This is the buddy system in action. The great thing about having novelist friends is that you can support each other. Sometimes that means reading manuscripts and having late night DEFCON 1 phone calls. Sometimes is means tag teaming for readings.
I love a good two-for-one deal—especially as a reader. I’ve discovered some great authors simply because they were reading alongside another more familiar author who had drawn me out to the reading. As a writer, it’s less stressful (and more fun) to have a partner in crime to read with you. If you’re like me, and still get a little nervous reading in front of a group of people, it helps to have a friend at your shoulder. True story: the first time I read in front of a crowd, I was certain I was having a heart attack. Sometimes I still get that feeling, which is why I like to have a reading partner: she can provide moral support and pick me up off the floor if the worst scenario happens. (So far it hasn’t, but I like to be prepared.)
Katie Rose Guest Pryal, author of the Entanglement series, invited me to read with her last week in Greensboro, NC at the Friendly’s center Barnes and Noble, where I’d read 14 years ago when my children’s book was published. We had so many folks there that we almost ran out of chairs. The crowd was friendly and warm, asking great questions about our writing practices, our inspiration, and what drives us as novelists. Talking with them about our writing strategies made me eager to start on the next book I’ve been planning, and I felt the inner nudge to hurry up and get started.
In a time when so many books are purchased online, and when so much chatter about books happens via social media, it was refreshing to see such an enthusiastic and curious crowd in the bookstore. Seeing faces instead of usernames is serious positive reinforcement for someone who holes up all alone crafting stories. I confess I’ve been slack about scheduling readings, but now I’m planning more for the fall, when the next book in my Bayou series is released. Talking with readers is something that’s always been fun for me, and something I’ve been missing.
Katie and I will be reading again together Tuesday, August 9 at 6:30 at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva, NC. We’d love to see you there. Bring your friends! Katie will be reading from her second novel, Chasing Chaos, and I’ll be reading from my debut novel Bayou My Love. We’ll have a Q & A and a signing after.
Special thanks to Barnes and Noble at the Friendly center for hosting us. And thank you to our Greensboro readers, who gave us such a warm welcome! I look forward to seeing you all again soon!