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Saturday December 4th

Author John Warley shares experiences with adoption in latest novel

“Blood and kinship has a concerned significance in the south,” he said. “When I brought home a date, my mother would say ‘Who are your people?’ meaning ‘Do I know or am I related to anyone you’re related to?’”

Warley is the author of “A Southern Girl,” a novel based on Warley’s real-life experiences of adopting a Korean girl into a family in Charleston, S.C.

“I realized that it had opened my mind and heart to the process of adoption in a way I had not expected,” he said. “Often when you write you do it to explain yourself. In my case it was 400 pages.”

He said adoption was not something he planned to do in his lifetime, but after having two biological sons, his wife Barbara convinced him this was the only way they would have a daughter.

“It’s a paperwork transaction at the heart of it, and then you go on instinct that it’ll work out,” he said. “It’s a great leap of faith.”

Flyleaf Books will host a reading and signing of “A Southern Girl,” on June 5 at 7 p.m. along with a wine and cheese reception.

Linnie Greene, marketing coordinator at Flyleaf, said the novel is rare but combines something very real that confronts the societal norms of Charleston.

“He took a real life event involving discrimination, not fitting in, prejudice and people being stuck in their ways, and makes it more relatable than a normal fiction novel would,” she said.

Warley’s publicist, Kathie Bennett, said initially, Warley was reluctant to adopt and many of the scenes in the novel portray this developing relationship between him and his adoptive daughter.

She said what draws people into his stories is the authenticity and very real relationship between father and daughter.

“It’s fiction, but it’s a lot of truth behind the fiction,” Bennett said. “We try to pretend that we are not old school, but there are many components in southern society that are closed.”

Warley said he thinks one of the reasons the adoption rate is declining is because of the “hate convention” on adoptions in the United States.

Contact the desk editor at arts@dailytarheel.com.



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