public readings

Today I enjoyed a pleasant luncheon with the Nisswa Women’s Club.  They invited me to come and speak about my novels, ABERCROMBIE TRAIL and POMME DE TERRE.  I was surprised to find 94 women in attendance.

Reading from my work at public events can be very stressful.  I’m an ordinary person, not a public speaker.  Since ABERCROMBIE TRAIL was released in June 2009 I’ve had many opportunities to participate in readings and book talks across the region.  Because I write historical fiction, I’ve enjoyed opportunities to read at historical societies, museums, libraries etc.  All that research I did is of great benefit.  People love to hear about the history of our state and the interesting tidbits I’ve learned.

Probably the best thing I’ve learned  is to begin and end by reading poems I have written.  I’m more of a fiction writer than a poet, but I’ve found poetry to be a great way to get people’s attention as I begin my reading.  Ending with another poem is a nice way to close the session.  In between I do a short reading from the novel, talk about my research and share the writing process.

That said, it’s never easy.  Each time I read one of my poems, I have this terrified feeling that I’m making a mistake, and that people came to hear about my historical fiction–not poetry.  But afterward, the responses to my poems are always enthusiastic.  It’s nice to bookend the presentation with something that is so personal. My books are usually sold at the conclusion of the reading.  It’s a good feeling to give the listeners something that they don’t have to buy.

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