Yesterday afternoon I met with a book club called S.U.R.E. (Sisters United Reading Everything), which had read Have You Seen Her? as their August club selection. I was invited by the wife of one of my former writer’s group members. When she extended the invitation a couple of months ago, I was nervous at the prospect of my first in-person book club visit, so nervous that I sent out Facebook messages to some of my favorite authors asking for advice. Author Beverly Jenkins’ wise guidance was absolutely wonderful and made all the difference. Thanks, Bev for being so forthcoming.
When my husband and I arrived at the beautiful suburban Atlanta home, I was expecting munchies. Sheila, the hostess had mentioned on the phone that they would be having something to eat. What I wasn’t prepared for was a spread that included crudite' and salmon hors d'oeuvres, an incredible spicy, homemade jambalaya (with chicken, sausage and shrimp), rice, salad, garlic bread, margaritas made by her husband, wine and luscious strawberry cream pie!
We ate first then Sheila introduced me to the group, told them how we met and even read the long version of my personal bio. The members of the group, which is fifteen strong, opened by sharing their thoughts and opinions of the book in general. I sat there blushing, as I’d never had a room full of people telling me how much they enjoyed my work. It was truly humbling.
The members, all women over forty, shared their feelings and personal experiences with spousal abuse, the theme of Have You Seen Her? They also talked about what they liked/disliked about the book, which I appreciated. Feedback tells me what I need to do in the future.
One issue they brought to my attention was that Barnes & Noble Nook has the book listed as 900 pages! I was stunned, especially after I had struggled to keep the original manuscript as close to 400 pages as possible. Of course I’ll be checking with PubIt! today to find out why. I don’t want anything in my book descriptions that might scare readers away.
I had put together a quiz with questions about the book and brought a few trinkets with me to give out as prizes for those who wanted to participate.
It was SO much fun!
After experiencing this wonderful meeting, there are a few things I am even surer of now:
- reading is still alive and well
- I am building a loyal fan base
- African-American readers are moving into electronic reading
- Camaraderie among women is unique, soul nourishing and necessary
Thank you, Sheila, Mike and all the ladies of S.U.R.E.
for making my first book club appearance absolutely great!