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Southern Voice

By Kelsie Allen Barton | March 26, 2018 | Articles

Where do we pick up in your new novel, The Secret to Southern Charm ($16, Gallery/Simon & Schuster), which is book No. 2 in the Peachtree Bluff series? A few weeks later! The book picks up with Sloane in the absolute depths of her despair, Ansley trying to help while also wondering if she made the right decision about Jack. It’s full-on summer in Peachtree Bluff, which is so fun! As you can imagine, Caroline isn’t taking her sister’s pain lying down and jumps into big-sister mode pretty much as soon as The Secret to Southern Charm begins.

What’s your favorite thing about this group of women that the book centers around? I think it’s their authenticity. These are deeply flawed characters with complicated lives, big secrets and plenty to fight about. But, at the end of the day, they would walk through fire for each other and are the most important people in each other’s lives. I think that’s how family should be. The whole of this family is greater than the sum of its individual parts.

I know you’re a born-and-bred Carolina girl. What inspired you to set the book in Georgia? Honestly, I was planning to set the series in Beaufort, N.C., where I live, but my editor wanted me to do something a little different since my first two books were set in North Carolina. I have spent a fair amount of time in coastal Georgia, so when I was looking for an alternative location, it was a perfect fit. Geographically, the Georgia coast has all the same elements I love about the N.C. coast. And there are so many cool things about Georgia—like its state mineral being Staurolite, which becomes a major plot point in this series! I also learned a lot. I mean, who would have thought that peanuts, not peaches, were the major staple crop of Georgia?

You’re not only a critically acclaimed author, but you also run the blog Design Chic with your mom, Beth Woodson. How does your love for all things home design and decorating make its way into your stories? Making Ansley, the mother and protagonist, an interior designer was an easy way to integrate both of my passions. I love thinking about where my characters live, and imagining the homes Ansley was designing was just another fun layer to this!

Will there be a third Peachtree Bluff novel? If there isn’t a third Peachtree Bluff novel, I will get a lot of hate mail… The Secret to Southern Charm doesn’t exactly wrap up with a bow at the end! Plus, you can’t write about Caroline and Sloane and not give Emerson a book of her own! It would be so sad. I’m not quite ready to leave Peachtree Bluff and the ladies, so I’d say a third Peachtree Bluff book is a safe bet! @kristywharvey

Meet Harvey in person April 30, when she stops by Huff Harrington Home from 1 to 3pm to discuss her new novel as well as offer tips for living a beautiful life, inspired by Southern interior design and entertaining.

Here, Harvey dishes out her advice for throwing a stylish alfresco affair.

Must-have decor? “Fresh flowers never go out of style!”

No-fail flowers? “Tulips in a pitcher.”

Cocktail of choice? “Always Veuve Clicquot. Always.”

Go-to recipe? “Cheese and charcuterie tray with grapes, apples and marcona almonds. It’s simple, delicious, and I always have the ingredients on hand.”

Tablescape wow-factor? “An antique mother of pearl flatware set that was a wedding gift from my in-laws.”

Best entertaining advice? “I love having parties where each guest has a good friend, but the list is a bit varied. It’s fun for new people to make connections with one another and keeps it from feeling like the same old thing you did last weekend.”


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