Best-selling author Cassandra King will return to South Walton for a "Coffee with Cassandra" event at The Hidden Lantern in Rosemary Beach from 10 a.m. until noon May 3 to introduce and sign copies of her new book "Same Sweet Girls Guide to Life."
Published just this month, King says this book is not really a follow-up to her original "The Same Sweet Girls," published in 2005.
In an interview with The Sun, King said the original "Same Sweet Girls" was actually a fictionalized version of the lives of herself and her college roommates. The book's name was inspired by a “sweet” and worldly beauty queen’s talk at college convocation when King was a student. That speech helped her discover the difference between a “Southern Belle” and the true meaning of “sweet.” In her first book, King and her fictionalized friends were empowered that day to rebel against the superficiality of “sweet” and frame life in a different way.
King and her girlfriends from college have remained friends throughout the decades and gather at annual reunions, these days, in Seagrove. They call themselves "The Same Sweet Girls," the phrase lifted from the beauty queen's convocation address.
King was invited to deliver a commencement address at her alma mater several years ago, during which she explained the difference between being sweet and being a Southern Belle.
Her definition of sweet?
"Well, the same sweet girls use the word 'sweet' as ironically as we use the word 'girls.' We're not girls any more and we're not really sweet, and never have been," she answered. "But we know how to fake it, and pretend to be sweet as pie."
Ok, and what is her definition of the difference between being sweet and a Southern Belle?
"Not much," she says, "because Southern Belles are always sweet (at least on the surface). Southern Belles are perfect ladies, prim, proper, and sugary-sweet. And if they ever say anything bad about anyone, it's always preceded by 'bless her heart.'"
This second book, said King, is talking about how she became a "Same Sweet Girl" in college, and what she has learned since then.
"This one is based on the commencement speech I gave," she said, "It is advice from a Southern Belle, and what I have learned along the way."
King graduated from
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Rick Bragg wrote the foreword to King’s small but uplifting book.
In the forward, after establishing himself as an ordinary Southern man in contrast to a gentleman, Bragg compares his own background to Cassandra’s and the truth of Cassandra’s book: being a failed Southern Belle is what makes a real Southern lady. The book follows with seven simple yet profound guides for living an authentic and generous life.
King has been married for 16 years to famed novelist Pat Conroy, and they live on the
King admits she was in awe of her already-famous husband when they first met, but they were friends for two years before he asked her out.
She does not get down to the Gulf beaches as much as she would like, said King, although she has a sister living near
King will have that opportunity Saturday when The Hidden Lantern at Rosemary Beach hosts her for a talk and book signing from 10 a.m. to noon.
This “sweet” book is a gem of wisdom and a gift for people young or old, said Bragg.