I’ve enjoyed three book club experiences in the past several months where my book “Bravura” was featured and read by a group of women (and men!) Each of them was markedly different and yet I learned amazing things from all of them.
The first book club event was on the opposite side of the country and I was not present – I was invited to Skype in but would be on an airplane flight during that time to another presentation and couldn’t get the darn video chat to work while 35,000 feet in the air! But what this taught me was that, despite me sending the group book club guides, discussion questions, and background articles, they would have their own experience of the book and their own discussion, in their own way — and out of my hands. Which was ok! Perhaps even better — I might have been an over-reaching wreck of a first-timer, otherwise.
The second one was an online book club chat with the Rave Reviews Book Club (I highly recommend joining RRBC!). While online at the appointed time, I responded to questions from readers and writers literally around the world joining together in the chat room — The US, Canada, Nigeria, Australia, and all moderated by an author in the UK. It was great fun and a mile-a-minute typing while reacting to the comments of so many others in a short span of time. But what I learned was that the closely-felt camaraderie of writers and readers has nothing to do with geography or even uniform opinions or writing styles — but rather it has everything to do with a shared dedication to the craft and desire to explore what matters most to us.
The final one — last night, actually — was a local book club that happens to have several friends of mine in it (won’t show those pics for privacy). This time, I finally, actually got to go. Got to hear. Got to listen to a myriad of reactions, feelings, comments, live and in person. What did and didn’t work for them. Which character they loved. Which moment made them cry. Questions about how the book came about. Questions about the sequel I was dying to answer but had to restrain myself. Amid the coffee and wine and good intentions, I reveled in the joy of their discussion. When the hostess asked if I wanted to eat something (and she had quite a spread), I told her, “This is better than food!” as I fed off the group’s excitement for the book. What I learned is that yes — people will usually understand and embrace what you meant, what you were trying to do, when put your whole heart on the page.
Each book club experience taught me so much, as I shared above. But one thing they all had in common, most of all: they made me want to keep writing. There’s nothing more empowering and motivating for a writer than knowing that people have read your story and want to keep reading your stories, that they truly want to hear what you have to say.
As long as there’s coffee or wine around…
For information on Bravura, click here.
For information on the Rave Reviews Book Club (RRBC), click here.
Bravura will be featured on April 16 in one of RRBC’s online interviews.