A snowy night, the home of a treasured friend and a dozen lovely reading neighbors gathered together for rich conversation – about MY book. What a good time!
It’s a neighborhood of newly built homes – the kind that attracts the nearly or recently retired. The houses are conveniently laid out with views of walking trails that meander through meadow and trees. There’s a forever wild feeling in expansive backyards where people feed birds and quickly learn to watch for deer. It’s in the country but within minutes of ready access to town and the mecca of our community – Wegmans, the super-est of supermarkets! (Wegmans rates a blog post of its very own, coming soon!) I’d like to move in tomorrow!
Despite all the tangible benefits – the homes, the land, the convenience – what makes this neighborhood so special? Like most great neighborhoods, it’s the people. I know there are men who live there, but so far I’ve only met one. But oh my, my – the women! Every month, the women gather, one month for social fun and the next to talk about books.
And if the dozen who gathered last week are a representative sample, these are active, involved, and smart – CAPITAL SMART – women! And not just because they all said such kind things about Come Back, pleasant as it was to hear they liked my novel.
To help me understand the group, my friend (and book promoting champion) Barb, who hosted the evening, asked each woman to introduce herself. Good thinking Barb! I loved hearing their histories, what brought them to our area from other ports of call, what their passions were. What’s more, they liked learning more about each other too! And for good reason. This is an impressive bunch of women. A group resume would display prodigious skills and layers!
They liked all the characters I hope readers will like and found the less likable ones even more interesting – because they’ve known folks just like them! They were generous about elements I slaved over – making each narrator’s voice distinct, keeping the pace moving, leaving readers wanting more.
And they wanted to know about the process – who was based on real people (Connie and Sadie), who was completely fabricated (everybody else, even Nate, darn it!), where do I get ideas (eavesdropping on unsuspecting conversations), who should play each role in the film! (Holy cow! They suggested DeNiro or Eastwood as Ben – and honest to Pete I never thought about it till last night. But now I realize I may have been picturing Jason Robards as I wrote. Too bad he’s no longer available.)
What a delightful audience! They were interesting and interested, insightful and curious. As I’ve posted before, I absolutely adore my book club and feel the deepest sense of connection with my people. But now I wonder if maybe every book club might be my people?
Something magic happens when people talk about stories. Perhaps dissecting characters’ predicaments helps put our own challenges in perspective. And when we come to know our fellow bookies well, perhaps the flawed cast who populate stories give us permission to divulge our own quandaries.
So maybe all book clubs are my people? I am a faithful sort who’ll always come back home to the folks who brung me. But that all book clubs could by my people too? This is a hypothesis that needs testing. Help me conduct a scientific test! Send me an invite to your book club. Let’s have a fling together!