From my Mom and her baby sister, my Aunt Beatrice, I inherited a love of books; both of these ladies could read a novel in a day with time to spare. Since I was a kid, I’ve had an especial fondness for stories set in the South, and I have always liked mysteries as well. So when I discovered Mary Kay Andrews, and her Callahan Garrity series in the 90’s, I became besotted with her novels. I just fell in love with the characters, particularly Callahan’s feisty Southern Mama, Miss Edna (who reminded me of my own spirited Mother), the nearly blind and close-to-deaf duo Baby and Sister, and the trailer livin’ Neva Jean. With titles to enchant audiences, such as To Live and Die in Dixie, Every Crooked Nannie, and one of my favorites, Strange Brew (part of which took place in my old stomping ground of middle Georgia) I eagerly awaited each new addition. So imagine my absolute delight, and excitement, when I learned that we had a mutual friend, one who belonged to my small Savannah Supper Club, and Mary Kay was coming to dinner!
(With the author in my library holding a copy of Savannah Blues)
Mary Kay joined our group that night, and as Forrest Gump would have said, “We went together like peas and carrots.” She fit right in with our pack of food-loving, cocktail consuming, novel reading, and opinionated politicos as if she’d known us from Kindergarten days. Contacts made that night flourished, but we would have never guessed that our dinner group would be prominently featured in her next book, Savannah Blues. My fifteen minutes of fame came as a main character, the handsome (ahem), Kennedy-esque assistant DA was named in my honor, and one of the scenes of the book – a dinner with our very own Ardsley Park Supper Club – took center stage in one of the chapters.
Mary Kay has gone on to pen several NY Times bestsellers besides Savannah Blues, and introduced audiences to even more funny, engaging, and adventurous characters that have you turning page after enjoyable page. Her newest book, Save the Date, just hit the stands earlier this month; it promises to be another smash hit.
(Mary Kay making a guest appearance at our Ardsley Park Supper Club)
Besides being a phenomenal writer and storyteller, MKA is also a fabulous cook, and I’ve asked her to share one of her recipes with us in this blog. Her husband, Tom, also very much knows his way around the kitchen, and an invitation to one of their stellar parties on Tybee Island is highly coveted. Decorated in retro-chic furnishings, their home is as warm and comforting as a hug from your best friend.
Too, I have to share that Mary Kay also has a heart the size of Atlanta and is one of the most thoughtful people I’ve ever met. She had signed many books for my Mother over the years, who was a big fan and owned copies of all MKA’s works. When Mama passed away, Mary Kay was writing a new novel, Ladies Night, and unbeknownst to me, she added a character in the book named Joyce Barrett. I got a call from a friend one afternoon soon after the book’s publication, and she said “Your Mom sure is a character in Mary Kay Andrew’s new book!” (Which, by the way, was true to form). I was totally shocked, and taken by complete surprise. It also made me a little teary-eyed. What a truly lovely and oh-so-wonderful gesture……to know Mary Kay is to love her. I suppose that gift was one of the most special I’ve ever received, and it just speaks volumes about his fantastic lady.
So here’s to my good friend and fantastic author MKA – love ya’, shug! A