Thursday, October 30, 2014

Book Clubs

Robert Ellis
I met with a book club recently at the home of a friend who lives in Connecticut on Long Island Sound. This was the second time Marge has hosted an event dedicated to my novels, and like the first meeting, the entire evening was terrific.

I love meeting with book clubs whether I'm able to actually attend the event, or as it often happens, attend via Skype on my computer. What's so satisfying about these meetings is that I can speak freely about a story without the worry of spoiling anything. Everyone has read the novel, and in most cases, has a better feel for story details than I do!

The Black Rock Book Club
But even more important is the dialogue between the members themselves. Usually the conversation takes off in a direction of its own, and as the writer, I learn things. What works and what doesn't, what they thought would happen and what actually did. I've always enjoyed putting at least one horrific murder in my novels, set in real time. Knowing how far I can take things, testing the waters with a reading group, brings a lot of laughs and is a real kick.

But perhaps the very best part of meeting with a book club has nothing to do with talking about my work at all. It's hearing each member discuss what they're reading. It's listening to them talk about who they like or don't like, and why. This is where the learning process really begins. In this dialogue. In this discovery. Why readers think a story worked or didn't work. Why they couldn't get past a hundred pages, then picked up the next book by the same author, and read it straight through with the doors locked.

Like I said, my evening with the Black Rock Book Club was terrific. Many thanks!

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