Greenville author Megan Prewitt Koon is fresh off the recent publication of her debut novel, “Sweet Divinity,” a story of one woman’s journey toward self-discovery.
If the title is any giveaway, it’s also a tale of sweetness — both literal sweetness (expect some mouth-watering descriptions of delicious pastries and desserts) as well as the more metaphorical kind.
So it’s only right that we chatted with Koon over bowls of chocolate gelato to hear more about her process and motivation as a writer.
What is “Sweet Divinity” about?
It’s a story of a woman whose marriage dissolves and she moves back to the farm on which she was raised to try to restart her life, to find herself again as an independent person. She’s trying to recapture the goals that she originally had. Her life has morphed, of course, in order to be part of a family. But she had goals of being a baker, a small-business owner, and opening her own place. Now she’s a single mother, moving back in with her mom, which has a whole lot of complications going along with it, so she’s navigating those transitions in life. Really, the story is about how much of home stays with you even when you go off and make a new life for yourself. You may have gone to a whole new place, but how much of that home is still retained inside of you?
What was the inspiration for the story?
Well, I grew up on a farm in northwest Georgia, in a very small town called Chatsworth. When I came to Greenville to attend Furman University, I thought it was just the biggest city. So I grew up with that experience of wanting to get out of my farm town and go somewhere else. I had dreams of going to New York City, all these big goals. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun to appreciate more of the nice things about where I came from. In that small town, the things that used to annoy me before, I now find many of them charming. Now that I have that shifted perspective, I was thinking about that and trying to write something that was both critical where it should be of the place I’m from, but was also in many ways a love letter of sorts to that kind of place too.
What’s the story behind the title?
I didn’t have any idea of what the title would be until I was almost completely finished with the book. I was thinking about how when I was a little girl, one of my favorite things to do in my hometown was to go to the country fair, and my favorite booth at the fair was a church’s booth at which they sold divinity candy. I realized later that a lot of people don’t know what divinity candy is. It’s basically egg whites and sugar, a confection. It looks like a white meringue, but it’s very sticky. It’s all kinds of goodness: white, fluffy looking, pure sugar, which is divine. I was thinking about that candy and how much I loved it, and also how painstaking a process it is to make divinity candy. It takes a lot of time and effort. So I really like the double play on the divinity that is the candy, as well as the divine intervention, so to speak, when things finally come together and the universe is on your side. And the journey toward reaching that point is really what this book is all about.