jan is a major tea fan, and I wanted to know what kinds/brands of tea she and they drink. I read of one pot being Earl Grey, but what about her characters' other favorites? Jan told me she has no idea! While she likes the idea of tea and drinks it sometimes "for medicinal purposes," it's daughter Candace who is the real tea fan. (Candace likes green tea, and she and her mother have taken to drinking rooibos together, she tells me.) I'll be writing about our visit with Jan for the January/February issue of the magazine, and Liz will be writing online at the Book Nook, but of course the tea news from this day absolutely could not wait. These women were incredibly lovely, and we were all swapping hugs before we left. Jan signed our books for us, and -- get this -- she said she will make it a point to think about the tea when she writes about Father Tim and Cynthia's trip to Ireland in her next book. Having recently finished "Holly Springs" (more surprises than you can imagine), I'm now eager to read the next of these Father Tim novels!


  1. Oh! How lucky to meet her in person and get a whole hour to chat!! I just finished reading "Home to Holly Springs," and can't wait for the next installment. It's too long between books for me!

  2. What a wonderful, delightful opportunity for you! Congratulations! And maybe your NaNoWriMo experience will bring you to be the next Jan Karon! :-) Thanks for the comments on my blog. I cheerfully look forward to reading yours!

  3. I too was fortunate to see Ms. Karon in November 2007 at the Carter Center and found out at the last minute that she and her daughter were also at Sam's Club in Alpharetta that Saturday AM prior to the Monday evening lecture. I rushed over Saturday morning but when I got there I was so overwhelmed that I could hardly speak. I regret that I could not even mention how thrilled I was to be able to meet her. That I had been to Blowing Rock earlier in the fall for the Mitford Days Festival with family members but was unable to stay for the whole four day event however we did get to enjoy the play adapted by Robert Inman along with Ms. Karon's guidance and it was just great.

    Like your friend Liz I too have read and re-read the books several times and have also finished Home to Holly Springs and can hardly wait for the next Father Tim series.

    Several of my fellow church members from St. Teresa's Episcopal Church in Acworth, GA came down for the lecture that night and had a wonderful time. I am so envious of you getting to spend some time with her and I did get to speak briefly with Ms. Freeland, her daughter. Told her how much I had enjoyed her photography on the website and also in the Mitford Bedside Companion book. She was very kind that evening even though it was very crowded and confusing. I did not get to go through the line to meet Ms. Karon again as some of our group needed to get back home.

    Thank goodness I have found this site so that I might share in comments from time to time.

    By the way another good tea that I enjoy is Formoosa Oolang and I have probably butchered the spelling of it and am not going to run a spellcheck on this right now. My grandmother also used to enjoy plain old Lipton's but she always like cream and sugar in hers. It was pretty tasty that way.

    Have a good day and Happy New Year.

  4. I am a audiobook reader and I have listened twice. Now I am on my third time going up to box 7. Why is this book so hard to fine unabridged and so expensive? By the way I live in Alpharetta, GA and I am sorry i missed a chance to see MS Karon. Will this site keep me up to date with MS Karon?

  5. I just finished These High Green Hills. It talked about a "revival" Absaloom Greer had where Pauline and Lace got saved. Where is the account of that found. I recall reading it before but on this 3rd go raound I missed it.

  6. about the tea, I remember Father Tim mentioning dejeerling once


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