A while back, I was invited to be the guest of honor at a book club meeting where they would be discussing my first novel, Restless Spirits. After a couple of months of being various amounts of totally psyched, nervous, and completely terrified, that book club meeting finally happened on the last weekend of January. And it was lovely.
Before I continue, I have to ask, how can I start a book club like this? It was more like a book party, with cocktails and excellent food. It was awesome, and it was the most fun I’ve had in quite a while.
Of course, I had no idea of what to expect on my way there. The whole thing was arranged by a friend of a friend, and the first-degree friend was going to be there, plus they let me bring along my sister for moral support, so I was less terrified than I might have been otherwise. I had some butterflies on the drive over, but I was a lot more zen about the whole thing than I expected to be.
And then I arrived to a warm welcome, and people actually acting excited to meet me, and calling me “The Author” and telling me that they loved my book, and then they handed me a cocktail and already it was one of the best nights ever. Certainly of my writing career, at any rate.
And then we got down to business and started discussing the book. That was a fun and interesting experience in and of itself. It was the first time I’ve ever discussed my work with a group of readers as opposed to other writers, and there really is a difference. When you talk about your writing with other writers, the conversation starts out about the writing and the various challenges you face, and then it veers off into general writing life quirks, and eventually (at least in my experience and circle of writer friends) it lands on either George R. R. Martin, Joss Whedon, or Doctor Who. Sometimes (often), all three.
This discussion was much more focused. These ladies had some great and sometimes challenging questions for me regarding story decisions, and they also had some insights into the story that had never even occurred to me, causing me to view my own story in a whole new light. They asked about things I had done, parallels I had set up, and I had no answer because I was completely unaware that I had done those things. The whole discussion was excellent, and also a great lesson in finding more pure readers to beta read my books from now on instead of relying solely on other writers.
So that was awesome. And then we grouped up to take some pictures, and I signed some paperback copies, and then we had food and more cocktails and from then on it was pretty much all party. My sis and I bailed out around 9:00, because I’m too old to be hip and party all night and I missed my husband and my sister had a long way to drive to get home. But I heard via Facebook that the regular book club gals kept going until the wee hours of the morning. I mean, dang, ladies.
So thank you, ladies of the awesome book club party, for inviting me and making me feel like a writer version of Cinderella.