Last night I visited a local book club, and I’m still glowing.
As an author, I sit alone and write the words and pictures in my head, never quite sure if what I’m writing is good, or bad, or even makes any sense. To start at that point, and go through the edits, rewrites, publication, reviews, book store signings and now, to book club meetings with people who actually bought and read the book and want to talk to me about it: it’s mind-boggling.
Norbert, Carlotta and all their friends took shape from my subconscious mind. To now sit in a roomful of readers and hear them talk about their own attachments to my characters and the personal meanings they found in the novel is an astonishing experience.
People I am meeting for the first time discuss with strong convictions how Carlotta truly does grow at the end, or how Norbert really surprised them. It makes my characters seem more real to me than ever.
Last night, a reader said she’d love to see The Reluctant Fortune-Teller become a TV series, with Norbert reading cards for a different “querent” each episode. We’d see that person’s life, and how the card reading affected them. This led to casting considerations. Tom Hanks might be Norbert. Shirley Mac Laine could be Birdie, and Meryl Streep would be a natural for Carlotta. Other names were shouted out, too, and as I looked around the circle, I realized that these women “saw” the people in Gibbons Corner, had taken them into their minds and knew them in their own way.
I love these visits to book clubs. I love being in the midst of a tribe of readers who get together regularly to talk and listen and to share their thoughts and their love of books.
It fuels my energy to write the next book.