Read the story … Mary Kay Andrews headlined the first Cohen’s Retreat event on April 16, which included lunch with the New York Times best seller and a peek inside the transformed facility and Blue Rooster Cafe.
Martha Nesbit kicked off the lunch and learn with a preview for things ahead inside the Cohen’s “Art Tank,” like Pinterest parties, “crafternoons,” and lunch and learns with even more artists and authors.
It was fitting that Mary Kay Andrews summed up her career as a writer with the term reinvention, which is a foundational theme of Cohen’s Retreat (a repurposed building with new multiple uses).
Mary Kay Andrews is actually the pen name of Kathy Hogan Trocheck, who started off as a reporter for the Savannah Morning News, then ventured to Atlanta, where she held her last “real job” at the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Known for colorful descriptions of writing in her “pink power PJ’s,” Mary Kay said, “No one has a straight route to their career!”
Her desire to write a novel blossomed while she was still a newspaper reporter, and she gave herself one year to write it. As the deadline approached, she took a two-week leave of absence, and in true deadline fashion, finished the night before she had to go back to work.
After about 10 mystery novels, Kathy decided to start writing under her new pen name to reveal real life situations, friendships, betrayals, and her passions, like antiquing. “Savannah Blues” was the first under the name Mary Kay Andrews. It started off as a mystery, but morphed into a beach novel and became her first book to make the New York Times best seller list.
One of Mary Kay’s secrets for book content includes asking herself a lot of “what if’s” in every day situations that are going on around her. Then she develops characters around the circumstances and lets her imagination go. Attending a writer’s retreat every year, where the group brainstorms and critiques each other’s work, has helped her writing develop and grow.
And that first book she wrote? It’s still under her bed! She told the audience she learned from her mistakes, but never gave up on herself. “In the process of reinvention you have to commit and no one is going to believe in you if you don’t,” she said.