I couldn't say anything in advance because it was a secret and I needed to keep it cool, but I was invited tonight to be the surprise guest at a Book Club/Xmas party in Northfield. The club had decided to read my book as their next pick. They loved the idea it was set in their town. They all had no clue the woman throwing the party had secretly emailed me and asked me to join them. I didn't know any of the women except Connie, the hostess and I was a little nervous since I'd only met her a couple of times and it was years ago. I was also very excited. I can't think of anything more fun that meeting a group of women readers. Connie was impressed with herself that she was able to keep quiet and not tell, tempting as it was. All women can sympathize over how hard that must have been!
It was planned I'd arrive later after everyone else. The house was twinkling with vintage Christmas decorations in every corner, inside and out. (Connie's amazing gardens have been featured in a national magazine spread. I've never seen a bigger, greener thumb on a person in my life.) The girls were all settled in with vodka cranberries in festive hi-ball glasses.
The surprise was a huge hit. Connie answered the door and with my book in her hand, led me into the room.
She said, "Look who is here, everyone!" and held up my book.
At first, there was dead silence since nobody knew me from Adam, but then one of the women, Carla started jumping up and down. She had already begun my book and recognized me. Then everyone was exclaiming and talking at once.
Another hilarious lady, Deborah immediately wailed, "WTH? Connie, you got the AUTHOR to come to our club? How am I ever gonna top that when it's my turn?!"
I needn't have been nervous--the minute I walked into the living room and saw the table filled with delectable foods, bottles of wine, and a cupcake tree filled with swirling buttercream, I knew the evening had great possibilities. ;}
After awhile of chatting and getting to know one another, talking books and favorite authors, I think the ice was broken for good when the subject of food labeling came up. I shared that sometimes when "raspberry flavoring" is listed as an ingredient on a package label you need to be careful as it could be beaver juice. (From the castor sacs of the North American beaver, to be precise. Not that they knew that from the way I said it....Once THAT was cleared up, the fun never stopped.) Of course, Sue, the engineer and sci-fi/fantasylover stated the questions I've always wondered, "Who was the first person that decided North American beaver juice from down under would make a good additive to food as raspberry flavoring, and what on earth were they doing down there?"
How can you not have a good time when sharing horrifying tidbits like that at a book club/Xmas party?
I really enjoyed crashing my first book club. The women-Connie, Deborah, Kathy, Sue and Carla were all fun as hell and have been friends for over twenty years. How neat is that?
Personally, I don't think Deborah is going to be able to top Connie's book club party, although a weekend on Lake Superior in her sailboat was mentioned; along with skinnydipping around the Apostle Islands.
Now that is my idea of chillin' out with the book club...
Thank you so much, Connie, for inviting me. I had a ball making my first public "author appearance". You are one fantastic hostess!