I had the honor of being chosen for the book of the month at a local book/readers group. There was one condition; I must come to the meeting to answer questions and sign books. The secretary of the group said that a couple of the women could be brutally honest about some of the books they’ve read. My book is not an epic novel, nor literary/general fiction, but a light mystery romance genre, so what did I have to fear?
For the group of women, I recommended A Place to Land, because it was the sexist of my three books. Yet, it is hardly sexy considering many romance novels of our day.
A month flew by and I made every effort to be back in town for the book club meeting. I even brought my sister along. What I saw right away was that the women were all over sixty years old, and while some did swoon over the cowboy in the story, others thought the book too sexy. I kept hearing the phrase, “the pool table incident.” But, there was humor there, too. One lady said, “I bet your husband is happy with you.”
Another brought up the challenges of being an immigrant in America today, as the heroine in the story. I had opposing sides in the room on the wolf issue, which was a large part of the story as well.
One eloquent lady brought up how often things happened to the heroine at the door of her car, or buildings, and how it illustrated to her how many doors the heroine had to go through to get where she wanted to go in life. Beautiful.
The most negative comment of the night came from a woman who mentioned a couple of flaws that my editor should have caught. Also, she wanted more clues so she could guess the villain of the story, yet the others liked being surprised.
The group appreciated the chance to ask me questions about my research and where I got my ideas. I did enjoy myself; who wouldn’t getting a chance to talk about something they love to do?
What would I do different next time? Ask for the range of ages in the group. Don’t take me wrong, I loved the ages of these women, but if I’d known, I probably would have suggested another of my books instead.