Suzy Barile Book Reading

It is always a treat to meet an author in person, especially one with which you have had only email contact for approximately five months.  I discovered Suzy Barile’s book Undaunted Heart: The True Story of a Southern Belle and a Yankee General on the North Carolina Writer’s Network, where both of us are members.  I emailed and asked if she would like to come to our community college to give a book reading as well as be the judge of our literary magazine, the Wilson Literary Review.  She graciously agreed to do both, and we began planning those events through only email communication. 

One thing I must say about Suzy is she is the consummate professional.  I have never worked with a person who is so dedicated to her craft and has the time to respond to every email within 24 hours or less–I never have.  This woman is also a community college teacher and is in the middle of moving into and renovating her new home, as well as traveling the state of North Carolina giving book readings.  Where does she find the time to do it all?  And the energy!

Suzy Barile held a book reading at our community college on March 18, 2010, discussing Undaunted Heart.   She is the great great granddaughter of Union General Smith Dykins Adkins and Ella Swain, daughter of David Lowry Swain, state governor and University of North Carolina President. 

According to Gita Schonfeld, Suzy Barile’s publicist, she says Barile refers to Undaunted Heart as an historic book, not a novel:  “Undaunted Heart is a non-fiction book (not a novel–though we hope it reads almost like one!).  It’s actually a history book; and the narrative strings together facts drawn from family letters, diaries, newspaper articles and other documents as well as oral history/ stories handed down through family and friends.  Excerpts from the original documents are integrated in the book’s storyline; (and one of Suzy’s goals was to separate the facts from the fictional accounts of her ancestor’s infamous story.)  I make the distinction because many readers looking for accurate historic information would not be interested in a novel or fictional work, even if that novel is based on fact” (Schonfeld).

The “infamous” story Schonfeld refers to is relationship that was formed between Ella and Smith during the South’s surrender in 1865 to Union troops who were ordered to capture the city of Chapel Hill.  Their scandalous relationship, Ella being from the South and Smith a Union General, did not set well with the residents of Chapel Hill who labeled them and Ella’s family as “turncoats.”  Ella and Smith managed to forge a relationship despite the political turmoil that faced the country at the time, eventually marrying and remaining “undaunted” in their commitment to each other.

It was a wonderful pleasure meeting Suzy Barile in person.  She sent a photo of herself ahead of time to be used for publicity purposes at our college, but she had never seen me in person.  When I met her, it was like meeting an old friend that I had not seen in years, yet kept in contact via email.  I have a good friend like that.  We don’t see each other often, but when we do, it is like picking up from where we last left off.  I can see Suzy being that type of person.  She is very personable and easygoing.  It was a joy talking with her and getting to know her in person.

If you get a chance to make one of Suzy  Barile’s book readings, please do so, and introduce yourself to her.  You will be pleasantly surprised at how down to earth she is. 

Keep up the hard work, Suzy!  I look forward to seeing Undaunted Heart on the big screen in the very, very near future.  Hint to all movie producers out there!

Click on these links for more info on Suzy Barile — . 

Click on this link to view pictures of Suzy Barile at a book reading at Wake Technical Community College —


My Artwork

This is my favorite flower and favorite color--magnolia and alizarin crimson

I love the way the watercolors glide over the 140 lb. watercolor, creating a marbling effect in the background.  Colors used are alizarin crimson, sap green, and payne’s gray.

Hats Off! at the North Carolina Writers’ Network

Information on my works is posted on the NCWN website:

Maureen Sherbondy–one of my favorite authors 

I first discovered Maureen Sherbondy at the North Carolina Writers’ Network after reading her article “Why I Belong to the NCWN.”  She has written three books–The Slow Vanishing, Prayer at Coffee Shops, and After the Fairy Tale–all of which I have ordered and plan to start reading as soon as my teaching schedule lightens up.  I look forward to delving into her works.

Read the article at this link:

Linda Beatrice Brown–one of my favorite authors

Read a review of Black Angels at this blog: 

Find out more about Black Angels at Linda Beatrice Brown’s website: 


The following titles have been selected as Chicago Public Library’s Best of the Best Books of 2009!

  • After by Amy Efaw (Viking 9780670011834)
  • Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko (Dial 9780803734609)
  • All of Baby, Nose to Toes by Victoria Adler, illus. by Hiroe Nakata (Dial 9780803732179)
  • Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen (Viking 9780670011940)
  • Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas (Viking 9780670062980)
  • Black Angels by Linda Beatrice Brown (Putnam 9780399250309)
  • The Brooklyn Nine by Alan Gratz (Dial 9780803732247)
  • Cork & Fuzz: Finders Keepers by Dori Chaconas, illus. by Lisa McCue (Viking 9780670011131)
  • Fire by Kristin Cashore (Dial 9780803734616)
  • Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith (Putnam 9780399247095)
  • Hold Still by Nina LaCour (Dutton 9780525421559)
  • If I Stay by Gayle Forman (Dutton 9780525421030)
  • Jane in Bloom by Deborah Lytton (Dutton 9780525420781)
  • Keena Ford and the Field Trip Mix-Up by Melissa Thomson, illus. by Frank Morrison (Dial 9780803732643)
  • Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel by Nikki Grimes, illus. by R. Gregory Christie (Putnam 9780399251757)
  • Marching for Freedom by Elizabeth Partridge (Viking 9780670011896)
  • Omnivore’s Dilemma: The Secrets behind What You Eat by Michael Pollan (Dial 9780803734159)
  • The Orange Houses by Paul Griffin (Dial 9780803733466)
  • Otis by Loren Long (Philomel 9780399252488)
  • Peace, Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson (Putnam 9780399246555)
  • Return to the Hundred Acre Wood by David Benedictus, illus. by Mark Burgess(Dutton 9780525421603)
  • Rhymes Round the World by Kay Chorao (Dutton 9780525478751)
  • Riki’s Birdhouse by Monica Wellington (Dutton 9780525420798)
  • Sweethearts of Rhythm by Marilyn Nelson, illust. by Jerry Pinkney (Dial 9780803731875)
  • The Vast Fields of Ordinary by Nick Burd (Dial 9780803733404)
  • Wink: The Ninja Who Wanted to Be Noticed by J.C. Phillips (Viking 9780670010929)
  • Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson (Viking 9780670011100)
  • Years of Dust: The Story of the Dust Bowl by Albert Marrin (Dutton 9780525420774)


The Chicago Public Library selects books that meet high standards of writing and illustration and that have a significant curriculum link. The Best of the Best list is presented in workshops to hundreds of public and school librarians from across Chicago, distributed to bookstores and put into wide release in the Chicago media.  The complete annotated list will be available in early 2010 at <>.  

Rachel Moore

School & Library Marketing Assistant

Penguin Young Readers Group

345 Hudson St/New York, NY 10014

p: 212-414-3505/f: 212-414-3393

Jack Riggs–one of my favorite authors

Read a review of Jack Riggs’ novel The Fireman’s Wife at this link:

I met Jack Riggs , author of The Fireman’s Wife and When the Finch Rises at the  Spring 2009 North Carolina Writers’ Network conference in Greensboro, North Carolina.  He was witty and inspiring and took the time to talk with me about my aspirations as a writer.  He gave me some sage advice and has been an inspiring and supportive resource for this up-and-coming writer.  I have commented on the NCWN website about the conference and about Jack Riggs:  (read my comments here)


Suzy Barile–one of my favorite authors

Suzy Barile is the judge for the literary magazine contest 2009-2010 of the Wilson Literary Review.  I have interviewed her and discussed her book, Undaunted Heart:  The True Story of a Southern Belle and a Yankee General

The interviews can be found at these links: — An Interview with Suzy Barile, Judge for the Literary Magazine Contest 2009-2010 (PART ONE) — An Interview with Suzy Barile, Judge for the Literary Magazine Contest 2009-2010 (PART TWO)

My literature, writing, and art!

What I do every morning to get started writing--drink my coffee

Welcome to Stepartdesigns’ Blog.  I am Katrina Parker Williams (KPWms for short).  I am an author, an artist, an English instructor, and editor of a community college literary magazine, the Wilson Literary Review.  My blog will contain my musings on literature, writing, art, and culture.   

To begin, I have works published or accepted for publication at the following literary magazines.  The purpose in my submitting these works to literary magazines is to eventually publish a short-story collection, containing previously published pieces along with new, unpublished pieces. 

  • a fictional piece “Rock” published at Charlotte Viewpoint.
  • a fictional piece “Aunt Luella’s House” and a poem “A Housewife’s Lament” published in the March 2010 issue of The Saints’ Placenta.
  • a poem “Bag of Clothes” accepted at All Things Girl for their March 2010 issue.
  • a poem “Revolt in the Cherokee Nation” accepted at Dead Mule for their July 2010 issue.
  • a fictional piece “Missus Buck” accepted at The Village Pariah.
  • a fictional piece “Grandpa’s Courtship” accepted at Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal for their July-September 2010 issue. 
  • a fictional piece “The Fear of My Father” published at Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal.
  • a fictional piece “Ms. Pimmelly’s City” published at usadeepsouth.

Katrina Parker Williams (KPWms)

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