I get such a thrill out of meeting with readers. During a whirlwind 48 hour door-to-door trip between Southern Illinois and Los Gatos, CA (near SFO) this weekend, I got to meet about 20 women who had lots to share about their reading of ISABELLA MOON. Our book party/brunch hostess, Teresa, had printed out reader’s guide questions and scattered them about the house to prompt some great discussions. I took a chance and read a few pages I wrote just last week for the new novel, CALLING MR. LONELY HEARTS, as well. Everyone was so encouraging, I couldn’t wait to get home and get back to work on it!
When I talk to groups about IM, I’m very frank about the rules I gave myself for writing it: 1) Something had to happen in every chapter and 2) Plot elements could possibly occur on a sexy/supernatural/violent version of the soap “Days of Our Lives.” Now, those might sound like a couple of silly rules, but they worked for me in writing the book. I found them extremely liberating and was able to use them to overcome some rather prudish notions I held back when I imagined I would write some obscure thing called “literature.”
Human life is full of drama. Just open the newspaper or log on to CNN.com or Foxnews.com: People kill their mothers/fathers/lovers/children in horrifying ways (a young man just confessed to burying his former girlfriend in a shallow grave after killing her when he learned she was pregnant); they become grandmothers at 29 or scatter underwear across their neighborhood for a sexual thrill; they disappear out of their lives and turn up again claiming to have amnesia (really, where was he?)–and that’s just a small sample from FOX today. Chances are that your life has been touched by crime or touched by miracles. Real life sometimes makes the most outlandish fiction seem dull, dull, dull.
I write to entertain and disturb, amuse and excite. When P and I got married, I promised him that life would never be dull. I offer the same deal to my readers–and my books are lower maintenance!