An aspiring contemporary screenwriter, a 1970s socialite-turned-feminist, and the camp in the woods that ties their stories together forever, in #1 internationally bestselling author Karma Brown’s new novel about ambition, betrayal, and the wildness that exists in all of us.
Rowan is stuck. Her dream of becoming a Hollywood screenwriter is stalled, and so she and her novelist fiancé, Seth, retreat to an isolated cabin in the Adirondacks to hopefully get out of their creative ruts. There, Rowan finds herself drawn into a mysterious and unsettling story—that of socialite-turned-feminist-crusader Eddie Callaway, who vanished in these same woods the summer of 1975 and was never heard from again. A handbook found in the abandoned ruins of the Callaway camp gives Rowan glimpses into who Eddie was, and then a fateful discovery offers clues about what might have happened to her. Soon, Rowan finds herself with a story potentially more shocking than Eddie’s notes about sun salutations and pineapple upside-down cake would indicate.
As Rowan learns more about the enigmatic Eddie, who got a second chance at life after a profound loss, she discovers the camp leader’s greatest wish: to help other women unlock their true, though long-repressed, “wildness.” However, Eddie’s methods and wild ways weren’t welcomed by all, and rifts between the camp owners threatened her mission, perhaps perilously. As Rowan draws closer to the truth of Eddie’s unsolved disappearance, she realizes that the past may hold two keys: one that reveals what really happened to Eddie Callaway, and another that unlocks a future beyond her wildest imagination.
"Karma Brown keeps delivering knockout after knockout. She is an auto-buy author for me!" —Taylor Jenkins Reid
“Brown cleverly converges the two storylines…and the descriptions of the natural beauty and peace of the forest will have readers longing for an escape of their own. Readers who enjoy dual-time-period novels featuring strong women characters will be delighted.” —Booklist
“A story of self-discovery in a gorgeously-drawn setting, What Wild Women Do isn’t afraid to confront the bold choices women must make sometimes, and its dual-timeline heroines are both perfectly suited for the job. Karma Brown’s latest is a heartfelt exploration into the importance of honesty, legacy, and being true to one’s self.” —Shelby Van Pelt, New York Times bestselling author of Remarkably Bright Creatures
"What Wild Women Do is a total joy to read—it’s mysterious, atmospheric and pacey, with heaps of heart and soul. Rowan and Eddie are two women to root for, each on their own soul-searching journey of independence and a reckoning with their past. An uplifting celebration of women, and the courage it takes to find one’s true self." —Ashley Audrain, New York Times bestselling author of The Push
“Brown’s latest is a remarkable story of two complicated women, almost fifty years apart, trying to make a mark in a world that often demeans and trivializes their dreams. Set in the lush Adirondack forest, the story addresses feminism, friendship, and the creative spirit, and is guaranteed to keep readers guessing until the very end. A terrific read.” —Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Spectacular
Author interview with Karma ~
What is something about you that would surprise people?
For those who don’t know me well, probably that I’m an introvert. I like to say I’m an “extroverted introvert,” which means I can be outgoing and relaxed in front of large groups, or at social gatherings. But my energy comes from being alone, or enjoying the company of a couple close friends. I really excel at being a hermit!
Where do you get your ideas, or what inspired this book plot?
I am lucky in that I never seem to struggle with book ideas, though that doesn’t mean every idea works out. For WHAT WILD WOMEN DO, it was Rowan’s story (the modern day protagonist) that landed first, but the book also had a very different plot at the time. I went through many iterations of this plot, and it wasn’t until I settled on the Adirondacks and the great camp as a setting, based on my childhood visits to a similar camp, that Eddie’s story revealed itself. Finding the heart of the novel (which was always going to be about women finding independence, and self-discovery) was a journey and a half, but it was worth it in the end.
you have a manuscript(s) in your drawer? If so, will it ever see the light of
I actually have
two completed manuscripts in a drawer, along with a half-dozen, multi-page
synopses for other book ideas, and maybe one or two partial books? As for
seeing the light of day, I don’t suspect any of these will. However, each one
was critical in getting the nine books I have published now on the shelf. Every
attempt is good practice.
I wasn’t an author, I might be…?
In an alternate
universe I would be a zoo veterinarian. Or maybe a pastry chef, working in
Paris. My protagonist of my work-in-progress is an art conservator, and it’s a
fascinating career I knew nothing about…so that might be something I would
choose to explore, if I was career hopping. I’m endlessly curious, in case that
Do you have a particular
I’ve been writing in the early-morning hours (think 5 a.m.
early) for about a decade, and it’s a solid habit now. I also use rigorous
synopses and character outlines before I start writing a story, and am a
die-hard Scrivener (writing software program) fan. Everything else varies,
depending on story context and life happenings. With WHAT WILD WOMEN DO I wrote
one entire timeline and POV before shifting to the other. I’ve never done that
before, and wouldn’t set out to do it again, but it’s what made sense for this
Finish this: “I can’t write without…”
Because I write early in the morning, this is non-negotiable.
is a bestselling book you’ve been itching to read?
One book I can’t
wait to read is SHARK HEART, by Emily Habeck. I’m a sucker for a good allegory,
and the concept for this one (a woman’s husband slowly transforms into a great white shark) sold me.
you have a favorite character?
Eddie Callaway, my
1975, 50-year-old socialite-turned-feminist protagonist, is probably my
favorite character. I turned 50 around the time I was editing the book, and
Eddie became a beacon for me as I navigated some of the challenging parts of
being an aging woman. Plus, she was fun to write! There’s something special
about crafting a woman who is firmly anchored in who she is, and w
this sentence: “If I could write about anything, it would be…?”
I’m obsessed with
the idea of writing a haunted house story. One day…
you have any advice for aspiring writers?
hesitant to give advice, because what works for one writer may not work for
another. However, the “you can’t edit a blank page” advice is worth taking,
meaning you need to get your butt in the seat and get the words on the page.
The only job of a messy, terrible first draft is for it to exist. That’s it.
Everything else can be fixed later.
book and/or movie?
One of my favorite
books is THE STEPFORD WIVES by Ira Levin. I’ve probably read it a dozen times,
and am on the hunt for an original 1972 edition that I can add to my bookshelf.
there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?
Thank you for
reading books! Not only mine, but all books, in all genres. It warms my
author’s heart (and my reader’s heart, too).