Monday, 4 June 2012

Interview & $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway: Dancing Naked in Dixie by Lauren Clark

Original Title: Dancing Naked in Dixie
Author: Lauren Clark
Publisher: Monterey Press
Published Date: May 21st 2012
Genre: Chick-lit

Travel writer Julia Sullivan lives life in fast-forward. She jet sets to Europe and the Caribbean with barely a moment to blink or sleep. But too many mishaps and missed deadlines have Julia on the verge of being fired.

With a stern warning, and unemployment looming, she's offered one last chance to rescue her career. Julia embarks on an unlikely journey to the ‘Heart of Dixie’—Eufaula, Alabama—home to magnificent mansions, sweet tea, and the annual Pilgrimage.

Julia arrives, soon charmed by the lovely city and her handsome host, but her stay is marred by a shocking discovery. Can Julia's story save her career, Eufaula, and the annual Pilgrimage?  


“But, I have plans. Every night next week. Tickets to the Met, a fundraiser, a gallery opening, and I have book club on Monday.” I don’t mention the Filene’s trip I’d planned. Or the romantic date I’ve been promising Andrew, my neglected boyfriend of four years.

David waves a hand to dismiss it all. “Marietta can handle the magazine-related responsibilities.” From the top drawer of his desk he produces an airline ticket and a manila folder with my name on it. He sets them on the edge of his desk. Something I can’t decipher plays on his lips.

I keep my voice even. “What about Bali?” I had planned to leave for the South Pacific a week from Friday. “It’s on my calendar. It’s been on there…”  

David shakes his head. “Not anymore.”

The words wound me like a thousand bee stings.

“Alabama,” David repeats.

My face grows hot. He’s plucked me off a plum assignment without a thought to my ability and my schedule. My new boss is sending me to God knows where and he looks perfectly content.

“If that’s my next assignment,” I sputter, “I’d rather…I’d rather dance naked!”

The announcement comes out much louder than I intend and reverberates through the room. Dolores probably has her ear pressed to the door, but the phrase bounces off my boss like a cotton ball.

David smothers a chuckle. “Suit yourself.”


1.  Is there an inspiration behind why you chose writing?

I’ve loved books my entire life. I spent my childhood in the library because my parents didn’t allow me to watch television all summer (every summer). At the time, of course, I thought that my mom and dad were horribly mean, but it was the best gift they could have given me!

2.  When you were little, what did you want to be when you "grew up"?

Oh, I told my parents that I wanted to be an Indian Princess and that my name was going to be Tiger Lily.  That didn’t happen, so I tease my two boys that I have a secret identity—Super Mommy to the Rescue—pink boots, pink cape, you get the idea. They haven’t bought that, either.

3.  Finish the sentence- one book I wish I had written is....

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Steig Larsson was brilliant and I keep hoping his girlfriend will find a secret manuscript and publish it.

4.  What are your current literary works?  Any sneak peeks?

Stay Tuned was my first novel, and that story came from my years of working in the television news industry. I tried to give readers an inside look behind the scenes. It’s a crazy-fun business. Dancing Naked in Dixie follows travel writer Julia Sullivan from New York City to the Deep South. Julia’s not at all happy about the assignment—but falls in love with the community and a special someone—then discovers everything might be ruined when a developer wants to bulldoze part of the city’s historic district.

Right now, I’m researching for a new novel called The Pie Lab, after the real place in Greensboro, Alabama. I’d like to explore what it’s like to come home to a small town after burning bridges and swearing you’d never be back!

5. If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future.

I’d go back to the past—maybe the 1950s. I’m a bit of an idealist, and the world seemed a little less crazy back then. (My parents may disagree)

6. If you could be one of the Greek Gods, which would it be and why?

Athena—she’s the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, law and justice. Hard to argue with all of those traits! The city of Athens was also named after Athena.

7.  Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.

Julia Sullivan finds happiness, love, and answers in the place she least expects it.

8.  Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.

It’s been most rewarding to hear from readers that liked (or loved) Stay Tuned!  I answer every single note or email that I receive!

9.  What's one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?

I’ll have to give Stephen King credit for this advice, but it’s true:  Read a lot, Write a lot.

10.  If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world, which would it be?   

Narnia or Twilight.

11. If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?  

(Laughing)  Probably something like “Are you there Chocolate? It’s me, Lauren.”

12. What is your favorite scene in your book and why do you love it?

Gosh, there are a lot of scenes that I love—among them—Julia arguing her way into a taxi cab by telling two rich women that she has “Athazagoritis,” which is a disease she completely made up. These “white lies” tend to follow her the rest of the book. There’s also the scene in which Julia’s lost her luggage and has to be taken shopping by Roger, the owner of the local B&B. They end up in a pageant dress shop—think lots of sequins!

Below is a photo of Shorter Mansion in Eufaula … it’s really, really lovely there!

13.  What TV show/movie/book do you watch/read that you'd be embarrassed to admit? 

The entire last season of The Bachelor. I had to see if Ben picked Courtney. Not smart, Ben!

14.  What is one book everyone should read?  

I loved My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult. It’s a great story about the flaws in families and how far we should or can go as parents to save our children.

15.  One food you would never eat?

Anything having to do with bugs, snails, insects, or that is slimy. Ugh! Just thinking about it gives me the shivers!


Favorite place?
Penn Yan, New York

Best Christmas present?
My husband got me an Easy Bake Oven after I complained about never receiving one as a child!

Favorite book?
My Sister’s Keeper, Jodi Picoult

Favorite author?
Sophie Kinsella

Favorite smell?

Favorite series?

Is ‘Mom’ a nickname?

Favorite writing spot?
The library at our local university… it’s so peaceful!

Favorite movie?
Love, Actually

Favorite dish?
7-Layer Caramel Cake

Favorite color?

Favorite quote? 
I try to leave out the parts that people skip. ~ Elmore Leonard

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~ William Wordsworth

Favorite flavor of ice cream?
Pecan Praline

Your best trait?
I finish what I start.

Your worst trait?
I run late for appointments because I’m always trying to get “just one more thing” done!


Lauren Clark writes contemporary novels set in the Deep South; stories sprinkled with sunshine, suspense, and secrets.

A former TV news anchor, Lauren adores flavored coffee, local book stores, and anywhere she can stick her toes in the sand. Her big loves are her family, paying it forward, and true-blue friends

AUTHOR ONLINE: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook


Lauren will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour.




  1. Lauren's writing reminds me so much of Sophie Kinsella and Emily Giffin!!! :) Love this book! AND Stay Tuned! :)

    1. Thank you SOOO much Mandy! Big hugs across cyberspace!!! :) Lauren

  2. The 1950's would have been a very interesting decade - post WWII. Life getting back to some sort of normalcy.

    Good advice by Stephen King.


    1. Marybelle - I have to agree with the 1950s ... and yes, Stephen King's book "On Writing" is so brilliant (and funny!) I don't read a lot of horror, but I thought that The Green Mile and the Shawshank Redemption (based on a stort story by SK) were fabulous!!!

      xx, Lauren

  3. Thank you so much Vidya! I am so excited to be here on Books Are Magic! I love the look and feel of your site ... very nice!

    Thank you for including the excerpt from Dixie -- and I hope that the interview gives everyone a good sense of what the novel is all about :)

    xx, Lauren

  4. I love the title and enjoyed the interview.

    1. Thank you JC! So glad you stopped by :) Lauren

  5. fun interview!
    the 1950's would be awesome!!

    1. Love the title "Booked and Loaded" ... also very fun! Glad you made time to read the interview!

      xx, Lauren

  6. Reading that her favorite smell is carmel and her favorite food is carmel cake made me HUNGRY! I love interviews with authors!

    1. Diane - I DO love, love, love Caramel! It is my fave :)

      xx, Lauren

  7. Replies
    1. Kelly - Thank you so much for stopping by Book are Magic! xx, Lauren

  8. Love the title you would choose for a book written about you! Except maybe you should caramel to that too! Sounds like you love chocolate, but you really love caramel!

    I know you've only published 2 books so far and have a 3rd book in the works. But you mentioned something yesterday that got me to thinking: Do you have plans to write a book about a villain in one book who later becomes the hero/heroine of his/her own book? Or what about the hero/heroine in a book who later became the villain in another?

    1. Karen - I like the way you think! I could have Caramel on almost anything!!! I do like chocolate, but CARAMEL WINS!!!! The 7-layer cake I am talking about is made in Andalusia, Alabama and is sooo delicious it melts in your mouth.

      Gosh, I don't know about your question today. That would be interesting!!! Emily Giffin did that with Something Borrowed and Something Blue (redemption in the end after the female lead was really, really terrible to friends and boyfriend/fiance). Truly evil characters are tough for me. I like the off-the-chain evil like Mary Katherine in Dixie. She just doesn't even realize she is evil ... LOL.

      :) I will think about this ... over some Caramel Cake!! xx, Lauren

  9. Very nice interveiw. I love the last question about food she wold never eat...I agree!
    jslbrown_03 at yahoo dot com

    1. Snails (ugh! yuck! never!) I think I would eat dirt first LOL!

      Thank you for stopping by Books Are Magic :) Lauren

  10. Replies
    1. Kerry - So glad you liked the interview! Thank you for taking time to stop by today!!

      xx, Lauren

  11. I loved the reason you gave for reading this book. Also, I LOVED the 50's and I guess that gives away my age.

    1. Thank you MomJane! I have always thought that the 50s would be a great time to be young ... seems like some of the innocence of youth was still maintained. :) Lauren

  12. Sounds like a great book. Thanks for the giveaway.:)

    1. Oooo, I used to be the Diet Dr Pepper Diva! I gave up most soft drinks a while back, but if I need a "fix," I reach for the DDP!!! xx, Lauren

  13. Even with a television, I always loved the library! Still do...


    1. There's just something soothing about all of those books and all of that space!!! xx, Lauren

  14. Just found you on karmabloggers! Sending a book review request RIGHT NOW! :-D

  15. Thanks KW - Shoot me an email at Would love for you to review Dixie! xx, Lauren

  16. Thank you so much for this giveaway!

    kgn1588 at gmail dot com

  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

  18. This sounds like an awesome book! Would love to win it!!

    Kim Justice

  19. Great interview! Thanks for the great giveaway :)

  20. Love that you got an Easy Bake Oven from your hubby! Too wonderful!! The book looks wonderful ... the excerpt has me hooked. Thanks for a generous giveaway!
    reducefootprints at gmail dot com

    1. Thank you sooo much! Yes, the Easy Bake Oven was hilarious :)

  21. Excellent! I really think you did an A++++ book review!! Thank you for the giveaway!!

  22. Very nice interview. Sounds like a good book.


  23. Loved the excerpt and the interview! Sounds like a fun book!

  24. We have the same favorite book =] It was also a great movie!!!


  25. Thanks for the giveaway

  26. Wow, great interview. I love your fav quote..nice.

    r.selvi2k9 at gmail dot com

  27. Great giveaway!

    Harsha -- (weird? But, that's my mail id :))

  28. The book sounds very interesting and I hope to be able to read it soon.

  29. What a great interview. I also tried to sell to my kids that I have a cape and boots as Supermom they didn't buy it eather

  30. That was a really interesting interview, thank you

  31. The book looks like an interesting good read. Thank you for sharing

  32. I've never heard of caramel cake.......that sounds awesome and I've been on a diet forever! Darnn it!

    dancealert at aol dot com

  33. I love books with a history, and it seems like you can only have contemporary or very interested!

    jennirv4967 at gmail dot com

  34. I wantto read this book. I have heard great reviews

    Lmbrunken at gmail dot com

  35. Loved the nickname, I keep asking myself that when i hear mom 100 times a day LOL.

    This book sounds just what I have been looking for something different to read.


  36. Sounds good!

    Mariam M.

    missymyt (at) hotmail (dot) com

  37. Nice interview, "Are you there chocolate.." LOL made me laugh..
    Lissette_125 at hotmail dot com

  38. great interview! just added to my TBR list

    catherine0807 at hotmail dot com

  39. I like to mix it up with th genres I read so maybe this will be my next selection! Thanks!

  40. This sounds like an awesome summer read at the pool.

    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

  41. Sounds like a perfect book for a holiday. Seems funny and light!! would love to read it...

    vidandyuva AT gmail DOT com

  42. Dancing Naked in Dixie sounds like a wonderful and fun book. I would love to read it. I loved your interview Lauren. It made me laugh I can totally relate to the mom as a nickname. I am new to your work but I am discovering that I like it. I love to read and finding new stuff that isn't the same ole' book just the names and the place has changed is refreshing. Thank you for the interview it was fun getting to know a little about you. I hope I get a chance to read your book.

  43. "I’m a bit of an idealist, and the world seemed a little less crazy back then" I agree :) mrsrachapman(at)gmail(dot)com

  44. I wish I wrote Girl With Dragon tattoo as well, it was pure brilliance!! Your book sounds like a cozy and fun read. :)
    pettyhaydengurl at yahoo dot com

  45. opps email is prettyhaydengurl @ yahoo dot com

  46. Lovely interview. This sounds like a fun book :o) Thank you for the giveaway too!
    Here's my email address.
    Thank you!
    Gabby @ What's Beyond Forks?

  47. Omg this sounds like an amazing book definitely going to buy it for sure!!
    My email is

  48. I've become interested in the South as a setting after discovering Joshilyn Jackson and Jana Deleon. More Southern stories sound like a great idea! Especially if there is a hint of Bridget Jones & Co about them. Best of luck with your latest release.
    mayamissani AT gmail DOT com

  49. As I grew up in the Florida panhandle know as LA or Lower Alabama, I'm looking forward to reading this book. Caramel is my favorite, not chocolate.


  50. I've never heard of this book before and it sounds like something I'd enjoy too! Thanks for the review/interview I'm going to have to read this one :D

  51. I really enjoyed the interview. The book sounds like something I would highly enjoy.

  52. I loved the interview!

  53. Super fun interview!!

  54. This sounds like another fun read! And I have a lot of favorites in common with the author. andrea(dot)coventry(at)gmail(dot)com


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