Friday, April 04, 2008

Pat Conroy Interviews His Wife, Cassandra King

I posted here, almost exactly one year ago, that Pat Conroy's new novel was almost finished. Well, twelve months later I'm still anxiously waiting to see it show up in my local bookstore or to read something else about Pat's plans for that elusive next book.

The search term "Pat Conroy" is consistently one of the major drivers of internet traffic to this site, so I know there are countless others out there who can't wait to get their hands on the next Pat Conroy book, too. I'm sorry to say that I don't have any new information regarding the book, but I did find this great YouTube video this afternoon in which Pat interviews his wife, Cassandra King, about her own latest book, Queen of Broken Hearts.


Don't you love those accents? Or am I just showing my positive bias toward everything about the Deep South?

30 comments:

  1. Nice video. I've been a Pat Conroy fan since my first read of his.

    marcus

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  2. Thanks for the nice comment, Marcus.

    BTW, I'm really starting to worry about Pat's "missing book." It sure seems to be taking a long time to get this one published.

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  3. I found your blog while trying to figure out if there's a new Conroy book coming soon. Thanks for posting the video. Since I love the writer and want him to be around for a VERY long time, I have to add that I'm worried about him, he doesn't look all that healthy, and I've wondered if that's why it's taking so long for his next novel to be published...

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  4. I agree CMDaffy -

    Cassandra needs to get after that comb-over while he sleeps if necessary - it needs to GO!

    In all seriousness, Mr. Conroy does not look well as he ascends the steps at the end of the video. I hope all is well with him.

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  5. cmdaffy, my concern is that the book was announced so long ago and then all word about it just disappeared. Pat normally does take a long time between books so maybe the announcement was just premature. I'm hoping that's all it was.

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  6. I, too, hope that Conroy is well, anonymous. Only time will tell what the story on this book is...hoping all is just taking its normal time, though, since his books usually don't come all that quickly.

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  7. Pat Conroy is just an amazing writer. You can't rush talent like his. When I see writers spit out books left and right, it makes me cautious. Conroy always takes quite some time between books, and I think that's a good thing; he's a true genius is his field! Plus, I just love the overwhelming excitement that his publications generate!

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  8. I agree with you about Conroy, anonymous. My concern is the article of over a year ago that said the book was almost ready. That was probably a very premature announcement and all is on schedule...I hope.

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  9. 2 1/2 years ago, I was visiting my best friend who lives on a small island in South Carolina. Pat Conroy lives down the street. I had always been saying that because he is my favorite author, I would just have to knock on his door to meet him.

    So I did. I mustered the courage and brazen nerve to knock on Pat Conroy's door.

    His gracious wife, Sandra King (a successful author herself), opened the door. After stammering that I wasn't a dangerous stalker and I was a huge fan of her husband and her, she invited me and my friend inside. Pat (yes, we are now on a first name basis) wasn't home that day, but we spent a wonderful hour with Sandra.

    When I walked away, I had the satisfaction of meeting a wonderful person and knowing I had finally taken the risk to meet my favorite author.

    Several hours later, my friend got a phone call from Sandra. Pat wanted to meet us!

    Needless to say, we were running around the house with laughter and a lot of screaming. Shortly, Sandra and the Great Pat Conroy arrived at the door.

    We spent several hours with them. Pat was extremely personable, funny, vulnerable and asked many questions of us. He shared stories about his life and most recent events.

    I could have published his words.

    He made jokes about his new book, saying that it was already over 800 pages and way too long.

    He sent me an e-mail the next day saying how nice it was to meet both of us. The e-mail was very funny (very dry sense of humor) and one I will always keep in my "Mail Saved" folder.

    Also, my friend and I had written a humor manuscript about mid-life. A French publisher had bought the French rights to the book and Pat Conroy offered to write a blurb for our book, as did his wife. Needless to say, we took him and his wife up on their offer which they graciously followed through on.

    Never in a million years would I have ever believed that Pat Conroy would be writing a blurb for any book that I would write. But he and his wife both did which I will always consider to be an incredible gift.

    I recently wrote his wife asking about the book and when was it going to be published, but haven't heard back yet. I will certainly post if I get a response.

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  10. What great stories, Mary. I really appreciate you taking the time to share your experiences with us.

    Pat is one of my very favorite writers, too, and my perception of him has always been that he's a nice guy, someone who would be a good friend.

    I can well imagine how much fun that first visit was and how much you appreciate he and his wife's friendship.

    Do get back to us if you hear anything about timing on the next book. I get more hits on this website from people searching for info on Pat than from any other single subject, so I know that people are very interested about his plans.

    Thanks.

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  11. Hi Sam,

    Thanks for your comments. I will say that after spending a couple of hours with Pat Conroy and the stories he was telling about his life...this man has a huge heart and is a fiercely loyal and generous friend.

    He told me his book was based on his real life experience of moving to San Francisco to spend time with a good friend who was dying of AIDS. While there, he and his friend met a young man who was HIV positive from the South who had been disowned by his family and friends and had come to SF to die alone.

    My impression is that the location was changed to somewhere in the South...but the story he told us was very moving and very real.

    I'm glad I found your site and again, will post if I get a reply back...or keep checking here. He had said it was a very long book, at least 800 pages and so perhaps it's just been a tedious editing job.

    We can only hope. Have you read his cookbook? It's like a small memoir centered around food. It is wonderful and interesting and lets you in on a personal level about his life and the different people who have influenced him. Very unexpected and some great recipes too! The crab cakes are particularly good!

    Mary

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  12. Mary, the clues that Pat shared with you about his next book have got me more anxious than ever to get my hands on it. It sounds like a very moving book. I know from experience how difficult it is to watch someone die from aids - an employee of mine, a very young man, did so almost 20 years ago and I still think about what he suffered.

    I haven't seen the cookbook but it sounds as if I should take a look. Thanks.

    Please stay in touch.

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  13. Hi Sam,

    I think if you like Pat Conroy, you will love his cookbook and the many stories he shares.

    Yes, when he told us the story of this young man, you could feel the empathy and the compassion he and his friend felt for him. It was a sad moving story, and made me realize that there are many strangers out there who are willing to befriend strangers. I can't wait for this book.

    As for the AIDS tragedies, many years ago when my father was recovering from a difficult brain surgery, the man in the room next to him was filling the air with screams of pain. These screams went on for a long time.

    When I asked a nurse what was wrong with him, she said that he was in the end stages of AIDS. Hearing the reality of this disease was stunning and sad. What was sadder still was that in the waiting room were his only two friends. His family had disowned him because of his sexual orientation.

    At the time, I was involved in a conservative church that was quite frankly very judgmental towards homosexuals. This experience so transformed me that I returned home, stopped going to the church, went back to graduate school and have been working as a family, individual and marital therapist ever since.

    I know that Pat's book will be filled with compassion and perhaps arouse more understanding around the issue of family alienation that has resulted in thousands of suicides by young men and women who are too afraid to tell their parents that they are gay.

    Thanks again for your comment.

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  14. LATEST BREAKING NEWS:

    From the mouth of Cassandra King, Pat Conroy's new book will be released August 2009!!!

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  15. Mary, thanks for the shout of good news. I'm happy to finally see a date and, although I wish it were much sooner, I'm sure it will be worth the wait, as always with a new Pat Conroy book.

    Thanks so much.

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  16. Sam,

    I agree it's a bit tortuous to have to wait until August of 09. But I'm relieved and happy to mark this on my 2009 calendar.

    I was really worrying his book would never see the light of day.

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  17. I was starting to worry, also, Mary, especially since I first posted here in April 2007 that his new book was soon to be released. Those were the rumors back then...now August 2009. That's a huge time lag, isn't it?

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  18. SOUTH OF BROAD by Pat Conroy
    The Book will be out in August 2009

    For readers of The Prince of Tides, The Great Santini, and Beach Music, August 2009 will be a month of great storytelling by America’s favorite storyteller.

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  19. Amazon has his latest South of Bard on pre-order right now. It will be released August 9, 2009. There needs to be a grand celebration!

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  20. Thanks for the heads-up about the pre-ordering availability, Anonymous...much appreciated.

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  21. Pat Conroy is such a wonderful writer that I don't mind waiting years between books. I have an audio version of Beach Music, narrated by Frank Mueller, which includes an interview with the author. In fact I have 2 copies! I listen to it at least twice a year so when I saw another set on ebay I grabbed it so I could replace anything that may wear out :D
    I would give anything to meet him and tell him how much I love his work. He was in my city to promote My Losing Season and I was out of town!!!!!! I have my fingers crossed for the next book tour. His mastery of language and character development touch my soul.
    Thanks for all the great info everybody!!

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  22. I just found this quote from another brilliant writer and it epitomizes Pat Conroy's books:
    "A good book should leave you...slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it." ~ William Styron (1925-2006), American novelist

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  23. Sue, you sound like quite the avid Pat Conroy fan...hope you finally get to meet him sometime.

    I love it when so many people respond to a post to the point that it takes on a life of its own like this one has.

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  24. Oh,thanks, too for the quote, Sue. I like that one a lot and may have to borrow it for the top right hand corner of my blog. :-)

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  25. Hi Sam,
    I found this site while searching for anything new on Pat Conroy.
    Love it!! And I know what you mean about "taking on a life of its own".
    I looooove talking about and reading what people think about books and authors!!
    I hope to meet him but will probably make a fool out of myself if I do :D
    Thanks a lot ~
    Sue

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  26. Sam, Glad you like the quote too.
    It really echos my sentiments about a good book but in words I'd never think of.

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  27. Sue, I love the quote, it really describes Pat Conroy. I also love Beach Music -- it is my favorite book. Because you are so familiar with it, I have a question. I listened to Beach Music for the first time years ago -- I checked it out from the library. Recently, I downloaded the book from audible.com. There is a section I remember from my fist "reading" that is not in the downloaded version (which is not abridged). It is a story of the male characters getting lost on a raft and floating at sea until they almost die. Am I remembering this from another book?

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  28. Baby Seals- wrong book :D
    The scene when they were on the boat resulted in them being hurt but survived it together. I agree- it's my favorite book! Glad you like the quote too.
    William Styron was another great one.

    I honestly can't think of one character in Beach Music I don't like in some way- even the unlikable ones :D

    Oh wait- Lucy's father. Can't like him! But even General Elliott has a tiny bit of goodness in him.
    Mr. Conroy's characters are so complex and amazing.
    Did you get to hear the interview with the author?? It's great.

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  29. Hi everyone!

    Do any of you know a writer who could ghost for me? I have trying for many, many years to write the stories of 34 years of being a hospice nurse, but I am soooo bad at it. I have taken courses, and now I have resigned myself to dictating the stories to someone TALENTED, then we can mold the voice and texture of the book. I want to write this so my three adult children will know a little about what I did and where I went for so many years, in the middle of the night.
    Thank you,
    Nina

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  30. Hi Nina,
    Wow, what a book that would be! I have a good friend who is a nurse but is also a very good writer, with years of experience with nursing and writing. Writing is her real passion.
    I'm also a nurse and think hospice is probably the most rewarding of all. I admire hospice nurses so much!
    So I will contact her and see what she thinks!
    In the meantime, good luck and don't give up that dream!!
    Sue

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