When Carole Townsend decided to write a book about the real lives of adult women, she had no idea what it would grow to be. After months of extensive travel and in-depth research, her second book, Red Lipstick and Clean Underwear, is scheduled for release Aug. 31.
“I looked at the advice we have gotten as women,” Townsend explained. “It's all pretty much useless.”
So much of the advice young women receive, according to Townsend, focuses on grooming and how to attract a husband. She spoke with women from all over the country, and the book has turned out to be a celebration of women.
“Women are amazing,” she said. “We change because we have to. Your life isn’t the same now as when your child is an infant, or 10 or in college.”
This book will ride on the coattails of her first book, Southern Fried White Trash, released last year. The book received rave reviews and did very well for a first time published work.
CNN's T.J. Holmes called it "funny and witty," while the Los Angeles Times called it "delightful and refreshingly entertaining and humorous."
Townsend is a reporter for the Gwinnett Daily Post and covers the City of Loganville. She is a regular at the Loganville City Council meetings. She also has has a regular column in the paper called Food for Thought.
Snellville Patch spoke with Townsend earlier this week about her new release.
Snellville Patch: Who is publishing Red Lipstick and Clean Underwear?
Townsend: Crabgrass publishing. It’s a company that, through the process of getting the first book out and into the market, some close associates and I founded. It’s dedicated to helping authors who are trying to figure out the craziness of the publishing business.
Snellville Patch: What aspects of publishing does Crabgrass handle?
Townsend: We can provide a la carte services or the whole ball of wax without ripping people off. And boy, are there some tigers out there! This business will eat you up, and if you don’t know what you’re doing you’re in trouble and won’t reach your ultimate goal.
Snellville Patch: What was your own experience like with your debut novel? How did you promote it?
Townsend: Every single weekend for about seven months, I was in a city somewhere in the southeast for a book signing. And what leads up to that is the TV and radio interviews. It was such a whirlwind; I had to do a reality check halfway through. It was an education and an experience and I know what to expect this time.
Snellville Patch: What was it like getting out and meeting your readers?
Townsend: I was walking on the beach last week and this lady walked up to me. I’ve been out there so much working my tail off, and she stopped and said, “I know you! You’re Southern Fried White Trash!” She said they read it in their book club. That’s when you see your work coming full circle and it’s paying off.
Snellville Patch: You mentioned you have done TV and radio interviews. Tell me more about that.
Townsend: Well, TV does add at least ten pounds! It was mostly in the southeast. For Southern Fried White Trash I was interviewed by CNN’s T.J. Homes in December, was on several FOX News stations, including Fox 5 Atlanta, ABC, NBC and CBS affiliates. I was also interviewed by MSNBC, LA Times and Christian Science Monitor, as well as by more than 60 local and national radio stations.
Snellville Patch: Tell me one of your memorable moments as you were traveling across the southeast.
Townsend: I went to the beach one month in January – you’re running into the snowbird population then. I would get out and walk, and I ran across four or five women one day… One of these women was a mother of eight, and right before Christmas she lost her 20-year-old son…
Her girlfriends and sister-in-law gathered around her and took her to the beach. We talked for at least four hours. We all laughed, we got to the point where we were all crying. That’s just one cool example of some women I got to talk to.
Snellville Patch: What type of woman does this new book focus on? Any particular age group?
Townsend: The book takes a look at women’s lives at each stage of life. I interviewed women ages 30 through 80. From marriage to kids to education to hormones, you name it we cover it.
At one point, we were talking about being in your 30s, when you’re launching your career, raising your children at a challenging age and women … we bear the brunt of it. You’re the one sweating and working at 8 am. This woman, she was 68, just a tiny thin Southern thing, she said she and her husband almost got divorced when she was 38. We all were shocked and said why, what happened?
She said, he cleans his ears with his car keys!
Well, of course, it wasn’t just that… but one stupid thing can make you snap.
Snellville Patch: How do you balance having three children with your writing career?
Townsend: When you get into this business of writing it takes most of your time. But my youngest is 20 and oldest is 26. In this business, it all meshes very nicely. When I go to a cool city like Savannah, we all pack up and go.
Snellville Patch: What’s going on next?
Townsend: It’s been an amazing ride, and it’s really just starting. I’m writing right now and doing speaking engagements locally. I do a lot of talking about reinventing your career in your 50s. If you get a chance to finally do what you love to do, embrace it, because you’ll be successful.