Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Author! Author!

       With the release of my newest novel, The Resurrection of Tess Blessing, coming up on December 9th, one of the things I'm most excited about are book events. When my first novel, Whistling in the Dark, was declared a break-out hit and New York Times bestseller, I was utterly bowled over.  Especially after the invitations came pouring in from readers who invited me to their monthly book club discussions, and the bookstores that’d set aside evenings for me to speak.  Almost overnight I, a fifty-seven-year-old menopausal woman who felt lucky to remember where she’d parked her car, had magically morphed into a sought-after author. 

     I’m deeply grateful for all the time I’ve spent talking to readers who share their wine, tasty treats, and feelings. While many of their reactions to my books have moved me to tears, it’s not always been a smooth sail. Here are a couple of the more intriguing ones along with my responses that I may or may not have spoken aloud.

          This from a woman at a Milwaukee library event during a discussion of Whistling in the Dark,  “I like the book and everything, but I grew up during that era and I think you should’ve tried harder to be more accurate. You do know that there were no homosexuals in Milwaukee during the nineteen-fifties, don’t you?”

        Me: (Stunned.) “Ahhh…are you suggesting that gay men weren’t invented until 1967 in San              Francisco?”

       When absolutely nobody showed up to hear me speak in a bookstore in Michigan, the sweet manager tried to cheer me up by telling me, "Don't feel bad. Everyone's probably at the grand opening of the new Dollar Store. They're giving away combs. You wanna head over there?"

        Me: (A woman who hadn't had a drink in over thirty years.) "Will we be passing a bar along the way?"

        This last encounter took place when a publisher's representative, let's call her Sylvia, and I were lunching together before the release of my first novel. This gal, who was supposed to be my book's biggest supporter, had just inserted a dinner roll into her mouth when I asked her what she thought the chances were that Whistling in the Dark would be selected by the independent booksellers highly coveted BookSense list.
      Her: (Snort-laughing so uncontrollably that the dinner roll became lodged in her throat.)

      Me: (sitting in the ruins of a burst bubble.) "Oh, gosh, Sylvia. I do believe you're choking." I reached across the table and barely patted her on the back, just a graze, really. "I used to know the Heimlich maneuver, but gosh, my memory just isn't what it used to be. Have you seen my keys?"


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