KAREN’S KILLER BOOK BENCH: Welcome to Karen’s Killer Book Bench where readers can discover talented new authors and take a peek inside their wonderful books. This is not an age-filtered site so all book peeks are PG-13 or better. Come back and visit often. Happy reading!
1. What is your name? Do you have a nickname?
Good morning, y’all. Thank you for inviting me, Karen. My full name is Cleo Jane Harris Watkins. I go by Cleo.
2. Who is your best friend? What kinds of things do you do when you’re together?
Oh, this is an easy question. I’ve been best friends with Mary-Rose Garland since we were both in diapers. That’s some seventy-five years now! When we were young, we explored every corner of our little hometown, Catalpa Springs, Georgia, by foot, boat, bicycle, and clamoring over fences. We’re not as nimble as we used to be, but we still get around, especially if we need to sleuth out the truth.
One of my favorite activities with Mary-Rose is more relaxing. I love visiting her breakfast café, the Pancake Mill. It’s a former sugar mill that serves up sweet treats: flip-them-yourselves pancakes and delectable pies.
3. If you have a family, how do you get along with them? If you don’t, are there people in your life that you consider family? How do you get along with them?
I’m very fortunate to have wonderful relationships with my family. Many of my relatives live in Catalpa Springs, including my eldest son and his family and my cousin Dot who runs a general store downtown. By proximity, my grandson Ollie is my closest relative. He lives in the cottage in my backyard. Ollie is supposed to pay rent, but the dear boy is still trying to find himself and employment. I don’t mind. I let him pay me in gardening help and company, but don’t tell his fretful father that.
4. Do you have a birthmark? Scars? Where is it? How did you get it?
Why, no one’s ever asked, but yes I do. I have a scar on my knee from a tangle with a wire fence. It happened when Mary-Rose and I were teenagers. We thought a cruel neighbor had kidnapped her cat, so we went looking, sneaking onto his property at night.
Unfortunately, we were both misguided about the cat’s whereabouts and spotted by a passing police officer. Aside from my knee, it turned out mostly okay. The cat returned home with kittens, and we learned a valuable lesson about the dangers and thrill of sleuthing.
5. When you’re angry, what do you do? Where do you go? How do you deal with your anger?
I’m a librarian, so I don’t approve of a lot of commotion and yelling. Instead, I carry a folding fan in my purse. I recommend it. There’s nothing like vigorous fanning for blowing off steam and occupying one’s hands (to keep from doing something awful like throwing a book). I also find that embracing righteous indignation helps stiffen the spine and resolve.
6. If you had to make me a meal right now, without going to the store, what would you find in your refrigerator to feed us?
I always have the fixings for biscuits. And cheese. I’m afraid I have a slight addiction to anything cheesy. Pimento cheese, cheese straws, cheesy biscuits…
7. What’s the one thing you’re afraid of losing?
One thing? If it’s an entity—not a person or pet—I’ll have to say my town’s library. I never, ever considered losing an entire library, but right now the Catalpa Springs Public Library is in jeopardy.
8. What makes you laugh out loud?
My goofy cat, Rhett Butler. He tickles my face with his whiskers in the morning. He’s a Persian and always has such a grumpy expression, but his purr gives away his true feelings.
9. Has anyone broken your heart? Who was he?
He didn’t mean to, but my dear husband Richard broke my heart when he passed away about a decade ago. The ache is still there. However, I have discovered certain joys of the senior-bachelorette lifestyle, like reading in bed at any hour and doing all the driving. I love hitting the road in my bookmobile, Words on Wheels!
10. What’s the one thing you want out of life that you don’t think you can have? Why can’t you have it?
This is tricky… One thing I want out of life that I can’t have? I suppose I’ll say more decades to spend with my newfound gentleman friend, Henry Lafayette. But in my senior years, I’ve learned not to let age concern me much anymore.
Be sure to come back to learn more about Nora Page’s novel, BETTER OFF READ, on Wednesday’s Karen’s Killer Book Bench blog!
Links to Nora’s website, blog, books, etc.
Better Off Read by Nora Page, published by Crooked Lane Books (May 8, 2018), http://www.crookedlanebooks.com/titles/better-off-read/
Better Off Read is available for order from your favorite local bookstore or online at
**SPECIAL GIVEAWAY: Nora is giving away a hardback copy (U.S. Only) of BETTER OFF READ to one person who comments on her **Author Peek** Interview or Karen’s Killer Book Bench blogs.
Thanks, Nora, for sharing your book with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!