How are you planning to celebrate international women’s day?
By making sure all the amazing women in my life know I love and appreciate them!
Was there a woman who helped you get to where you are today?
Not “a” woman, but a gaggle of them! I’m blessed to have an amazing group of women in my family, and they have all been such amazing influences. (Thanks Momma, sisters, and all my aunties!) My publisher believed in me when I didn’t really believe in myself. (Thank you, Elizabeth North!) My best friends make sure I keep going, even when the going gets tough! (Thank you Amy, Charlie, Mary, & Xara!)
What are your thoughts on the role of the media in shaping young female minds? As a creator, how do you combat some of these reductive and negative stereotypes that can lead to low self-esteem, body negativity?
It makes me incredibly sad to see young women and girls comparing themselves to photoshopped perfection that can never be obtained. I recently watched a video where a makeup artist shared how they obtain that perfection using lighting and filters and my mind was blown. I combat those negative stereotypes by being myself, proud of who I am and what I look like, and by not making excuses and apologizing.
Tell us about your newest book?
My newest book is called Blue Ribbon Roses and will be out in Fall, 2017. It’s the third book in my Holly Creek series, set in a small town in North Carolina. I adore small town antics and tried to capture the spirit of the town where I grew up.
Do you share any traits with any of your characters? Are there any of your characters that you admire or deplore? (optional)
I’m definitely similar to characters in Holly Creek. Very sassy & Southern. I’m a little too similar to Clover Crofton sometimes. She’s Jefferson Lee’s best friend in Holly Creek, and she’s not afraid to speak her mind and tell it like it is. She also makes everybody laugh and is a bit bossy. I might, possibly, be a lot like that.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I’d ask myself to start an exercise routine earlier, because it’s hard to correct that bad habit when you’re in your forties. I’d tell myself to not be afraid, to live and explore and enjoy the adventure. I’d encourage myself to believe in my talent and to not let myself be my own obstacle.
What book do you go back to again and again for inspiration?
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is my go to comfort read. It inspires my writing by having a large cast of characters, each with their own story to tell. I love how the characters in that book have stood the test of time, and how each time I read the book, I pick up something new about someone. And let’s face it: Mr. Darcy makes me swoon.
How do you define feminism? What do you say to people who claim they aren’t feminists?
I define feminism as the belief that men and women are equals. It’s really as simple as that for me. Every person has strengths and weaknesses. I don’t believe those strengths are determined by what is in your pants. I don’t say anything to people who claim they aren’t feminists. The amazing thing about the country I live in is that we are all entitled to our beliefs, whether or not we agree.
What would you say to a young woman questioning her worth, value, or place in the world?
I’d tell her that she’s worth everything. That she has value more than she can possibly imagine, and that her place in the world is whatever she wants it to be. I’d advise her to work hard, so very hard, and surround herself with friends who not only believe in her as she is today, but see the value in what she will become.
In the spirit of the ever popular Instagram hashtag #WCW (Woman Crush Wednesday) – who’s your #1 woman crush right now? Any why?
I have a total woman crush on J.K. Rowling right now. Not only is she a writing genius, who created a world that is beloved all over the planet, but she is totally not afraid to stand up for herself and speak up for what she believes is right. I adore her!
Add two parts sass and one part sweet and you have Poppy Dennison to T—sweet tea that is. Raised by a gaggle of Southern women who love reading and have backbones of steel, Poppy was brought up to see the best in people but always speak her mind. Mix it all together, like Grandma’s famous cobbler, and you get a sassy, Southern lady with a quick wit and loads of charm, who will soften any blow with “Bless your heart.” Her books reflect her small town roots, are filled with all the comforts of home, and come with side dish of spicy, because that’s the way she likes it.