Thursday, March 14, 2019

I Brive a Dus

What do you remember about the first time you read your crime fiction work in progress or finished novel/short story to an audience?

From Jim

was nervous. And why not? My Ellie Stone mysteries are written in the first person. How does a man of a certain age pull off reading in the voice of a twenty-something female reporter without sounding ridiculous? It kind of breaks the spell you’re trying to cast, with the audience wondering what fresh hell is this.

don’t do many readings today. The occasional Noir at the Bar, but otherwise I’d much rather discuss the books, characters, and themes and engage with the audience. (Usually it’s two or three people who’ve sat down because their feet are tired.) 

So, that said, I’ll take a detour today and tell a story about what happened at one book signing I attended instead. It was a big library fundraising event with ten or twelve authors. After a few morning panels, we enjoyed a friendly lunch with readers. More than two hundred! Then, when all the speechifying and tooth-picking had ended, we repaired to tables set up with all our books laid out for signing. The library folks had organized everything so beautifully. There was a bookseller and lots of potential new readers to buy our masterpieces.

I was sitting at my table, signing the occasional book, and smiling at the people browsing the available offerings, when a woman passed by, eyeing my books with what looked to me like possible interest. I thought I might have another sale. But she moved on, only to double back a moment later. Walking slowly as she considered me and my three books, she gave the impression of a buyer who was tempted but couldn’t quite make up her mind. I said hello. She stopped and scanned my table, perhaps debating which book to buy.

“I read your first book,” she said finally.

“Really? That’s wonderful. I hope you enjoyed it.” 

She stood there staring at me for a long moment before adding, “I didn’t think much of it.” And she went on her way, no doubt happy to have ruined my day. 


Susan C Shea said...

Groan! No one's ever said that to me but I did get a bad review online from a reader who was grumpy because I set my French novel in December and it was cold and rainy. Not her France, thank you very much. Funny post - I love it. You don't mention that she is obviously in the minority since you are officially an award-winning crime writer.

RJ Harlick said...

Yup, we meet all kinds of readers at our various events, don't we? All we can do, as you did, is laugh about it.