The Queen of Kentucky (2012)
The best songs come from broken hearts.
Sixteen-year-old Bird Barrett has grown up on the road, singing backup in her family’s bluegrass band, and playing everywhere from Nashville, Tennesee to Nowhere, Oklahoma. One fateful night, Bird fills in for her dad by singing lead, and a scout in the audience offers her a spotlight all her own.
Soon Bird is caught up in a whirlwind of songwriting meetings, recording sessions, and music video shoots. Her first single hits the top twenty, and suddenly fans and paparazzi are around every corner. She’s even caught the eye of her longtime crush, fellow roving musician Adam Dean. With Bird’s star on the rise, though, tradition and ambition collide. Can Bird break out while staying true to her roots?
In a world of glamour and gold records, a young country music star finds her voice.
Alecia Whitaker grew up with a big imagination on a small farm in Kentucky, which was worlds away from where she currently resides in fast-paced New York City. She knows more about cows, tobacco, frog gigging, and carpentry than the average girl, and she applies the work ethic and common sense she learned from her southern upbringing to the way she now navigates her career and family life in the big city.
Now living in New York City with her husband and sons, she is amused at how often her big imagination takes her back to a simpler life in Kentucky.
What’s YOUR country theme song?
Why is this question so hard? In my teens, it was “American Girl” by Trisha Yearwood. It was a karaoke go-to because it’s easy to sing to and I’m nothing if not patriotic.
Then in my early 20’s, I found myself crooning to “Why Not Me?” by the Judds. Wynona and I were both two Kentucky girls pleading with our crushes and demanding to know why we weren’t good enough. It was epic.
And now that I’m good and into my 30’s, I find myself attached to “Boys From the South” as I reminisce about the good ol’ boys from back home and the Kentucky boy that I ended up with.
Favorite Kentucky Cuisine? Is it Hot Brown, Derby Pie, Beer Cheese, something else?
In fact, I was back home for one-day-only and had a Hot Brown from Ramsey’s for my birthday. Heart attack on a plate, but oh, what a way to go.
Can you play any instrument? If not, did you take lessons as a kid in anything? Any instruments you wish you knew how to play? Any instruments you’ll make your kiddos take lessons for?
I took piano lessons for many years as a kid, I killed it on the flute-o-phone in the 5th grade, and I was 1st Chair on the Saxophone all through middle school earning my school’s first ever Superior Plus recognition. But I stopped playing music of any kind in high school and focused on more important things in life: boys.
All joking aside, I couldn’t manage band, cheerleading, soccer, AP classes, and church where I was super active.
But I wish I had learned to play the guitar. In college, I got a guy to teach me a little, but I lost interest in both the boy and the instrument pretty quickly.
I’ll definitely encourage my sons to play an instrument because there’s something so appealing about expressing yourself through music. I loved it and since I always picked it up quickly, I wish I’d had someone in my family to share it with. I think that whenever you do things together, it’s more fun and therefore lasting. So I’ll probably pick up lessons again when my boys are old enough to learn.
Favorite brand of cowboy boots? (Personally, we love Ariats!)
This is a hard question for me. Justin made my first ever pair of boots and I just had them re-soled after 10 years of stomping through the streets of NYC. However, when I wrote Wildflower, I gave myself a goal: if I met every deadline, then I could buy a new pair of boots. This time I got a shorter boot by Ariat and I adore them and get lots of compliments. So Justin and Ariat are tied for me. I love my boots. They’re the stilettos of my thirties.
Tell us about the inspiration for WILDFLOWER!
Bird’s story just really fits my brand: commercial rural fiction. I adore the show “Nashville” and think it’d be so cool to have “Nashville” for teens. I loved watching Taylor Swift’s star take off and am fascinated by that whole thing – a massive life change so young in life – because those are important “getting to know yourself” years and it must be insane to try to figure out who you are at the same time the whole world wide wants to know you, too.
Huge thanks for Alecia for answering our questions! The Queen of Kentucky was a favorite of ours and we were so, so thrilled when we saw that she had another book coming out. Sash LOVED Wildflower and is ready for more of Bird’s story!
And now a giveaway: