Needless to say I was pretty geeked up about the book club discussion of my book, Unfinished Business, on this past Saturday with The Sistas Book Club. In fact I was so geeked up that I couldn't even attend a coworker's birthday party on the night before the book event. I needed a full night's sleep so that I could have all of my barrings about myself. This was, after all, my first time talking to a group of readers of my book in such close proximity. Talk about getting down to the nitty gritty. As an author, the bottom line is the readers, right?
I went to bed and woke up with thoughts of how this event was going to transpire. What was I going to say? Most importantly, what were they going to say? What were they were going to ask me? Would my responses flow like water running from a faucet or be lumpy & bumpy like rocky road ice cream? Believe me, unless you rehearse talking about your book--like my mentor, Sylvia Hubbard, advised me years ago--it is possible to stumble over your responses about your own work. Not because you don't know it through and through, but because of simple nervousness. Anyway, I didn't want that to be me. Even though this would be my first group discussion of my book, I didn't want it to appear that way, you know what I mean?
At the end of the day, I came through with flying colors. I was thrilled that my story was so well-received and created so much fun conversation! An array of topics was broached, including: friends' involvement in friend's relationship decisions, the revolving door factor of relationships, how ones personal atrocities can affect ones career, and can a man be as forgiving as a woman when he's been wronged in the relationship? If I didn't say the discussion was lively, it was!
As much as the book was liked by the book club members, I'd be lying if I said there was no criticism. One woman commented that she would've liked more sex scenes--details, details, details. Honestly, I won't be feeding into that one. I'll leave that for the romance and erotica authors. The most surprising critique by two of the members was that the story started off slow. As the author, I thought I pretty much jumped right into the story. In fact, I wondered if jumping in so quickly was a mistake. But, the harshest criticism one member noted was that she could tell this was a first book, BUT she wants to read more from me. Hmmm. How would you take that? My first inclination was one of negativity, even though it is my first book. However, an author doesn't necessarily want readers to be able to tell it was a first. We want it to appear as though we've been writing for years. But I'll take it for what it's worth--there is room for improvement and I look forward to doing so with my next project.
So, as I continue on my path to literary stardom, I thought it was important to share this first major stepping stone. Hopefully, this will be the first of many book club discussions that I'll be involved in as the feature author.