Image via Wikipedia. . . themselves and their work.
I was thrilled to be invited to my first book group as an "author" Saturday afternoon in my new home-town of Katonah. I made my "debut" last December, and have been to numerous bookstores across the NorthEast, but had yet to partake in a more intimate setting: it was a mother-daughter book group, and they have been meeting since the girls started third grade. Now the "daughters" are finishing eighth grade and they had just read my novel Edges.
It was a mere ten minutes away from my own home, yet a part of Katonah unknown to me. Minutes after I arrived, the rain started to pour, creating an atmosphere of coziness and warmth. Five mother/daughter pairs and I adjourned from snacking in the dining room to a lovely sitting room. They asked if I would read a passage from Edges and I happily obliged, introducing everyone to The Moonflower Motel in Moab, Utah. We then spent the next 90 minutes engaged in a lively discussion, with excellent questions, mostly centered around the writing and publishing process.
We authors LOVE being invited places to share ourselves and talk about our work. Most of us aren't best selling authors like James Patterson or Nora Roberts - although I bet even they make time for intimate gatherings. (I know my grandmother, best-selling author Madeleine L'Engle always did!)
Writing is a solitary endeavor, yet we write not only for ourselves, but for others. We want our words to be read, and to spark dialogue, whether it's reader to reader, or reader to author. Everyone brings their own experience, background and even mood to what they read - it's endlessly fascinating.
Edges itself is a polarizing book - people tend to have extreme reactions to it. And I'm good with that. I respect myself as a writer - I am true to myself and the stories I write.
Your engagement with an author enriches their lives as well. So I encourage you to reach out! If you have read a book recently that touched you in some way, write to the author. Don't be afraid you are "bothering" them. You will get an appreciative response, and maybe even a new pen pal.
And I will be writing more "fan" letters myself . . . I am especially looking forward to starting a mother/daughter book group myself in a couple of years, once my daughter starts third grade!