Sunday, June 10, 2012

Guest Post By THE RIVER WITCH Author Kimberly Brock

Award-winning author Kimberly Brock, whose novel The River Witch is She Reads' June selection and in Huffington Post's Summer's Sizzling Southern Fiction list, is one of those rare people with a sincerity transcending the bounds of social media as well as the page.

Though I have never met her, she has taken time to give me birthing tips, to encourage me in the juggling act of writing and parenting, and to mail my young daughter her first Jane Austen primer. So, I am honored to have Kimberly visiting with us, as the least I can do in return is to share her sweetness and her story.
I know you will enjoy both.
"Tender and Tenacious Shoots"

By Kimberly Brock

When I began writing my novel, The River Witch, the inspiration came from an article I saw in a magazine about a couple of women who decided to open a pumpkin farm. They were holding a weekend celebration for the harvest. The out of the magazine and kept it, going back to it often. I couldn’t stop thinking how much I wanted to be there with those women. I could hear the music from the fiddle and the open-throat sound of the singers in the photographs. I could taste the fried chicken and grilled corn on the table. And it was all wrapped up in the shapes of their harvest, such a compelling illustration of the feminine divine, of sensuality and fertility and sustenance. I knew that I was going to tell a  story about it somehow.

As storytellers, our ideas all begin like this, with some small, often seemingly inconsequential, experience. Even if we are inspired by a tragedy or great joy in our own lives, we must boil the experience down to universal and lasting truths if the story is to have real meaning for the reader. What we must discover, essentially, is a seed. Our stories must plant something in the readers’ mind that will quietly take root, send out tender and tenacious shoots, and grow a new and thriving thought that has a life of its own. Only when we root our stories in truth do they have the power to transform not only our characters’ lives, but the lives of readers.

In The River Witch, ten-year-old, audacious, motherless Damascus Trezevant is depending on a pumpkin vine to change her life. She believes her mother has left the seeds that Damascus later plants, in order to help her understand the mysteries of life and death. I think the instructions for growing Damascus’ vines are my best advice to writers and storytellers, as well…

Inside a seed, there is a miracle…

You must search for the perfect spot to plant your seed, and then you can’t forget about it. Care for it every day without fail. You can’t be hasty. You can’t be careless. Once you plant your seed, it will have to make the most of your choices. Seeds need warmth, light and water to survive. They grow best in soil that has something to give, but not so rich that the seed doesn’t have to work at making something of itself. When the first little sprout appears, it will demand your protection. It will scare you to death, how easy it can be squashed. But when everything seems to work against you, when the world tries to kill your vine and the hungry things come, remember a good fight makes the strongest fruit. Watch over what you’ve planted. Treasure it and it will grow. And most important of all, don’t be afraid to cut deep and cut loose when things ripen.. Don’t be a girl who lets her gifts rot on a tough old vine…

To learn more about Kimberly Brock and The River Witch, visit these links below:

Twitter: @kimberlydbrock --!/kimberlydbrock/
Huffington Post Interview & Review with Jackie K Cooper:


  1. Such a beautiful post with so many truths, but my favorite is this idea of the seed. It is the core of our stories and it can come from anywhere--something tiny, something enormous--but it is that boiling down to its essence, as you suggest Kimberly, that is so important. It is the essence of the emotional content of that experience that makes our story worth telling and NEED telling.

    Hugs to both of you lovelies!!

    1. I agree with your words, Erika. Tapping into that emotional content can sometimes be difficult, but whenever we do, it is always such an amazing experience it makes us want to repeat it again and again.

      Thanks for visiting, friend! Xx

    2. "The essence of the emotional content..." I like that, wise one! xo

  2. The River Witch is on everyone's list this year. I will for sure read before 2012 ends.

    How's the baby???

    1. She's doing great, Nina. Finally starting to sleep a little longer at night and taking naps during the day. I feel like I'm getting my life back...and more, because she's now in it! :)

    2. Hey, Nina! I hope you enjoy the book and can't wait to hear your thoughts. xo

  3. Oh, Kim... what a lovely post (so happy to see you here). Those lines were some of my absolute favorites in your novel. Uncanny how applicable they are to the writing process!

    Your comment "we must boil the experience down to universal and lasting truths if the story is to have real meaning for the reader" is so astutel and true as well.

    And while I'm being truthful, I have to share a hilarious pumpkin seed story. I was making homemade trail-mix bars over the weekend, which called for pumpkin seeds. Since I use them so infrequently, it never occurred to me to take the white husks off to get to the GREEN seeds inside. So I have some rather "chewy" trail mix bars with shells and all :-). More fiber, right?

    Great post, Jolina. I find Kim to be just as gracious!

    1. Ha! I've DONE THAT!! I have a jar of the little green seeds and no one believes me when I tell them they're pumpkin seeds. ;)

    2. Love the trail mix story, Melissa. Reminds me of the time I tried to make hummus and used garlic heads instead of cloves. Vampires won't be touching me for years.

  4. Thank you, sweet Jolina, for having me on the blog and helping get the word out about my little book! I feel like I cheated a little with this post, relying on quotes from the novel. I hope I can come back this fall with something a little more creative. Your beautiful posts always put me and my scattered little offerings to shame.

    And while we're being honest, everyone must agree that motherhood suits you!

    1. Thanks, dear. I so love my little bundle of energy and joy! And you are more than welcome to guest post any time, although I do not feel like posting an excerpt is cheating at all--especially such a beautiful one.

  5. Wow. I love the story of your inspiration! I could just picture it - not only you turning back to the article over and over, but the pictures you described. No wonder they caught your attention and sparked a story. I loved your excerpt and cover, too. Must check it out!

  6. What a great post. Thank you, ladies, for such great writing. Now I want to read "The River Witch."

    1. I hope you will, Leah. Thank you for visiting! Xx

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