Friday, July 29, 2011

When authors come to dinner, hide the good silverware

I've been part of the same book club for 11 years now, and though we've been lucky enough to chat with a number of authors on the phone, we've only had two join us in person and live to talk about it.

Last night, we had the divine pleasure of having mystery author Bill Cameron make the seven-hour round trip journey to eat bacon chat with us about his most recent release, County Line.
I should start by saying I'm a huge Bill Cameron fan, and have read all his releases. For the rest of my book club, this was the first. Technically, County Line is the fourth in a series, though all the books stand alone just fine even if you haven't read the others. Because County Line has a strong female point of view I knew the group would enjoy – and because the book is so fabulous it makes me dizzy – it seemed like an excellent starting point for book club.

No one was disappointed (unless you count my dog, who felt she didn't get a fair share of the bacon-filled appetizers, entrees, sides, and desserts we'd prepared in Bill's honor).

I was most fascinated by the kinds of questions the group members asked. Some wanted to know how certain characters were created. Others wanted more details on back-story. One member even challenged a part of the book that referenced female basketball players dunking (to which Bill responded with a surprising amount of research on the subject).

I knew I adored the book before our little Q&A, but I came away loving it a hundred times more after getting the inside scoop from the author himself. It's a good reminder to me as a newbie author contemplating how many guest blogs and interviews and book signings I should pack into my schedule. Does it really matter? Does anyone care what I have to say?
Toasting with bacon, in Bill's honor.

Speaking only as a reader who was tickled pink to chat and dine with an author whose books I enjoy, I can say the answer is yes.

Do you find your response to a book changes if you get a chance to interact with the author? If you got to ask one question of any author (dead or alive) who and what would you ask? Please share, I'm curious about this.

Oh, and please do yourself the favor of picking up one of Bill's books as soon as possible. Lost Dog is a natural starting point, but every single one of his books is packed with great mystery, fascinating characters, and a whole lot of wonderful Portland flavor.


Patty Blount said...

I am so beyond jealous, I want to cry. Yet another reason to wish I lived closer to you both.

Anonymous said...

I'm almost afraid to meet authors of books I truly love. On one hand, if they're capable of writing a book that wonderful, how could I not like them?

But on the other hand, what if the author turns out to be a dick? If I can't respect him/her on a personal level, it doesn't alter the quality of the work, but it definitely spoils my enjoyment of it. Depending on the severity of the "dick-ness", it might even be enough to make me drop the book.

Risk... *chicken noises*

Flip side: if I've already met and liked the author, in person or through blogs/Twitter, I'll read their books much less critically. And I'll often buy books I don't particularly enjoy, just to support an author I like.

Linda G. said...

That looks like so much fun!

I've been lucky with the authors I've met so far (whether in person or online), in that it's only made me appreciate their writing even more. Don't know what would happen if I ever met one who turned out to be a jerk, but I suspect I'd have a tough time sticking with him/her.

Moral to authors: if you're going to put yourself out there, be likeable. Or at least worthy of respect. :)

Harley May said...


Love Bill and his books.

You both rock.

Sean Ferrell said...

I am jealous of both Bill and Tawna.

Anna said...

I love the County Line bbq restaurant in Austin, TX. Mmm, now you've got me craving meat.

I tagged you in a game of blogger tag today :) Have a great weekend!

Raquel Byrnes said...

Oh my gosh. Totally jealous. Sounds like so much fun! Love the bacon toast...nice.
Edge of Your Seat Romance

Unknown said...

That seems like so much fun! What a great book club. My old book club was pretty fantastic, but we never had dinner with the author. So cool that he took the time to have dinner and answer questions.

Anonymous said...

I'd ask my favourite author, Derek Landy, to marry me.

erin said...

Lol... what a coincidence! I just download this book on my kindle!

On a side note... let me say... OMG... just finished Making Waves... and it was fantastic!!!! Had a slow day at work and was entertaining my coworker with my sudden bursts of giggles cuz I started your book :) You are now on my Must-Buy list! Thanks for such a wonderful and *original* story!!!

Valentina Hepburn said...

Lucky you--and him! Sounds like you had a great time. I'd like to ask about that moment when you knew you were going to be published--and also whether you ever felt like putting down your pen and saying 'enough already' and what it was that kept you going.

Anonymous said...

Yep. My response to the book changes if I get to interact with the author. Not sure how to explain it. Makes me feel more vested in the book. I know, it's weird.

Your pictures are fun. Looks like you had a great time!