Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Being The Author

Monday night, I went out as an Author. I know, I’m an author every day, but in my world, being an author involves tattered sweatpants and much swearing at a computer screen because I’m sure I’m a talentless hack whose career will be over if I can’t get those two to a HEA. It ain’t glamorous, that’s for sure.

But a local book club chose The Secret Mistress Arrangement as their book this month and invited me to their meeting. I was The Author—the guest of honor. I’d heard of such things happening, but hadn’t really counted on it happening to me any time soon.

Bear with me for a minute – you have to understand that life on the Playground is a little surreal at times (in many ways, yes, but stay on this track with me). Pretty much everyone I know writes books. Many of them have written way more and far better books. So, saying “I’m a writer” has about as much punch as saying “I breathe air.” Finishing a book is always met with a cheer around here, but there’s always the undertone of “Thank dog, if you’d whined about that winery one more time we were going to string you up by your toenails.” The Playfriends are pleased and proud, but they’re not terribly impressed by it. After all, it’s what we do. (It’s a tough crowd on the Playground!)

Even the friends I have who don’t write aren’t terribly impressed any more. It’s cool and all, but I’m still just plain ol’ me and now writing is just my job. The “Wow-how-nifty” factor wore off about the time I posted my fifth cover on Facebook.

I’ve lived in this world for so long, I’ve kind of forgotten that not everyone on earth knows a writer and has them on speed dial. And let’s not forget how low on the totem pole I am – why on earth would anyone want to meet ME? (I’m still reeling from the fact people sat with me at the Readers’ Luncheon on purpose –not just because they were overflow from Rhonda Nelson’s table.) I’m not that interesting, I tend to obsess a lot over small things, and I’m known to stick my foot in my mouth without even trying.

But the book club wanted The Author, so I put on pretty shoes and went to the book club meeting.

And I had a blast.

It’s amazing how much I learned about my own book – what their expectations were, what they were hoping I’d deliver, questions they had about the characters. (Like why my heroine broke up with her last boyfriend – I had to admit that honestly, I didn’t know. Hadn’t thought about it. Unfortunately, I also found out my heroine’s last boyfriend has the same name as a character in my 3rd book. I really need to get to work on that spreadsheet I mentioned yesterday. And get a baby name book…)

Most of the group was new to romance, but they were enthusiastic and so much fun to talk to. And I guess I wasn’t too boring or too much of a dork because they’ve invited me back. The food was so good, and the conversation so great, I’m definitely in.

While everyone thanked me for coming and really made me feel like they’d enjoyed meeting “The Author,” I’m the one thanking them. Suddenly, all that time I spent staring at the screen and cursing became very worth it. These ladies enjoyed my book. I made them happy.

That’s awesome.

I love this gig.

Would you want the author of the book at your book club meeting? Would you feel you had to act differently because she was there?


Angel said...

How totally cool! I bet that was fun.

The only thing that would change if there was an author there would be if I hated the book. I wouldn't be quite as open. :) Otherwise, I think it would be really neat. Even after years in RWA, I still enjoy meeting authors and talking about their books, processes, etc. Never gets boring to me.


Liza said...

I love meeting authors and think it would be a blast to have "The Author" at a book discussion. I'm with Angel, I wouldn't be as open if I didn't love the book, but would still love to hear what the author was thinking as she/he wrote it.

I was at the J.R. Ward book signing in KY last week and she answered all sorts of questions about her series. It was great to find out where her thoughts were as she wrote a couple of the books in the series.

Smarty Pants said...

Just the idea of doing something like this makes me wanna throw up. I would like to think that most people would censor their critiques if the author were there, but my fear would be that someone would point out a flaw, criticize something, ask me a deliberately obtuse question I couldn't answer... bleh. I'm just glad I live in the South where ladies have a sense of decorum and would keep unpleasant critiques for after I'd left. I'd hope everyone would enjoy my books, but I know from my contest scores that I can't please everyone.

I'm glad it went well for you, PC. The book was faboo, so of course they'd all love it.

Instigator said...

And how come I didn't know about this ahead of time? :-) That is so cool! I'm glad you enjoyed being "The Author". It is kinda surreal. I'm just me and so I never really think about it.


Christine said...

well that is so very cool... congrats from down under...

Playground Monitor said...

Sorry I'm late to the party. That just sounds way too cool. I too enjoy meeting authors and hearing them talk about their books. Interesting how much detail the readers of this book club remembered. I guess that should keep us on our toes.

Let us know when your next appearance is scheduled and we'll come heckle... er... support you.