Pat Conroy to Publish 1st Book Since '95

The Associated Press
Saturday, April 7, 2007; 5:31 PM

FRIPP ISLAND, S.C. -- "The Prince of Tides" author Pat Conroy says he's finishing his first novel in more than a decade, and it will mark a return to the same dysfunctional characters he's known for.

Conroy's last book was a cookbook published in 2004.

"I loved writing that book. ... Now, of course, everybody in this new book is dying and driving themselves off cliffs," he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "So I'm back to normal."

The new novel is set in Charleston and is already nearly 700 pages, Conroy said. "It drives me nuts. But long-windedness ... there's nothing you can do about it. I wanted to write a 250-page novel, but I realize I can't even write a prologue that's 250 pages."

Conroy, 62, said his wife Cassandra King, author of "Queen of Broken Hearts," is a much happier writer.

"I'll hear her cackle with laughter at some funny line she's written," he said. "I've never cackled with laughter at a single line I've ever written. None of it has given me pleasure. She writes with pleasure and joy, and I sit there in gloom and darkness."

Conroy has not published a novel since 1995's "Beach Music." He spoke to the newspaper to promote a fund-raising appearance he's making for a library foundation.

© 2007 The Associated Press