California resident and author Shelly King has fond memories of her childhood in Orangeburg, a place that was on her mind as she was writing her debut novel.
King is the daughter of the late Edgar King, who taught at Claflin University, and Virginia (King) Gilbertson, a social worker who worked for the Orangeburg County Council on Aging. She recently published “The Moment of Everything,” a funny, romantic novel about a young woman finding her calling while saving a used bookstore.
“It’s about a young woman, Maggie, who is working in Silicon Valley. The start-up company she’s been working for has gone under and she’s a little lost. She starts hanging out at her neighbor’s used bookstore and finds a copy of ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ that has love notes written in the margins,” King said. “Finding these notes just completely turns her life upside down.”
“I think anyone who’s curious about Silicon Valley would like the book,” she adds. “I’ve lived out here in California for 20 years, and I worked in high-tech almost the whole time. Anyone who likes bookstores would like the book because most of the novel takes place in this used bookstore. There’s a lot in there about what is it like to actually work in a bookstore.”
King, who lives in the mountains just outside of Santa Cruz, said she had her own hometown in mind as she was writing the book.
“I was born in Tennessee, but my family moved to Orangeburg when I was about 2. So Orangeburg’s the first home I remember. And even though my novel is set in Silicon Valley, my main character, Maggie, is a Southern girl from a small town in South Carolina,” she said.
King notes, “While I didn’t name Orangeburg specifically, it was definitely on my mind as Maggie’s hometown.”
The Rose Festival and playing tennis at the Hillcrest Golf Course are among her memories of her time in Orangeburg.
“I was really there all the way through my childhood. I moved away in my teens, but I remember the Rose Festival. We lived over there by the Hillcrest Golf Course, and I played tennis all the time. I also remember Dukes Barbecue. I can tell you there’s no Dukes Barbecue here in California,” she said, laughing.
King said she plans to write full time following her retirement as a community manger with software company Intuit, but her foray into writing was not planned.
“It was kind of a funny thing. About 10 years ago, I was kind of in a similar situation as my main character. I had worked for this Internet startup and it went under. I was just a little bit lost, and so I just started taking classes for fun,” King said.
“I was thinking I needed something else in my life, and a writing class is what stuck with me. I just had taken more writing classes and workshops, and then I got this idea for a novel and here we are,” she said, noting while her plan is to become a full-time writer, she will probably always do some consulting work.
“I’m just a big nerd so I’ll always probably do some consulting on the side,” she said, laughing.
Copies of “The Moment of Everything” can be purchased at Amazon, Costco, Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million, as well as other outlets.
For more information on King, her book or to reach her via social media, visit her website at http://shellyking.com/.
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