Thursday, September 20, 2007

I Heart Book Clubs

This is the 420 Blazers Book Club of Liberty, Mo., pictured with the Woman With the World's Biggest Forehead. From left: Kimberly Pukay, Sandy Dungan, Rachel Monger, Cathy Carrillo, Todd Tyler, me, Eric Morey, Dustin Greer.

Some book authors won't do book club appearances, because they think there will be too few people to make it worth their while. I couldn't disagree more. See those nice people above? They are book club members. It's true I drove about half an hour on a Saturday to find them. It's true there are only seven of them. But it was so worth it to me. They were so much fun. They had all read my latest book and talked about it with an enthusiasm and intelligence that warmed this author's heart. And they put out wonderful food, too. Book clubs always have the best food! After we talked about my book, some of them bought copies to give to other people, or copies of other books I've written. In strictly business terms, their word-of-mouth will be the best friend I have in Liberty, Mo. And see the woman on the far left? Kimberly arranged all this, and she gave me a crystal necklace and earrings she had designed and made, and they're lovely! I wear them a lot.

When you first "do" book clubs, it's a little scary, really, because, I mean, they've read it. They may have questions the author can't answer. They may want to know why a character did this, or didn't do that. They have opinions. Fortunately for me, the opinions of this group of readers were generous and kind to me and my book.

I've appeared at or talked (via speaker phone) to a lot more book clubs with this book than with any other book I've ever written, mainly because the trade paperback is a book club edition with discussion questions at the back of it. The phone conversations are more challenging for me, because I'm so phone phobic. Worse than that, though, is the fact that I can't eat any of the desserts! Last night, I spoke to a group at High Crimes mystery book store in Boulder Colorado, where one of the women had made a dessert pizza inspired by the pizza some of the characters eat in my book.

I love book clubs, but I don't actually belong to one. That would be too much like a busman's holiday, I think. I just like to visit them, in hopes of nice people, good conversation and lemon tart.

20 comments:

Nancy P said...

Happy Friday! It is Friday, isn't it?

katiebird said...

(Whew) YES! And soon it will be my favorite moment of all -- Friday at 5pm!!

I keep forgetting to pick up a paperback copy of your book -- I haven't seen the questions.

Beth said...

Morning ladies! Sounds like you had fun, Nancy. That's great that you're willing to spend your time with your readers - it must be interesting, and hopefully reinforcing, to spend time with people who have read and enjoy your work.

And if you get lemon tart too...? Woo hoo!

katiebird said...

Hi Beth,
I'm SO glad you're back!

Nancy P said...

G'morning, katiebird and Beth! Early birds around here. I'm taking my momn to a pain clinic this morning,where we hope they'll help her with her back pain. Then I have another hippo birdie lunch! Work? Who said something about work? Hush your mouth!

katiebird said...

I'm sorry about your Mom's pain issues Nancy. I hope the clinic has some relief for her.

Beth said...

Hi kb - I'm glad to be back! Well, back here - not so sure about back to work. :-)

Echoing kb's wishes for your mom, Nancy. Enjoy your lunch - no reason a birthday has to last just one day!

TGIF!

FARfetched said...

Food for thought. (And the hips. And gut. And...) Seriously, I'd never heard of a book club per se, unless you count those book of the month things. I would think it has to be a good idea to make the rounds of local/regional book clubs as well as the stores — I mean, the clubs feed you and you can still write off the mileage. :-)

Hooray for Friday!

kimberly pukay said...

Hi Nancy - Thanks so much for posting our book club on your blog. We are so happy you enjoyed it, we most certainly did! Looking forward to seeing you again soon! Kimberly

Kelly McCullough said...

Howdy all.

I for one would be perfectly happy to go to a book club that had read one of my novels, but that's still mostly above my writing weight class. It sounds lovely. The only thing about the idea that causes me concern. Is that by the time one of my books hits the shelves I've usually written at least two more and the details of the current release are awfully fuzzy.

Good luck with the pain clinic.

Nancy P said...

Mornin', Far!

Hi, Kimberly Pukay! I'm delighted that you dropped by. If I had a digital camera, I'd show everybody the pretty jewelry you made.

Kelly--I *do* have that problem of forgetting the details of the book club book because I'm deep into the next one.

As for the pain clinic, arrgh. She's 91, she's already in a lot of pain. One appointment today to arrange another appointment in a week to arrange another appointing in. . . meanwhile, pain. AND she needed a blood test WHICH THEY COULDN'T GIVE HER IN THE HOSPITAL TODAY BECAUSE HER HMO WON'T ALLOW IT. Same g*damn HMO that allowed her to have a BLOOD TRANSFUSION a year ago. But the only way they'll effing take her blood for a routine test is if she has her CAT scan on the very same day, which. . .

Oh, nevermind! 96 million Americans without health insurance at some time in the past year. And the ones who do have it, "Sorry, it's not an alternate Tuesday between new moons on the fifth of the Belgium New Year."

End of rant. Start of getting ready for lunch!

Kelly McCullough said...

I think it's an issue for most writers because the pace of publishing is so glacial. I was talking with my class last night about the fact that CodeSpell will be going from contract and starting the book to bookstores in 17 months and that that is like greased lightning for a book. I sometimes wonder what it must be like for Kris Rusch or Kevin Anderson who both occasionally write books at a pace that hits the double digits in a single year.

Beth said...

Sorry, Nancy. That is just awful. Since when did insurance companies start telling doctors how to practice medicine?? Grrr. Rant away - it's not right.

Poor Mom. :-(

Kelly McCullough said...

Grr to HMO red tape and all the suffering it causes.

Nancy P said...

Yeah, Kelly and Beth, I think that HMO sometimes stands for Hellacious Medical Overseers.

Just back from a bday lunch that was lots o' fun and took my mind off the morning.

Beth said...

Glad your day is ending well, Nancy - hope the weekend is the same.

Nancy P said...

And yours, too, Beth. How's the weather? I read about the tornado north of Orlando.

Beth said...

I drove through part of that storm yesterday - there were about three instances where I went from dry roads to driving rain, black clouds, lightning and thunder - then in 10 minutes it was gone.

We have lots of rain this evening, and lightning, but that's it here. Most of the storm is northwest of us. Good for us, bad for them.

Two tornados in the same week in the same part of Florida - a little creepy. Orlando is about 3 hours from here. Still too close for comfort. Calling for rain here again tomorrow...we need it, and I love rain, so that's fine with me!

boran2 said...

Nancy, it's wonderful that you make time to do these visits. This group must have been very excited to see you.

Nancy P said...

Hi, b2! I'm looking forward to the next installment of your painting.