In Ladies' Night, the latest from bestselling author Mary Kay Andrews, a woman faces total collapse and renewal.
How would you describe your books?
I write books about women whose lives have been turned upside down and inside out, but who figure out how to fix themselves. Reinvention is always a theme of my books. I think that's common to so many of us. Things happen and you say, “I don't know if I can do this. I don't know if I can survive this. I don't know if I can pull this out,” and you do. Because you have to.
The main character in Ladies’ Night is a lifestyle blogger. Are you a big reader of those blogs?
Oh, yes! I love reading what my editor calls ‘decorator porn.’ I love blogs like Young House Love, Cote de Texas, Miss Mustard Seed. Houses and home are always a touch point in my novels. And it’s what I do–I like to write about what kind of junk I’m buying or what I’m painting or fixing. I love the idea that if you paint something, it will bring you peace.
Where did the stories of revenge in the book come from?
I asked on my Facebook page, “How did you get back at an ex who did you wrong?” And people shared these things on my page, and the really dreadful stuff they private messaged me. So while I changed things around, some of the acts of revenge in the book came directly from fans and people I know who said, “This is what happened to me."The idea of getting back at somebody and having the last say is delicious. The reality of it is that it keeps you in a bad place and stops you from finding some kind of healing. The ultimate revenge is fixing yourself and moving on.
Your writing is funny and accessible, but you’re often dealing with difficult subjects. How do you balance humor with the darkness?
Everyone has had dark things happen to them. And of course you want to wallow a little. But eventually you want to pick yourself up and dust yourself off. If I were a painter, I would say you have to limn dark with light. So if I can put some sunshine in with the shadows, that really brings out the contrast.
You started out writing mysteries, which are now being re-released. Can you talk about those books, and how they connect to a book like Ladies’ Night?
I love the idea of a con or a scam, which comes up in the things that happen to my characters. When I came up with the idea for Savannah Blues, I started with a murder. And when I solved the murder, I thought I was done. But my editor said, “Nobody cares about that. Go back and figure out what happens with Weezie and Daniel.” And that was hard for me! Murder turns out to be really easy. I can figure out murder, but figuring out love and questions of how people stay together and how they find each other? That's harder.
In addition to Ladies’ Night and the mystery reissues, my readers and I both wanted another Weezie and BeBe story, so there will be a Christmas book with them, Christmas Bliss, out in October.