The ladies of the Book Club

Some of the ladies of The Book Club

Invitation for the Hot Seat

Though I recently completed a stint on jury duty, that isn’t the hot seat I’m referring to.  No, I’m talking about my good luck and priviledge to have my book, ONE FOR THE ROAD, selected for December by the La Quinta Ladies Book Club. (The name has been changed to protect identities – LOL – I’ve always wanted to say that)
I must confess, this didn’t happen spontaneously, because my good friend is a member, and she’d read and enjoyed the book and recommended me/it.  Thank you Robena!
Since I live within three hours of La Quinta, she also invited me to attend the monthly meeting.  I was told the members looked forward to spending time with “the author.”
Immediately, my mind went into overdrive, freaking out about facing readers who would call me out as a poser. (Any author will verify this fear fantansy)  “Whatever made you think you could write a book?”  “Man, that plot had more holes than Swiss cheese.” You catch my drift.
Typical Author Insecurity
My imagination went into overdrive as I motored south to meet the LQLBC, with my insecure fate as a writer searching for validation.
Thankfully, Robena is a hostess-extraordinaire, and she laid out a lovely spread, what she termed a “light” dinner, prior to the meeting.  Being a wise and compassionate woman, she also provided wine.  (Thanks for buttering everyone up with a rosy glow prior to the discussion about my book!)
With our tummies full and our cheeks rosy, the meeting began and quickly took on an official air.  The ladies do enjoy each other socially, but they are first and foremost a book club.  There was old and new business to be addressed and future books to choose.  The Hunger Games will be next up.  Gulp!  (They read my book, and they read books like The Help and The Hunger Games and Sarah’s Key!) With all eyes turned to me, I was introduced.
I saw friendly faces, and I’ll admit right now that I had received an e-mail from one of the members telling me how much she’d enjoyed the book, not to mention the kind comments I’d received while eating that light supper.  This helped calm my ragged nerves.  More wine please!
Robena had prepared a list of question for the attendees.  Gee, this really was a book club, and I was on the hot seat!
A Sample of The Questions:
  • What did you think about D’Anne’s situation?  Did the author do a good job of drawing you in and making you feel sympathetic toward her heroine?
  • How would you feel to be stranded with no money and far from your family?
  • How would you deal with the suicide of a loved one?
  • Did you think D’Anne’s children were too self-involved?  Did D’Anne make excuses for her grown children?
  • What did you think of D’Anne’s list of rules?
  • What did you like about Tyler?  Was there a specific moment when he endeared himself to you as a hero?
  • How about the secondary characters?  Did you have a favorite and why?
This is just a sample of the questions asked, and the replies were incredibly enlightening.  The women discussed my book with respect, having read it for a lighter break from their ususal reading, but they’d discovered a new author, one that many of them liked!  That hot seat started to feel more like a warm embrace…until one honest reader mentioned she had a big problem with D’Anne doing something out of character, something that insulted and hurt Tyler, something that reader found hard to forgive.  My palms tingled and my face went hot.  How do I explain why I did that?  (Anyone ever study Donald Maass?  Find something your character would never do and have them do it?)
Fortunately, other book club members jumped to my rescue.  They’d understood how Dee had felt volunerable, and Tyler was becoming too dang appealing, and it was out of the question to want to be involved with him, and she’d been drinking, and he’d sort of come on to her…well you can imagine how happy I was that THEY’D READ MY BOOK!
What I Took Away  
I’d written a book that readers enjoyed.  Over and over I heard the words “good characterization”  “I felt like I knew those people” “I liked D’Anne’s spunk!”
And the overall favorite secondary character was Bear, the unique guy I also had a huge soft spot for when writing the book.
What a wonderful night my “hot seat” turned out to be.  For anyone thinking about joining a book club, I recommend it.  I just wish these ladies didn’t live three hours away from me!
I’ll be posting Robena’s questions for One for the Road at my Articles and Excerpt page in the next few days in case you’re interested (or if you’d like to read One for the Road for your book club!) 🙂
Thanks for letting me gush!  Until next time, make it a great week!
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  1. Sounds like a fun night, Lynn (but, yes, palm-sweat-inducing!).

    Happy Holidays!

  2. robena grant says:

    You know what, I was sweating asking you the questions. Ha ha. If they’d been in the back of the book as a book club guide it would have been fine, but to come up with them myself…that was frightening.
    But it was a great night. Thank you again for driving the distance, and for being such a good sport.

  3. What a great picture of all of you at the meeting!! Sounds like Robena was the perfect hostess and you had a lot of fun. hot seat being just a little warm this time!!

  4. Sounds like a fun evening once it got rolling! Part of me would love to talk about my characters & the book and the rest of me is all SHY! But they seem to have been a very warm and welcoming group. Thanks for sharing the experience.

  5. Carol, Charlene, and Veronica –
    I have to say, as far as being on the heat seat went, I got off easy. It was music to my ears to hear they liked my characters. Whew and Thank you!

  6. Robena – you did such a great job of coming up with questions, I’m going to post all of them. I believe it is very helpful to an author to consider what the reader might be thinking or how they’re evaluating your story as they read.

    Authors – be prepared!

    Thanks again, Robena.

  7. Robin says:

    Lynne, you handle everything with grace and warmth (and your books rock), so I’ve no doubt you’ll be invited back for another stint on the hot seat. And I’d also bet some of the book club ladies were nervous too. I know when I meet an author I adore, I’m nervous! I’m glad it turned out to be such a rewarding experience. And thanks for sharing the questions.

  8. Lol – sounds like it was an easy one, at the end of things! I will say, whenever an agent/editor starts quizzing me on my book (as I’m pitching), I feel very much on the hot seat – I think I prefer yours!

    Cheers, Lynne – and thanks again for a wonderful book!

  9. Hey Christine!
    The beauty of this group was they were all simply readers, not writers who read or readers who write, they were simply readers. However, writing our books is one thing, having to explain them (to agents, editors, or readers) is a whole different beast!

    Thanks for reading my book!

  10. Ahhh..this sounds like such a lovely evening. I look forward to having such an experience one day. Congrats on having your book chosen and the wonderful reception, Lynne. 🙂

    Christine London