This week, I’m going off topic to write about a milestone in my writing life… Last Wednesday, I took part in my first author event! And weeks before my book even comes out!
I was invited to be a part of Vermont Women of Mystery, a shindig to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Sisters in Crime (a great organization dedicated to combating discrimination against women in the mystery field), at the historic Kellogg-Hubbard library in Montpelier. I appeared with three amazing and talented women who live and write in Vermont: Nancy Means Wright, who writes the Ruth Willmarth series (Ruth is a dairy farmer/sleuth) and The Pea Soup Poisonings for middle grades; Sarah Stewart Taylor, who writes a series starring Sweeney St. George, an art historian who specializes in the iconography of death; and the incredibly prolific Carla Neggers, who has written a staggering 50 books! Inspirations, every one.
Let me confess – I was more than a little nervous. See, I’m used to the writing part of being a writer. I’m perfectly at ease in front of a computer. But put me in front of a room of people, (all looking at me!) and the ease goes out the window. I hadn’t read anything out loud (with the exception of kids’ books) since college. But that was poetry. And it was twenty years ago. And I’d often had a wee drop or two of tequila.
I don’t think I’m alone in my unease. Some of us writers are a pretty introverted bunch. So I was trepidatious about leaving behind the quiet safety of my computer and bringing my work (and myself!) out into the world for the first time.
But you know what? I am so glad I did because I had a wonderful time! We started the evening with a delicious dinner at the home of one of the organizers – Sister in Crime and all-around Renaissance woman, Robbie Harold. We chatted about books, agents, balancing writing and family, the ever changing world of publishing, blogs and grogs. And the event itself was a great success. We were a diverse group, and it was wonderful to hear the other writers read. I was last and I’ve got to say that it was actually kind of fun. After a minute, I let myself get caught up in the story and before I knew it, I was done. We had a question and answer period followed by a “Death by Chocolate” reception (think Biscotti to Burgle By and Killer Kahlua Cocoa Cookies). I met a bunch of wonderful mystery fans, the owner of a local bookstore, and some of the great folks who work in the library. People seemed very enthusiastic about Promise Not to Tell. All in all, it was the perfect way to get my feet wet before next month when I’ll take center stage at my very own readings. Thanks to Carla, Sarah and Nancy for all their words of wisdom and support, and for being by my side during such an important rite of passage. And special thanks to Robbie Harold and Rachel Senechal for organizing such a fantastic event.