Rosanne Dingli

Rosanne Dingli

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Meeting the Twisted Sisters

Friday night was eventful.  It was rainy and grey in Perth: not exactly the night to seek an address in an unfamiliar part of town. So I gave myself an extra half-hour of driving time to be on the safe side, and set off with map and explicit directions, written in red marker. I still got horribly lost, ending up at Midland first, and then at the international airport. My destination was nowhere near either.

Sunrise over Perth, Western Australia, taken f...Image via Wikipedia
I was heading for a home where the Twisted Sisters - a keen and knowledgable book club - meet. Arriving half an hour late after phoning for directions could have been embarrassing, but the  hostess and all the other members of the club made sure I walked into a room of strangers... to a warm welcome. The rest was pretty close to perfect. The night passed quickly, as we discussed According to Luke, which they had all read, and topics included in the narrative. Let me assure you there is nothing quite like talking to readers who all know my book backwards. Some made notes. Others had sticky bookmarks attached to passages they liked! All were on first-name terms with the characters.

How does an author reward such a crowd of new-found fans? Well - it's not easy, but I found that the personal touch is always valued. I gave them snippets of knowledge that only talking to the author of a novel could give them: secrets. I told them how the story originated. That some of the props exist and where they are. And I gave them insights they could only access through me. Oh no - I am not about to put any of that information here. It is only for readers I meet in person.

Let's face it - authors do tend to love a captive audience: seven attentive women whose eyes lit up at every second sentence did make me don my racconteuse hat. I told them stories connected to the creation of According to Luke, and also some about Camera Obscura, my next novel, coming soon from BeWrite Books. They seemed eager to read it, and showed a lot of interest in my other titles.

Pic: NC State University
Sometimes, an evening is simply a roaring success, even if it does start with a hiccup in the pouring rain. Sometimes, I come away from an event smiling, and warmed by genuine enthusiasm for writing, which goodness knows I find does not always come easily. All the work of drafting, editing, revisions, proofing, and promoting seems suddenly all worthwhile.

I am grateful to bookclubs who take on my fiction: after all, I am not famous or newsworthy, but they take the risk and seem to be glad they did. They clamour with questions - most of them rather clever and insightful. They ask for more - which is what any author would want to hear. They pass the word on to others, which is the strongest form of publicity that exists.

Thank you, Twisted Sisters, for a very enjoyable night.
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