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.