Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Meet the Authors evening

I don't go to concerts.  Celebrity events appeal to me not at all.  But tell me there's an author coming to town and I can hardly stand it, arranging and re-arranging my crazy life to try and make it there.  Authors are definitely my rock stars, my movie gods, and my dream people all rolled into one.  At least when they are friendly, funny, and personable.  And last night's Meet the Authors event at Park Road Books put on by the Charlotte chapter of the Women's National Book Association met all of my requirements for an outstanding evening.

Flowers spring up all over with the change from winter to spring.  (And yes, here in the sunny south, it is already firmly spring.  Just ask my daffodils and budding trees.)  Publishers too have seasons and spring is a big one as it sees the publication of many new, fantastic books.  Last evening we were treated to five mainly regional authors who have newly released books.  They all spoke briefly and did a short reading before mingling and signing books.  And although I had to duck out part way through for a carpool run, based on what I heard, I'm definitely going to have to add each and every one of the books to my collection.  (OK, in the interest of full disclosure, I've already added some of them prior to the event but now I need to get those I hadn't already.)

First up was Megan Miranda, whose YA novel Hysteria sounds creepy and dark.  She spoke about the sorts of research she does when writing a book and has two major kinds.  Of those two, I loved hearing about what she calls "awkward email research."  This is where she emails experts and asks them questions.  For Hysteria, this included asking her sister in law, a lawyer, which of several proposed scenarios would legally allow a person to get away with murder.  Not surprisingly, her sister in law declined to answer.  She also emailed her former track coach at the boarding school she attended and asked what would happen if a dead body turned up in a dorm room.  She did get a response to this one, with the slightly nervous question of where she intended to set her novel.  ::grin::

Next up was Gina Holmes whose newest novel Wings of Glass focuses on abuse and faith and friendship.  She spoke about her love of writing and how she wasn't sure she could ever write something as long as a novel but she took the advice about writing a page a day resulting in 365 pages (easily novel length) by the end of a year to heart and then proceeded to churn out a novel in six weeks.  Before you want to smack her though, you should know that she admitted the novel was terrible and no one will ever read it.  I know that made me feel much kinder towards her.  :-)  And she wrote several other never to be revealed to the world novels before she changed genres and wrote the first novel she ever sold placing her firmly and happily in literary women's fiction rather than in the thriller section.

The third author to speak was Kim Boykin who pointed out that her novel The Wisdom of Hair was the one with the purple cover.  Purple (or purkle as I called it when I was small) has always been one of my favorite colors.  Her novel features a girl who goes to beauty school to escape a bad home life and encounters a community of supportive women.  I love that this grew out of her memories of going to beauty school with her mom.  She spoke about the fact that often times when women want to change their life, they first change their hair.  I found myself agreeing when I remember that I went off to college and promptly chopped my long hair off as short as possible.  Grew it long again during those four years but then I did the same thing barely a month into my marriage.  Now I have to wonder what my currently long hair, a throwback to high school and college, says about me now?

I am sad to admit that at this point, I had to sneak out of the event and run carpool but I suspect that this saved me some serious money because heaven knows that not only would I have bought the books I was missing out of the five being presented, I would certainly have wandered the store and stocked up on another ton of books I definitely couldn't live without.  (Don't worry Sally, I'll be in to do this anyway just as soon as I find a spare minute in my kid-dominated schedule.)  (And to my loving husband if you are reading this, I am totally lying to Sally.  OK, I'm not.  But you'll love me anyway, won't you?) The books I missed sound great too and I just know the authors were as personable and fun to listen to as the three I did get to hear. 

I didn't get to know more about Holly Goddard Jones or her new novel The Next Time You See Me but there's a great video on her website that gives some interesting background into the book and the characters she's created.  The story itself is set in a small town in Kentucky and is about the way that the disappearance of a woman connects a cast of characters.  It's been called a "Southern thriller," "suspenseful," "eerie," a "page turner," and "genre-defying."

I also missed hearing from Margaret Wrinkle about her fascinating debut novel Wash about slave breeding, love, and heritage.  This gripping sounding book has been called "deeply-felt," "luminous," "lyrical," "significant," "powerful," and "majestic."

If I've made you sufficiently jealous of my evening, know that there are WNBA chapters all across the country who offer wonderful events like this one.  Go to the national WNBA website and find your closest chapter to join in.  Any and all book loving people are welcome.


  1. What a fun night! Thanks for coming out and listening to us blather on. :)

  2. Thanks for this excellent write-up, Kristen! And you DID miss out by not being able to stay for Holly Goddard Jones and Margaret Wrinkle. After you read their books, you can comment further!

  3. Thanks for this excellent write-up, Kristen! You DID miss out by being obliged to leave before you heard Holly Goddard Jones and Margaret Wrinkle, too. After you read their fine books, you can comment on them further!


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