Pat Conroy interviews Cassandra King
Pat Conroy: My name is Pat Conroy. I’d like to introduce you to my wife, Cassandra King. She’s the author of Queen of Broken Hearts. Cassandra, who is the queen of broken hearts?
Cassandra King: The queen of broken hearts is the main character of my new book, but she carries this mantle because she is a divorce therapist and she helps with divorce recovery. And in her personal life, she has a daughter who is married and who seems to be very happily married, but that proves not to be the case, so she also has the pain of watching someone she loves go through a divorce as well. So she carries this title for many reasons.
Pat Conroy: My favorite character in your book was Lex Yarbrough.
Cassandra King: He should be your favorite character. I based him on one of my favorite husbands, that happens to be the current one. What did you think of the portrait of you as Lex in Queen of Broken Hearts?
Pat Conroy: You know, if you had wit, you’d have seen this as a chance to make an everlasting character. Charismatic, handsome, desirable, wonderful, articulate beyond human belief. But you made him a Maine lobsterman with a dull personality and a low IQ. So, no, I think you did not do very well at all. I was halfway through the book when I finally said, My god. This guy seems familiar to me.
Cassandra King: I figured you would eventually put two and two together, see some of your characteristics in Lex. You think it was the same thing like your father felt when he read…?
Pat Conroy: My father read the book, threw the book—The Great Santini—across the room, and stomped on it.
Cassandra King: Well, I am so glad you did not do that.
Pat Conroy: No, I did not do that. You and I have both been accused of writing novels with Southern themes. Tell me about your relationship with Fairhope, Alabama, and why it was important for you to get that in this book.
Cassandra King: Fairhope, Alabama, is on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay, and it has an amazing history. It was established as a utopia by a group of men and women from the Midwest, who just decided they wanted to create a utopian society. So they set out, without knowing what was going to happen, if they could survive it. And I saw that as sort of a metaphor for the way each of us start out on our marriage, start a new life. We don’t know where we’re going, we don’t know what we’re going to find when we get there.
Pat Conroy: What do you hope that readers will take away from Queen of Broken Hearts?
Cassandra King: I would like for the readers to see the importance of sharing our experiences and our pain with others, how this helps us in the healing process. And let them see, this is not the end of the world. This is painful but I can go on, I can survive
Pat Conroy: Queen of Broken Hearts is a great novel. I salute you, Cassandra King.
Cassandra King: Thank you so much. Thank you for doing this.