BA Austin's Smell the Raindrops Finalist in Pacific Book Awards...

BA Austin's critically acclaimed intimate memoir, Smell the Raindrops: One Young Woman's Journey through Life, Love, and Recovery (Crescendo Press), shows no signs of being relegated to the dustbin of literary history. Two years after its official release, the book is still receiving praise, most recently having been named a finalist in the biography/memoirs category of the prestigious Pacific Book Awards Contest. In a starred review, PBA has compared Ms. Austin's book with such popular New York Times bestselling memoirs as Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees and Kathryn Stockett's The Help.

Described as "a rewarding read and an immersive experience that brings history alive through a poignant personal story," Smell the Raindrops "belongs in book group discussions across America," according to PBA. "BA Austin has written an autobiography which will show readers the evolution of a woman during a troubled life. . . . [It is] a memoir readers won't forget."

A compelling story about relationships and the challenges of being a Southern Belle baby-boomer born into significant wealth, Smell the Raindrops describes the author's long battle with, and triumph over, alcoholism. PBA compares her story of alcoholism to that of another New York Times bestseller, Drinking: A Love Story by Carolyn Knapp.

The book is also, in many ways, an ode to a poor black woman who filled an empty place in the life of the author as a young woman. "Segregation and social injustice created a peculiar bond between African-American women and the white children they so often raised as their own," writes a reviewer in Style Magazine. Smell the Raindrops brings that bond palpably alive as Karine, the family nanny, becomes a lifeline of love and acceptance.

Asked in a recent interview how she felt about the critical attention her book continues to receive, Ms. Austin talked about the big picture: "Since the book's publication, I've been writing articles about overcoming adversity and I continue to do interviews in which I talk about the book and the important values and life lessons I share with my readers. Being designated a finalist for a prestigious literary award is an honor, and it has afforded me the opportunity to further share my story.

"After a seven-year battle with alcohol, culminating in a thirty-day stay at the Betty Ford Center in 1997, I realized I had hit rock bottom. But I eventually found an inner strength that allowed me to take a strong look at myself and my life. That period of introspection ultimately led to my recovery and a life filled with happiness and love. I want my readers to know that they, too, can overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles, just as I did. Looking ahead, I will continue to share my story, through my writing, speaking at public venues, and media interviews."

Smell the Raindrops is "exceptionally well-written, organized, and presented. . . . an extraordinary and consistently engaging read from first page to last. . . . an engrossing memoir by a woman of privilege whose circumstances enabled her to embrace the less fortunate, and who ultimately met and fought her demons heroically, solidifying her faith and love for her family. A powerful, passionately told story that will appeal to anyone who relishes stories of courage and conviction."

-Midwest Book Review

BA Austin is an independent art history lecturer with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bowdoin College and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Memphis. She has served as an adjunct professor of art history at the University of San Diego. In Europe she completed in-depth studies on a number of subjects including renaissance architecture, and she is proficient in French. After living in Tennessee, Maine and California, Ms. Austin created this memoir based on her observations and impressions, capturing the nuance of each location along with its rich culture.
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Smell the Raindrops: One Young Woman's Journey through Life, Love, and Recovery by BA Austin (Crescendo Press, hardcover, $22.00)

Media contact: Victor Gulotta
Gulotta Communications, Inc.

"Against the backdrop of civil rights, women's rights and other much-needed movements to bring equality and dignity to all, a beautiful story of personal transformation unfolds. The daughter of a successful businessman and his stylish wife, Bethany Ann grows up in Memphis, studies in Maine, and experiences a bittersweet mix of love, heartbreak and triumph in California. Her number one guiding force at every stage is an enduring friendship, first in person and later in spirit, with her African-American nanny Karine, a nurturing woman of quiet strength who raised Bethany Ann as if she was her own daughter. A rewarding read and an immersive experience that brings history alive through a poignant personal story, Smell the Raindrops belongs in book group discussions across America." -PBA

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