With encouragement from many friends, I wrote and published my novel, Whimsey, in 2013.
It’s a book that had lived in my head for many years and I finally took Toni Morrison’s advice to heart; “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
I would not have been able to do it without Donald not minding the missed meals and a not very sparkling clean home.
I also may not have finished writing it without the help and constant encouragement of my friend, author Earl Staggs. For two years Earl gently nudged me along, tutored me in my own private writing class, gently correcting the missteps, while loudly praising the good things. And tried his best to help me understand commas.
Whimsey is a novel of southern fiction with a splash of magic and a touch of fantasy, topped with a sprinkling of humor.
The magic was already there when cigar-smoking matriarch Elizabeth Calhoun established an artist’s colony on an island off the coast of Georgia and named it Whimsey.
Elizabeth’s ghost still drops in from time to time to make sure things are going as she planned.
There’s also a wicked pixie named Earlene who fancies tight-fitting designer clothes and Louboutin stilettos.
Elizabeth’s grandniece, Emma Hamilton Foley, a once-promising jewelry designer who moved away from the island, now fears her talent has deserted her.
Along with her four best childhood friends, she has been invited to be a resident artist at Whimsey’s new upscale gallery. To join them, she’ll need to regain her talent, face the demons from her past and her feelings about Eli Tatnall, whom she loved as a girl.
Will moving back to the Island of Whimsey bring the magic back?
Whimsey is a story of hope and affirmation, about families and best girlfriends, connections and feelings. It’s about the things in life that make us happy and the things that scare us to death.
And the people who walk through life with us.
—Margaret Maron, New York Times Best-Selling Author; Winner of the Edgar, Anthony, Agatha, and Macavity Awards, and 2013 Mystery Writers of America Grand Master
“Kaye Barley is a treasure and a delight. Her wit, wisdom, imagination—and yes, whimsy!—shine from every page.”
—Hank Phillippi Ryan, Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity Award-Winning Author
“I really loved this story and the people of Whimsey. I believe that this is one of those books that will have universal appeal for a long, long time.”
—Mystery Author Beth Anderson
“The author puts all the things and people she loves into this book, painting a word picture of the South as it once was, and perhaps still is, either in reality or in our perception—a place of tradition, good manners and home cooking.”
—Pat Browning, author of Full Circle (reissued as Absinthe of Malice)
“The Island of Whimsey is a place where eccentricities are not only accepted as the norm, but encouraged and nurtured. I’d like to find the Island of Whimsey for myself!”
—Amazon reader and Top Contributor reviewer
“Don’t let the ghosts and pixies scare you away. If you’re in need of a short vacation for talented, mystical artists like yourself, whisk yourself away to the magic of Whimsey. If we can’t really GO there, at least we can pretend…”
—Elaine Drennon Little, author of A Southern Place
“I highly recommend this book to southern fiction lovers, especially fans of Sarah Addison Allen. This book has the same feel good aftereffect that Sarah’s books do.”
—An Amazon reader and reviewer
“Barley captures the essence of the Georgia Lowcountry as well as Pat Conroy in his Carolina Lowcountry novels. Whimsy: A Novel is filled with unforgettable characters that inhabit the imaginary Island of Whimsey on the Georgia Coast. Barley infuses suspense, intrigue, lost and found love, unbreakable friendships, family legacies, art, and even a naughty pixie, in her endearing tale of life on Whimsey Island. This book stays with you long after you have read the last page and leaves you wanting more, more, more! I’m looking forward to the sequel and you will do the same.”
—Dee Phelps, author of The Disappointment Room
“Barley brings all of her love of southern life, southern women, and art to Whimsey. It’s a story that sparkles with life and humor, and characters who enjoy all of it. And, Whimsey’s magical realism will remind readers of Ellery Adams and Sarah Addison Allen. It’s a charming book, filled with laughter.”
—Lesa Holstine, Reviewer