Author Archives: Carey Baldwin
Carey’s puppy, Scout, talks about TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, GO SET A WATCHMAN and contemplates the question posed by Randall Kennedy in the New York Times Sunday Book Review:
Would it have been better for (Harper Lee’s) earlier novel (GO SET A WATCHMAN) to have remained unpublished?
Like my namesake before me, I know how to get into plenty of trouble, but I have a big heart. My human mother, Carey Baldwin, named me after the protagonist in her favorite book, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. Last night at dinner, Carey’s mother-in-law complained that I am such a pretty girl, I should have a pretty name.
Why on earth would you name this puppy Scout? she asked Carey over a plateful of pasta.
I know the answer, and I’m proud of my name.
Scout is the person who taught Carey about justice, fairness and integrity. When Carey was ten years old, she read TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, a tale told through the eyes of a young girl named Scout (Like me! Only I’m a puppy.) Carey was young too, and boy did Scout make an impression. The vivid images in this exciting story stuck with Carey throughout her lifetime: toys hidden in the trunk of an old tree, a Halloween costume designed to look like a ham, a pair of britches stuck in a fence, and a father who could put everything that was wrong with the world right again.
We live in a world with many injustices, but sometimes, unless we’re the ones getting the raw deal, we remain unaware. Maybe the injustice is happening far away from where we live or go to school, maybe it’s close by, but we’re afraid to look at it, or maybe we simply don’t understand what’s right in front of us. Like the black marble drinking fountain three feet away from the white marble drinking fountain in a certain fancy department store in Carey’s hometown. Only after reading TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD did ten-year-old Carey notice.
Why are there two fountains? she asked her mother.
One is for whites and one is for colored people. That’s illegal now, but the fountains are still there, her mother answered. Sure enough, Carey could see the faded paint outlining a rectangular space on the wall that had once been occupied by a sign prohibiting blacks from drinking from the white fountain.
Carey grew up in a time and place where segregation in school, housing, and life was outlawed…yet still largely practiced. She didn’t know very many people who were different from herself, so she didn’t “see” a lot of things. Scout and Harper Lee taught her to open her eyes.
Randall Kennedy says:
“In America in 1960, the story of a decent white Southerner who defends an innocent black man charged with raping a white woman had the appeal of a fairy tale and the makings of a popular movie. Perhaps even more promising, though, was the novel Lee first envisioned (GO SET A WATCHMAN), the story of Jean Louise’s (Scout’s) adult conflicts between love and fairness, decency and loyalty. Fully realized, that novel might have become a modern masterpiece.”
“I think there’s a place for both books. I don’t believe we lost out because Harper Lee’s editor changed the time and setting of GO SET A WATCHMAN to that of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, or that Lee’s first attempt at the story should have remained unpublished. The truth is, Harper Lee’s vision and desire for fairness in the world comes through in both books. One is more polished, one has a hero, the other a flawed man and a conflicted daughter.
We need both books. We need all the windows we can get, because there’s simply not enough light in the world.”
Here’s a link to Kennedy’s full review of GO SET A WATCHMAN in the New York Times.
Have you read a book that has profoundly influenced your life?
P.S. The opinions expressed here are strictly my own.
Many thanks to the awesome Nancy Allen for joining us for a fun Friday! Please come back anytime, and guys don’t forget to check out A Killing at the Creek!
The winner of a ten dollar Starbucks gift card and choice of Nook or Kindle copy of A Killing at the Creek is: Patti Straight. Congrats to Patti! Please use the contact form to let us know your preference for Kindle or Nook and your preferred email for receipt of prizes.
Also, thanks to everyone who stopped by last Tuesday to celebrate the release of Gwen Hernandez’s new book, Blind Ambition!
The winner of an electronic copy of Blind Ambition is kimk. Congratulations! Please use the Contact Us link above to send us your preference for Kindle, Nook, iBooks, or Kobo and include your preferred email.
Next up our very own Rachel Grant previews her new release: Incriminating Evidence and talks Second Book Syndrome. Don’t miss it!
I couldn’t be more excited to share the cover of my new book, FALLEN, with you guys! I have to say I think the art department over at HarperCollins did me a solid. This just might be my favorite of all my Witness Impulse book covers. I’m pretty excited about the book too! I had a blast writing it, and I learned all kinds of cool stuff- like how to make a wax statue. FALLEN is available for pre-order now. Here’s the blurb for inquiring minds (yes, this is a sneak peek too).
A body just fell from the sky onto Hollywood Boulevard.
When a beautiful prostitute is dumped onto the Walk of Fame, FBI profiler Atticus Spenser and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Caitlin Cassidy are called in to solve one of their most baffling cases yet.
The media’s dubbed him the Fallen Angel Killer – a crazed murderer who’s leaving the bodies of high-priced call girls in Los Angeles tourist traps.
Then the killer raises the stakes, demanding that a mysterious celebrity publically admit to his sinful secrets —or he’ll dispose of his latest kidnapped escort. With every “john” the team exposes in their search for Celebrity X, another Hollywood secret is revealed and another charmed life is left in ruins.
Now time is running out, and Cassidy and Spenser will do anything to find the twisted serial killer…before another innocent woman winds up as the next grotesque tourist attraction.
PS JUDGMENT, book one in the Cassidy and Spenser series, has been named a best book of 2014 by Suspense Magazine. I’m incredibly honored to have been included in that list.
Serious and Silly: I’m thankful for my husband’s Elvis impersonation. I swear it made me fall in love with him.
Serious: I’m thankful for my three incredible children and the beautiful world we live in.
Silly: I’m thankful that my son and daughter will be home for the holiday. (Seeing a trend?)
Serious: I’m grateful for my mom and sisters and all the laughter we share when we’re together.
Silly: I’m grateful for my DVR because it means I can take the time to talk to a friend or get interrupted by a family member and not worry about “missing” anything during my favorite show. The DVR puts me in control of TV, unchains me from the box, and means way less viewing time since it’s on my schedule, not theirs. Plus, fewer commercials. Yay!!
Serious: I am grateful for my husband who is the love of my life, is always there for me, and thinks I’m great even when I’m not. What did I ever do to deserve him?
Silly: Rite-in-the-Rain notebooks for jotting down story inspirations while in the shower or tub.
Serious: I’m grateful that I live where I can pursue my dreams and take that journey with the people I love most in this world.
Silly: I am thankful to Bonita Boarding and Kennel Camp for taking my little hooligans off my hands every morning.
Serious: I am thankful for the final safe return of my older brother, from 18 months in the US Embassy in Afghanistan. (In the picture he is holding Flat Stanley, some 3rd grade class drew and mailed it to him. Too cute!)
Silly: I’m thankful to Netflix and Hulu which kept me from losing my mind during my six weeks of mandatory IV antibiotic treatments.
Runner-up: I’m thankful to my wonderful friends (Lena, Carey, Rachel, Diana, Gwen, Krista, Sarah and Sharon) who also kept me from losing my mind during those six weeks.
Serious: I am grateful for my husband and two children who have brought me more happiness than I deserve.
All of us are so grateful for your recovery, Manda. We love you!
If anyone wants to share a silly or serious thing they’re thankful for today, we’d love to hear it.
Thanks to everyone for making the release of JUDGMENT a special day for me. And now, without further ado, the winner of the one hour massage is Teen Books for the Kindle. Please use our contact page to claim your prize. Congratulations and thanks to everyone who commented! Carey