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.

The Revealing of Keetha DePriest Mosley

June 23, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Profiles

Today The Divining Wand takes special pride in introducing a cyber friend/reader/and regular visitor to this site in the role of author. Keetha DePriest Mosley (formerly Reed) made her debut on September 1, 2007 with Culinary Kudzu: Recollections & Recipes from Growing Up Southern and followed a year later with its sequel, More Culinary Kudzu: Recollections & Recipes from Growing Up Southern.

Categorized as Cooking/Essays, the books are described as:

“A charming mix of tips and ideas for entertaining and gifts of food, coupled with rich tales of growing up in the small-town South. This lively book reads like a kitchen conversation with an old friend.”

The Divining Wand has scheduled a presentation/review of Culinary Kudzu: Recollections & Recipes from Growing Up Southern for Wednesday, July 21, 2010. But let’s meet Keetha on her website’s About Me page where she tells:

….I did public relations – award winning public relations, might I add – for my hometown hospital and began writing a food and entertaining column for the Clarion-Ledger newspaper.

I catered, developed recipes, and freelanced here and there.

At some point – I wish I could remember exactly what made the light bulb go off – I decided to write and publish my own book of food writing and recipes, Culinary Kudzu: Recollections & Recipes from Growing Up Southern.

The Delta Dish, my monthly ezine, came along. A few years later I came out with the sequel: More Culinary Kudzu: Recollections & Recipes from Growing Up Southern.

I helped found the Mississippi Writers Guild. I started a blog.

More recently, I’m writing fiction. I also met and married a wonderful man and that’s not fiction,

I’m working on a novel. I think it may be terrifically bad but that’s okay. I’m treating it as my very own intensive MFA fiction workshop. Nothing may ever come of this particular book but I will have learned a lot and will be better prepared to write the next one. I have ideas.

Keetha certainly has ideas and more personal revelations:

Q. How would you describe your life in 8 words?
A. Blessed, full of grace, happy, full, vibrant, just right

Q. What is your motto or maxim?
A. It’s never too late to be the person you wanted to be.

Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. It changes. Sometimes it’s a fall afternoon, blue skies, and a crisp snap in the air. A book that I’ve been looking forward to that delivers. Making my husband laugh. My husband making our son laugh. Lightly floured kitchen counter, my mom’s cookie cutters. Christmas lights at bedtime. Coffee in the morning.

Q. What’s your greatest fear?
A. I can’t talk about it! That would totally jinx it.

Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. Someplace cool with low humidity by a lake on a porch swing with no mosquitoes.

Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
A. I wanted to come up with a remarkable person and a witty remark to tie it together. But I didn’t.

Q. Which living person do you most admire?
A. I admire lots of people. My husband. My mom. Ann Patchett. The fourth-string Mississippi State football player who found a cell phone in the empty stadium, called the owner, and returned it to her. People who live big.

Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
A. At a writing workshop last weekend a friend pointed out I had used “gestured” five times in ten pages.

Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A. I’d like to be able to render cell phones useless from ten paces. That way I wouldn’t have to listen to conversations at restaurants, movie theatres, and on sidewalks.

Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. Writing every day.

Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
A. Defeating myself before I get started.

Q. What’s your best quality?
A. I’m curious.

Q. What do you regret most?
A. I can’t have regrets. They make me downcast, wistful, and grumpy. I have to see it this way: everything that’s happened has brought me here and I like it here. Everything that’s happened has made me who I am and I like that, too.

Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A. I’d be me. I know how to do that now.

Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
A. Wouldn’t it be great if you knew how other people saw you? If they were at my house, it’d be all the books or the bright red kitchen. That I love my family and thin-crust pizza?

Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A. I think I need another page to fully answer but off hand I’d say Anne Shirley, Woodrow Call, Flavia de Luce.

Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A. Severus Snape.

Q. If you could meet any athlete, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A. Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
A. Oppressive heat. Drivers who don’t pay attention. Gum chewing.

Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A. Baking

Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
A. Novelist with a part-time gig as a ballet dancer.

Q. What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A. Kindness, compassion, character

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

Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
A. Life by the Drop – Stevie Ray Vaughn; Time of the Preacher – Willie Nelson; New Orleans Ladies – Louisiana LaRoux; Just As I Am; You’re the Reason God Made Oklahoma – David Frizzell and Shelly West

Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A. That’s funny, coming up with just five books! Wait – you’re serious?

Without thinking too much about it: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith; Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry; Bel Canto by Ann Patchett; The Snare by Elizabeth Spencer; A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving.

The Rock Orchard, A Thousand Acres, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, The Elegance of the Hedgehog. I can’t stop!

A charming Southern Belle who can redecorate better than anyone on HGTV, read/review tons of books every month, and share the beauty of life’s simple moments, please visit and enjoy Keetha DePriest Mosley at her (almost) daily blog, Write Kudzu.

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Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away a copy of Trish Ryan’s latest memoir, A Maze of Grace in a random drawing to anyone who comments only on this specific post, Trish Ryan and A Maze of Grace. Comments left on other posts during the week are not entered into the contest. The deadline is tonight at 7:00 p.m. EDT with the winner to be announced here in tomorrow’s post. If you enter, please return tomorrow to possibly claim your book.