Hey, Deb Ball readers! It’s Tuesday, my regular day to post, but it’s also a big day for a dear friend of mine. Kelly O’Connor McNees is the author of a lovely novel, The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott, which, like The Weird Sisters, is published by Amy Einhorn Books. Today her book comes out in paperback with a gorgeous new cover.
Kelly was one of the first people I met on Twitter, and I had the chance to meet her in person at the AWP Conference in January, despite the valiant efforts of two snowstorms to keep us apart, where we stayed up far too late chatting and laughing and talking books and writing.
I wish you could all hang out with Kelly, because she’s smart and funny and talented, so I invited her along today to give her take on book clubs.
Oh, and stick around after the post to stay hello, because Kelly is also generous, and she’s agreed to give away a copy of the new paperback release of The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott (which is, by the way, a great book for book clubs – lots to discuss!).
Kelly O’Connor McNees on
The Skype Effect
With enough money and time, an author could make a very pleasant life out of flying to all corners of the country to visit book clubs who have chosen to read her novel. But these days, most of us are pretty broke. And that’s why Skype is one of the best things to happen for authors and book clubs in a long time. With limited technical skill (trust me—I know) and basically for free, authors can travel to living rooms, kitchens, and wifi-enabled wine bars all over the country. The only thing the author has to miss out on is the wine.
There’s only one thing about Skype that makes me nervous. While I’m confident that I can answer just about any question a reader might ask about my novel, I am not so confident that she will be able to hear me. Our condo usually seems like a pretty tranquil place—until the Skype icon pops up and I connect with a call. Then, suddenly, all hell breaks loose.
The upstairs neighbors begin their kitchen bowling league (What else can explain the step, step, thud, rolllllll, clunk, clunk that repeats on loop?). The Hell’s Angels caravan through the alley outside my office window. The ComEd man is banging on a pole with a sledgehammer for no discernible reason. A garbage truck backs up to the dumpster, then slams the lid seven or eight times, just to make sure it’s really closed. A five-alarm fire calls every screeching truck in the city down our street. Our cat Renfield howls for his food, then barfs.
It’s enough to make a Buddhist start breaking all the furniture.
Dear Book Clubs: Now you know why I look a little tense. Fortunately for me, you are patient. Each time, I close the windows; I corral the cat. And somehow we manage, sledgehammers and all, to have a lovely conversation about Louisa May Alcott and Concord, fathers and mothers and daughters, and why we all love Little Women so very much.
Kelly O’Connor McNees is the author of The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott. She lives in Chicago. Can’t get enough of her? Me neither! Check out her website, visit her on Twitter, and read the Deb Ball guest post she did last year when the hardcover version came out!
Don’t forget to leave a comment to enter to win a copy of your very own!
Special note: Deb Eleanor is at the Denver Public Library this weekend – come say hello!