What a night! I'm not sure if the other girls in my club were as excited as I was, but we started out with a great discussion over dinner and then headed to Legacy Bookstore (which is awesome) to listen to Barry give a reading and answer a few questions. Um, sorry for the forthcoming gushfest.
Let me start by saying that if you're looking for a good book club pick for your own group, The Lace Reader is a fantastic choice. Most of us really liked the book--but besides that we all had a ton of questions after finishing (if you've read the book you'll know what I'm talking about). We actually ran out of time during our dinner meeting for discussion!
I've only been to one author event before and it had bad publicity, so basically 4 or 5 of us awkwardly stood around the authors straining for conversation. But Barry sure knows how to captivate her audience! She started off with a reading of the first chapter of the book and then talked a lot about how the book came to be. She spent seven years writing The Lace Reader and when it was finished, she and her husband self-published the book. Eventually it was picked up by Harper Collins and has taken off at soaring rates since then. As she mentioned--it is all about the book buzz.
My favorite part of the evening was the Q&A (don't worry, no spoilers). She talked a lot about her characters and it always amazes me when authors talk about their characters taking over the book and doing things the author didn't expect for them to do. She said she got to a moment in writing where she screamed out "No!!" after realizing her characters were going in a completely different direction than what she planned. She talks about her characters as if she has known them her whole life and explains how her characters speak to her (not in a scary way, of course). All of this shows in her writing--her characters are so complex and alive.
After the signing, a few of us stayed to discuss the ending of the novel. Our group talked with Barry about some of the questions we had and some of the points that we discussed in our meeting. She was so patient with our questions and so passionate about her characters and book. I told her, "I want to rush home and re-read this book right now!" She did give a lot of insight into the ending of the book, but it was clear that the message she wanted us to leave with is that the book is one of "perception."
Some other fun tidbits--Barry's new book will be published on Mother's Day 2010. It also takes place in Salem. She is working on her third book which will kind of tie her first two together. There is talks of a 2011 Lace Reader movie! Barry just finished reading Olive Kitteridge and loved it. Her name Brunonia comes from her grandfather's obsession with Brown College.
All this blabbing to say--if you have a chance to go see Barry in person, do it! You can listen to her on Book Club Girl Radio Show on October 21st.
AND the Giveaway! (The Giveaway is now closed)
I picked up an extra signed hardcover copy of The Lace Reader to giveaway!
How to win a copy:
1. Leave me a comment below with your email address (1 entry)
2. Follow me on Twitter and Subscribe to my blog (1 entry each)
3. Tweet about the giveway and blog about the giveaway (1 entry each)
That's five possible entries (but please don't leave separate comments for each entry, just tell me if you did the extras). Drawing will be open until 10:00 pm Sunday October 18th (Central Standard Time). I'll announce a winner Monday October 19th.
Have you been to any author events? If you could ask your favorite author one question, what would it be?