Reviewer Amy Lignor: Amy is the author of a historical fiction novel entitled The Heart of a Legend, and Mind Made, a work of science fiction. Presently, she is writing an adventure series set in the New York Public Library, as well as a teen fiction series, The Angel Chronicles. She is an avid traveler and has been fortunate to have journeyed across the USA, where she has met the most amazing people, who truly bring life and soul to her books. She lives in the Land of Enchantment (for now) with her gorgeous daughter, Shelby, her wonderful Mom, Mary, and the greatest friend and critic in the entire world - her dog, Reuben
Today, Amy Lignor one of Bookpleasures.com's reviewers is excited to have as our guest, Katherine Witt author of The Secret of the Belles.
Kathy, as our readers can see in my
review, I am a big fan of The Secret of the Belles. So, I have to ask, why this particular subject? Have you been a fan
of Gone With the Wind (GWTW) since you were a kid?
The Secret of the Belles actually
began as a time travel concept based on one of my favorite paintings
at the Cincinnati Art Museum. That was three years ago and I was on
deadline to produce several chapters to share with my online
children’s writing critique group, The Storyboard. I wasn’t
getting anywhere with this project, so I put it aside and refocused.
In my freelance work at that time, I’d been writing (a lot!) about
the Marietta Gone With the Wind Museum-Scarlett on the Square.
Not only did I have all this research about the collection, I also
had a ton of anecdotal information from the collection owner, Chris
Sullivan, because I had talked to him so often for the various
articles I was writing about the museum. It helped that I’ve
always been a huge fan of the book and the movie, as well as of
Margaret Mitchell and her husband, John Marsh - also a Kentuckian –
and that I’d been to MM sites in Atlanta and to the Marietta Gone
With the Wind Museum and had toured around the town of
What do you think is the reason why
GWTW has remained the beloved iconic story that the world still
constantly talks about?
There is no disputing GWTW’s timeless
appeal – it really captures the heart, soul and imagination of each
succeeding generation with its universal themes of love, romance,
survival against all odds, overcoming personal obstacles and those
beyond your control – and all written with such beautiful language
by Margaret Mitchell and filmed with such dramatic immediacy by David
There was recently a GWTW event that
you attended. Can you tell us about it?
“70 Years of Gone With the
Wind: A Re-Premiere,” was a two-day gala (Nov. 13-15) that included
author book signings, autograph sessions with the GWTW stars, a
lavish “Belles and Beaus” costume ball, a screening of the 1939
film classic with pre-show activities hosted by Robert Osborne, film
historian and host of Turner Classic Movies, and a red carpet vintage
car Parade of Stars.
Gone With the Wind cast members in attendance were Ann Rutherford (“Carreen O’Hara”), Mickey Kuhn (“Young Beau Wilkes”), Greg Giese (“Bonnie Blue” and “Beau” at infancy), Patrick Curtis (“Baby Beau”) and, an eleventh hour surprise, Geneva Miller Roberts, who played an extra in the Twelve Oaks barbecue scene and was making her first appearance at a GWTW event.
Authors in attendance included Herb Bridges, preeminent GWTW authority, and Michael Sragow. Warner Bros. artist Joseph Yakovetic was also present, showing the gorgeous 70th anniversary artwork he had been commissioned to paint in conjunction with the film's anniversary. Rounding out “Re-Premiere” festivities were VIP and cocktail receptions, tours of the extraordinary collection housed at the Marietta Gone With the Wind Museum-Scarlett on the Square that were conducted by the collection owner, Chris Sullivan, and a private dinner shared by the actors, authors and special guests at one of Marietta’s most charming restaurants.
If you could be one of the characters
in GWTW which would it be?
Great question! I think I
would be Carreen O’Hara. Of all the characters in the book
and movie, she really seemed to have held onto her innocence and
optimism. She wasn’t bitter like India Wilkes and Suellen O’Hara.
She wasn’t, shall we say, compromised, like Belle Watling. She
wasn’t scheming and vindictive like a certain Southern belle who
needs no introduction. And let’s face it – she didn’t die like
Melanie did. I’d like to think that Carreen held onto that attitude
through Reconstruction. I can see her adapting with grace and spirit
to her new circumstances, without rancor or trying to take advantage
of someone else.
What's next for you? Are you
sticking with YA books?
I’m currently working on two
book projects, both YA. One is called My (Mostly) Wonderful
Life and it tells the story of Lou Dakota, one of the characters
introduced toward the end of The Secret of the Belles. It will
give a bit more information about Lanie Sullivan from TSOFB – but
it is Lou’s story. The other project is an as yet untitled sequel
to The Secret of the Belles, which picks up the morning after the
opening of the museum. I’m so excited about this project that
I’ve put Wonderful Life aside to dig into it. It’ll be
historical fiction – and there will be another mystery for Belle
Blakely to solve.
I can't wait to read them! Thank
you so much for your time Kathy and your great answers. You are
truly an "author to watch" and, again, you have certainly
found a big fan in me.