For the month of December, we're offering Sharon K. Souza's Christmas novella, A Heavenly Christmas in Hometown, (read 1st chapter here) for $5, including shipping. It's a fun story for the entire family, in a beautiful hardback, with dust-cover To order, email Sharon through our Contacts page. Order early to ensure you have it before Christmas.
I used to dream of standing before a book club of smart, interested readers who loved a book that I had written. I saw myself answering their questions about my characters, the setting, the unexpected twists of plot, the symbols and hidden meanings.
I'm here to warn you, dreams come true. And that's good - if you're flexible about how the whole scene will play out.
Happily, Sharon was with me to hold my hand.
The difficulty began the morning I was to meet with her friend's reading group, when I stood before the mirror and thought to myself that I didn't look like an author. I looked like me.
I did my best with the makeup and hair, tried on a few erudite expressions, shook my head and tossed them away, then got in the car.
Annette's home was wondrous: we all sat in an intimate family room/kitchen. If Mr. Tumnus had hosted the Narnia-War Drobe Book Club in the home of Mrs. Beaver, it might have looked almost as welcoming. There were delicious treats and hot coffee.
And there was a special chair just for me, front and center. Already, both good and bad, for an author who, for all her dreams, craves both literary success and personal obscurity.
I started by reading a selection from the first chapter, and found to my relief that, even though it was only me sitting in that special chair, I still felt proud of what I had written. I straightened my back and sat a bit taller.
Then it was time for the readers to talk. They began shyly, but soon warmed to our conversation, and to my relief, they did like my book. They asked good questions - great questions - some of which made me blush. They seemed to see more in the story than I saw, but I already knew the magic of storytelling: that things creep in below the author's line of sight, and wait to be discovered like Christmas presents. They certainly came as a gift that day, when I sat nervously in the spotlight.
With readers like these, who asked such great questions, who made me so comfortable, I began to doubt my earlier judgment. Maybe I did l look like an author, after all. I'd have to check.
Then came the best question of all, a question so astute, it left me speechless:
"On page such and so, how does this character turn up in this place when just two pages before you have her in that other place?"
You can see me, can't you? The mouth opens. The mouth closes. The face goes slack.
I look to Sharon, who is laughing - with me. Because then I am laughing, and so is everyone else. "Because," comes my only possible answer, "I goofed."
No one ever told me - as I am telling you - that an author's dream moment could make me feel less like Nicole Krauss, the author of The History of Love, and more like her main character, Leo Gursky:
A few months ago I saw an ad in the paper. It said, NEEDED: NUDE MODEL FOR DRAWING CLASS. $ 15/ HOUR. It seemed too good to be true. To have so much looked at. By so many. I called the number. A woman told me to come the following Tuesday. I tried to describe myself, but she wasn’t interested. Anything will do, she said.
To have so much looked at. By so many. And anything will do.
They even gave me a little Japanese Maple. It's growing in my back yard, and it's beautiful.
Please share your book club stories, from the "special chair" or from the couch. I love to read what you have to say.