Jan Karon, author of the popular “At Home in Mitford” series and one “Father Tim” book, “Home to Holly Springs,” was raised on a farm in Lenoir, N.C. She worked in advertising, but, she was always a story teller at heart.
“Out to Canaan” was the first Karon book to reach the New York Times number one spot. All subsequent books have debuted on the list.
She’s sold over 35 million books worldwide and is set to release her second Father Tim book, “In the Company of Others,” on Tuesday, Oct. 19.
In the new release, Karon takes retired Episcopalian priest Tim Kavanagh and his lovely wife, Cynthia, on a working vacation to the charming fishing lodge at Broughadoon, where gracious owners Liam and Anna Conor are waiting.
A cast of colorful characters, including a group of friends, all widows, from Atlanta, a cheery brace of fisherman and a Jack Russell terrier named Pud are part of Karon’s charming story.
But all is not as it seems.
The cozy magic of the lodge is shattered when Cynthia startles a burglar and sprains her already-injured ankle. Then a cherished and vaulable painting is stolen from the lodge. What family secrets could be lurking in the shadows?
Due to a family illness, Karon’s interview with the News-Telegram was limited to one question.
Since Rev. Debbie Riggsby, associate pastor at First United Church, and her husband, Lew, are long-time fans, and since they had read our advance copy of the new book, we asked them for a suggestion.
The Riggsbys: How has writing about Father Tim and Cynthia affected your spiritual journey — especially in writing “In the Company of Others”?
Jan Karon: Writing “In the Company of Others” made me cling (CLING) to prayer, to hope, to trust, to the stirring presence of Emmanuel (God with us) as I wrote.
It was a difficult novel with a mind of its own, introducing a culture and place (County Sligo) about which I knew nothing.
Believe me, reading Sebastian Barry and WB Yeats and Patrick Kavanagh and Mr. Synge (and endless others) did not deliver the goods I needed, which was authenticity in every part.
I did spend a rich and enlightening time in Sligo, but whether I got it right, only the Irish reader can ascertain.
I simply did all within my power to respect the Irish culture (which is both ancient and vast), and my own paternal DNA.
My Wilson ancestors, Matthew and Charity, immigrated to Philadelphia from County Tyrone in 1745, and settled the lower Catawba Valley. They made a good life, with four sons given to the cause of the Revolutionary War.
In “Home to Holly Springs,” Tim Kavanagh returned to his Mississippi hometown to learn an alarming truth about his father, mother, and a woman named Peggy.
Now he goes to Ireland to muddle about in his ancestral heritage.
Trouble is, he learns nothing about the Kavanaghs, but more than he wanted to know about the Conors – an Irish family torn asunder by lies and deceit, not to to mention the theft of a valuable and much-loved painting.
Sandburg said, “No surprise in the author, no surprise in the reader.”
I was surprised at every turn as Tim and Cynthia struggled to determine whether there was any balm in Sligo.
Making a long story short, this book pulled me deeper, and faith was definitely my diving bell.
At Home in Mitford (1994)
A Light in the Window (1995)
These High, Green Hills (1995)
Out to Canaan (1997)
A New Song (1999)
A Common Life: The Wedding Story (2001)
In This Mountain (2002)
Shepherds Abiding (2003)
Light from Heaven (2005)
The Mitford Years Reading Guide (1997)
Home to Holly Springs (2007)
In the Company of Others (2010)
Reading the books in order of printing is recommended.
Jan Karon will be in Dallas on Thursday, Oct. 21, at St. Michaels and All Angels Episcopal Church, 8011 Douglas Ave. Tickets are $10. No reserved seating. For more information, call 214-363-5422 ext.512 or visit: www.saintmichael.org/article/jan-karon-will-present-her-new-book-coming-out-this-fall/
The News-Telegram is offering one lucky reader a copy of Karon’s new book, along with a copy of “The Mitford Cookbook & Kitchen Reader,” released last month, a lush compilation of recipes and stories about the food and people who have spiced up Karon’s books for so many years.
Click here for details on how to enter and win.
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