Before she became First Lady of Houston, Andrea White didn’t want her husband to run for public office.
“How to get ready to judge dog shows?” she asks in her recently-published book, P.S. Passionate Supporter and Political Spouse. “How to build up my endurance for four events in one night? How to develop a thick skin?"
White, one of the first female partners at the law firm now known as Locke Lord Bissell and Liddell, had never enjoyed the limelight.
“I’ve always been more of a spectator,” she writes. “I was scared. On the other hand, I didn’t want to stand in his way. I gave him my blessing and kept my deep reservations to myself.”
But she came to terms with life as a political spouse and actually learned to enjoy it. Her husband, Mayor Bill White, is now running for the U.S. Senate — with her enthusiastic blessing.
Her new book is a collection of journal entries she jotted down since 2004, during which time she has also written three books for teens: Surviving Antarctica, Window Boy and Radiant Girl.
Q: What prompted you to write P.S. Passionate Supporter and Political Spouse?
A: When you care about something larger than yourself you end up growing. This book is a behind the scenes look at that process. I pulled together my recollections, scribbled on pieces of paper and in my saved e-mails; it’s also a fun way to thank volunteers and supporters.
Q: What is the hardest part of being a political spouse?
A: The first few months after Bill was elected mayor, I was tense and uncertain because I felt overwhelmed by the vast undefined borders that are part of the job. Once I relaxed, I began to enjoy the role, and I particularly have enjoyed meeting and getting to know the many diverse groups who live in Houston.
Q: How have you found time to write P.S. as well as the three teen books? It sound like you're a very organized person.
A: If I’m able to work through lunch, I generally can find time to write. I’m organized, but you have to understand that for me writing isn’t work. It’s fun! It doesn’t take discipline to sit and write. If I have the time, I’ll be in a comfortable chair in my bedroom with my computer in my lap.
Q: You say in P.S. that you are often asked about your favorite books. What are you reading now, and what have you read recently that you liked?
A: Right now I’m reading Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Stout, the winner of the Pulitzer Prize. (It's a short story collection about life in small towns in Maine as seen by the title character). My favorite books in the last six months have been Jack Swyteck’s Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super Athletes and The Greatest Race the World has Never Seen and The Help by first-time author Kathryn Stockett, a personal, fictionalized account of the civil rights movement in Jackson, Mississippi in 1962.
Q: Is there anything you'd like to add?
A: My journal P.S. is a way to start a conversation about the roles we play in each other’s lives. I invite your readers to join that conversation by visiting my blog. What and whom do you passionately support? And how does that enrich your life? I’d love to hear from all you passionate supporters out there.