The Divining Wand

Discovering authors beyond their pages…

Anna Fields and
Confessions of a Rebel Debutante

February 28, 2011 By: larramiefg Category: Book Presentations, Books

Successful playwright, television writer, and comedienne, Anna Fields dishes out a Southern-fried memoir about growing up too smart and rebellious for her North Carolina small town in Confessions of a Rebel Debutante.

During childhood the author claimed the “tomboy” label, only then to describe her adolescent self as being “outspoken” and “bookish” rebelling against the strict rules at her private all-girls finishing school. Anna tried to be a proper Deb, even making it through the first Cotillion. Yet, when viewed as too “liberal” and “uppity,” she didn’t make the cut for the ultimate Debutante Ball.

That’s the backstory and this is the synopsis of Confessions of a Rebel Debutante:

A strict regimen of Southern-belle grooming should have prepared Anna Fields for a lifetime of ladylike behavior.

But it didn’t.

As it turned out, Anna—a smart, outspoken, bookish girl—was a dud at debbing. After being kicked out of cotillion classes, the “Rebel Deb” left North Carolina to seek her fortune. Her first stop was Brown University —right in the heart of Yankee-land—and then the crazy world of Hollywood talent agencies and celebrity-packed restaurants. After a disastrous stint as Diana Ross’s personal assistant, Anna headed off to the Big Apple, where she worked for one of Bravo’s Real Housewives. It’s a rollicking, unlikely success story from a natural-born storyteller.

Sharp, sweet, and sassy, Confessions of a Rebel Debutante proves you can take the girl out of the South, but you can’t take the South out of the girl!

Please take a look at the glowing Press.

The South is known for its storytellers and Anna Fields is another talented one as she writes her “rags-to-riches,” almost Cinderella-like story. Of course there isn’t a wicked step-mother or even step-sisters in this tale, but all of Anna’s quirky relatives are much more entertaining and — more importantly — they’re real!

Written in a chronological format, this memoir has a distinct stream-of-conscious feel as the rebel deb’s voice delights with humorous details or becomes serious in relating past problems. For this book applies to every girl — living below or above the Mason-Dixon line — who didn’t quite fit in and was proud of it.

As Anna shares her sweet, bittersweet, and deeply poignant tales, she often refers to her role model of Scarlett O’Hara and frequently asks herself, “what would Scarlett do?” The answer is usually anything that will maintain the rebel deb’s strong confidence in herself. Because, when interviewed by BUST Magazine in May 2010, the author defined a rebel debutante as:

“She’s a woman who will bake a cake, clean a rifle, and drive a stick shift with a smile. She’s a mix of masculine and feminine, strong and soft—like all real women.”

However one strong tenet, revealed in the memoir, is that a rebel deb will not be content to simply stay home and birth babies. Oh no, she’s first destined to be true to herself. And where does that energy and determination come from? Within that same BUST Magazine article, Anna admits:

“I keep my eye on the ball. I stop worrying about what bad things can happen and start taking risks. I consider these to be investments in myself and in my happiness, instead of in fear. I stop competing with others, wondering what others are thinking about me, or what they’re doing. My self-love, my self-confidence, does not depend on others—it comes from God, and it lives within me. With that in mind, I know that I can overcome anything.”

Indeed she can and does, proving herself time after time by coming out on top. And, for the most part, the author accomplishes it all with her polite southern charm intact. For as the book’s description explains:

You can take the girl out of the South, but you can’t take the South out of the girl!

With her homespun tales and smart, experienced wisdom, Anna Fields’ story, though rooted in North Carolina, can resonate with any reader, anywhere. Every region of our country has its own distinct identity passed down by generations of ethnic family traditions. Unique, eccentric, and larger-than-life lovable relatives can be found at almost any holiday gathering. Embarrassing secrets are shared and scorned as younger generations seek to rebel against their past if only to say they can succeed on their own.

Confessions of a Rebel Debutante takes readers on the author’s journey, while nudging out our own personal, growing-up memories along the way. So travel down south with Anna who never took that final deb curtsy but realized that “You can’t bend the rules without learning them first.”

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[Eleanor Brown’s The Weird Sisters not only remains on The New York Times Bestseller List but has moved from #15 to #14 this week. Have you read it yet? If possible, do treat yourself….it’s delicious!]

Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away two copies of Anna Fields’ Confessions of a Rebel Debutante in a random drawing of comments left only on this specific post, . Comments left on other posts during the week will not be eligible. The deadline is Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. EST with the winners to be announced here in Thursday’s post. If you enter, please return Thursday to see if you’re a winner.

Guest Anna Fields on “The Murderer’s Brother”

February 22, 2011 By: larramiefg Category: Guest Posts

[Anna Fields, in her debut memoir, Confessions of a Rebel Debutante, writes of being strong, not following the crowd, and becoming who you really are. In today’s guest post the author shares a fictional piece — based on a novel she’s currently writing — with the hope it might comfort and help those women who have experienced physical/verbal/domestic abuse.]

The Murderer’s Brother
By Anna Fields

Jenny Thompson was murdered in her driveway. Her husband, Eric, had been drinking all afternoon before loading his gun and shooting her more than a dozen times–first in the back, as she tried to run away, then in the head when she wasn’t fast enough. His motive: He thought she was cheating on him. She wasn’t. Jenny, a 29-year-old homemaker living in the suburbs of Bridgewater, Connecticut, and I had become friends over the past year. Her husband was the brother of my boyfriend, Michael. But suddenly, on that April afternoon in 2008, Jenny was dead, lying facedown in her own blood. When I heard the news, I thought: That could’ve been me.

I first met Michael in college at Brown University in 1999. We shared a few classes and quickly became friends. Seven years later, we both wound up in graduate school at New York University, and we started dating. Michael, a stocky, powerfully built guy, seemed chivalrous and sweet. He was also smart and funny, and knew how to make me laugh – even at myself. He’d grown up in a modest blue-collar family, playing football, working alongside his older brother, Eric, in their father’s machine shop. Michael idolized Eric. Born only two years apart, they looked like twins. They shared certain other traits too, like extreme possessiveness. But I didn’t know that then.

Every day, I’d meet Michael between classes for lunch at a local sports bar. I noticed that he drank a lot–usually two cocktails at lunch–but then, everyone in grad school did. After about three months, I moved in with him in his bachelor-pad apartment. Mostly we wanted to save money on rent, but also I felt comfortable with him; we had a real connection and a shared college experience. His stories about people we both knew and professor we both remembered convinced me that we could have a future together.

Things changed quickly after we started living together. Michael became very interested in knowing where I was at all times. Whenever we were apart, he’d call me repeatedly to “check in.” If I didn’t answer my cell phone, even in the middle of class, he would become upset. Yes, I knew his behavior was possessive, but at the same time, part of me enjoyed the attention; I saw it as a sign of his devotion. So I dutifully answered his calls, and apologized when I couldn’t. (more…)

The Revealing of Anna Fields

February 16, 2011 By: larramiefg Category: Profiles, Q&A

According to Anna Fields’ momma: “Every one of us starts off a debutante, then becomes a rebel, but when we finally grow into our own…we’re a little bit of both.” And this is what the author proves in her debut memoir, Confessions of a Rebel Debutante recently released in Trade paperback.

Here is a one sentence description: A fond, funny Southern-fried memoir about growing up a proper young lady…or not.

And the following praise:

“…Fields takes what should be an oxymoronic state of mind and makes it work for her like some crazy hybrid confection: soft on the outside, hard in the center…. Fields shows how a rebellious southern belle can survive almost anywhere.” – Carol Haggas Booklist

“…all about empowering the hearts and minds and spirits of young women…” – Jennifer Brett The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“…This is by far the best memoir I have ever read. Anna is my kind of chick! This hilariously true tale is better than any reality TV show. I think that this is the type of book that would interest any reader. Four stars!” – Bridget McNeill Barnes & Noble

The Divining Wand has scheduled a presentation/review of Confessions of a Rebel Debutante: A Memoir for Monday, February 28, 2011 but, for now, let’s meet the author through her “official” bio:

Anna Fields was born in Burlington, North Carolina, and attended Brown University. A former scriptwriter for As the World Turns, Guiding Light, and One Life to Live, she is also a successful playwright, screenwriter, and performance artist. Anna lives in New York City.

Now for even more revealing confessions from the “Rebel Deb:”

Q: How would you describe your life in 8 words?
A: From debutante to rebel and back, my dear.

Q: What is your motto or maxim
A: Eat well, sleep well, dream well, play hard and get along.

Q: How would you describe perfect happiness?
A: I’m religious, so I tend to think of happiness as closeness with God. The lack of want. Looking inward for happiness instead of outward for ambition. Being kind, for we are all fighting our own, silent battles. Practicing forgiveness in all its forms. Letting go of the past — something I never seem to be able to do, but I know leads to happiness, if not perfection.

Q: What’s your greatest fear?
A: Not realizing my potential. Running out of time before I write the eight or nine books that are stuck inside my head. Dying without letting my family and friends know how much I love, need and yet hate them at the same time — a three-part emotion that I often explore in my work.

Q: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A: Right where I am.

Q: With whom in history do you most identify?
A: Eleanor of Aquitaine

Q: Which living person do you most admire?
A: My mother… and possibly either Erica John or Anne Rice

Q: What are your most overused words or phrases?
A: “Right?”

Q: If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A: To write children’s stories. I have so many ideas for them, and yet whenever I try to write for younger people I end up writing for older people.

Q: What is your greatest achievement?
A: Surviving.

Q: What’s your greatest flaw?
A: Taking life too seriously — and sweating the small stuff, which I believe no one should ever do.

Q: What’s your best quality?
A: Generosity — I want to adopt every animal I see, and help everyone who needs it. I end up being a guidance counselor to almost everyone I know.

Q: What do you regret most?
A: Putting my career over my friendships, back in my early twenties. Then again, where would I be today without my writing?

Q: If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A: I’m pretty happy being myself, but it might be nice to go back and be myself at 17 again. If not that, I’d love to be a man, just for a week or two. Just to see what it felt like on the other side of the glass ceiling.

Q: What trait is most noticeable about you?
A: My extremely blond hair and pale skin.

Q: Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A: Tough question! In the literary world, probably Lestat or Lady Chatterly… but mostly, my favorite fictional heroes come from television shows I adore. Dexter, anyone from Absolutely Fabulous or Six Feet Under. And Joan from Mad Men, for sure.

Q: Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A: Probably Richard III — then again, he was a real person… but Shakespeare makes him sound so much worse that I imagine he really was.

Q: If you could meet any athlete, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A: “Hi, Michael Vick. Or do you prefer, ‘Heartless, arrogant, self-righteous animal-hater?'”

Q: What is your biggest pet peeve?
A: Entitlement. Enough said.

Q: What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A Running, drinking coffee or playing with my boyfriend and our dog, Jax.

Q: What’s your fantasy profession?
A: Hmmm. I’m pretty sure I’m living it. 🙂

Q: What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A: Generosity, kindness and loyalty.

Q: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A: Chocolate!

Q: What are your 5 favorite songs?
A: Anything from Mozart’s “Requiem for the Dead’
“All I Want is You” by U2
“Pictures of You” by The Cure
“Heart and Soul” by some 80’s band I loved in high school but now can’t remember its name
“Norwegian Wood” by The Beatles

Q: What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A: “The Queen of the Damned”
“Confessions of a Shopaholic”
“The Vampire Lestat”
“Silas Marner”
“The Great Gatsby”

Multi-talented, honest, and most thought-provoking, Anna Fields — as a Rebel Deb — will entertain and enlighten if you follow her on Twitter, become a friend on Facebook and visit her blog, Rebel Debutante.

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Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away two copies of Sarah Pekkanen’s Skipping a Beat in a random drawing of comments left only on this specific post, Sarah Pekkanen and Skipping a Beat. Comments left on other posts during the week will not be eligible. The deadline is tonight at 7:00 p.m. EST with the winners to be announced here in tomorrow’s post. If you enter, please return tomorrow to see if you’re a winner.