The Locals

Father Junipero Confessor COVER

Here’s what happens when your book club agrees to read a novel by a local author, and to meet with that author at the brand new, local bookstore.

Wait.

Scratch that.

Here’s what happens when you suggest your book club read an historical novel by a local author, a friend of yours, a former teacher, actually:  you coordinate the calendars of 12 book club members, via email, two months out, and hope you can get this in before the holidays; and then you coordinate the ordering of books and nail down the date with the writer’s publicist; and then you email a bit with your writer/teacher/friend to make sure it all works; and the new bookstore owner agrees to keep her brand new store open on a Wednesday night, just for you, even though they usually close at 6:00 pm and your being there for a private party isn’t likely to sell any books; and you send a note to the local town paper because you’re sure they’ll want to stop by and take some photos, which will, in turn, help out the new bookstore and promote the local author.

It all works out spectacularly. *

You spend the evening drinking champagne and eating chocolates with a dozen women who have all read FATHER JUNIPERO’S CONFESSOR  ** and have a ton of great questions for writer Nick Taylor.  You ask questions about how he writes historical fiction, how much research vs. when to get going with the story, what’s made up and what’s real, how the book was edited based on 70% of book buyers being female, why he decided to end the book the way he did, and more.  He tells you how much fun it is, how different, to meet with a group who has already read the book vs. the standard promotional reading.  And then he tells you all about his next book, THE SETUP MAN, a thriller scheduled for release in March 2014 under the pseudonym T.T. Monday.

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And lastly, did I mention the bookstore owners left you there alone to mind the store while they went out to dinner?

Yes, while we were having champagne on the patio — because it still feels like early Fall here — they handed me an index card with a cell # and said, “You can have the place for the night.  We’ll be down the street.  Call if you need anything.”

See.  I told you it was spectacular.

____

*  The newspaper didn’t show up  (shame on them).  One woman unexpectedly brought her giant dog, which made it … well … interesting.  And someone sounded the alarm that afternoon that maybe we had the wrong night (what?!) so that raised my blood-pressure for about an hour.  But how much fun was it to read a really good book, talk about it with friends while visiting with the writer, and promote a local bookstore, all in one night?  I’d do it all again tomorrow…

**  Loved the book, and I can see it was especially fascinating (enlightening?) for those raised in California who first learned about Father Junipero Serra in middle school.

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27 thoughts on “The Locals

    1. Teri Post author

      Can you even believe that?? Of course we took great care, but how funny that was in the moment. And me thinking, “You don’t really know me? Are you people crazy?”

      Of course they’re not crazy. They’re book people. MY people.

  1. Josey

    it’s like you just had the most perfect dream ever of the most wonderful book club meeting ever, but it wasn’t a dream. it really happened. and you can just float in the memory without fearing it will all of a sudden be totally gone from your mind in that way great dreams leave without any notice.

    and by the way, your writer/teacher/friend kills it on titles–seriously, i love both of them.

    1. Teri Post author

      Afterward, once woman said, That was awesome. I’ve never heard a writer talk before!

      I was shocked. Which then made me realize how lucky I am to have heard so many writers talk about their work, and how not everyone thinks we’re all that interesting.

      1. Josey

        I am constantly stunned when people are as excited as I am when I find out someone’s an author. It’s like I my mind refuses to retain the idea that some people are not as in awe as I am with people who have finished and published any works.

      2. Teri Post author

        They were all ecstatic (and it was fun to watch) when he described how a narrator has to “want something” and “have obstacles” etc… so excited to hear someone describe how fiction works on a cellular level. Which made me feel jaded.

  2. Lyra

    Teri,
    I swear, I read your posts and think you are living my dream life. Then I wonder why I’m not actively making these things happen. But then I remember there’s no little bookstore in my town. Which gets me back to why I should totally open an independent bookstore. And then I’m back to why I need to make a bazillion dollars and become Famous Author so I can afford to open a bookstore and add this to the community where I can walk down the street for dinner because wonderful reader people are there and I can trust them because this after all is a fantastic community.
    So. Thank you for giving me back an idea I have always loved even if I don’t have the ducks nearly in a row to make it happen. Yet.

    1. Teri Post author

      Because the dream is a real live dream for all of us. Even the writer last night said, “My dream is to have a bookstore like this.” Followed by, but I’m broke and I’d be even more broke, and I have a 10 yr old and 6 month old twins, etc… I replied, Of course, our dream is to have a bookstore, with a whole section for first editions, the house dogs wandering about, a fireplace and leather chairs and wine (wine!) where people can gather and visit and talk about books….

      But alas, no, because then we would have to throw down a cot at night and sleep on the floor of said bookstore, with no health insurance and no savings and no anything else.

      And still. I love dream land …

      1. independentclause

        Owning a bookstore is a lot like farming: How do you make a small fortune in farming/bookselling? Begin with a large fortune.

        That said, Lyra, when you open the bookstore, give me a call. I’ll work for the staff discount. (Louise Erdreich opened a bookstore in Minneapolis because she is a Famous Author. I wonder if it’s still in business. I hope so.)

      2. Teri Post author

        Birchbark Books IS still in business. As is Ann Patchett’s store in, I believe, Louisville? These women give me hope.

      3. Josey

        Ann’s store is in Nashville – Parnassus. BUT, as it turns out, Ann is in Louisville tonight. On my way to see her in about an hour!! (wish you were all coming with me)

  3. Downith

    I love it! And that you made it happen – why doesn’t it surprise me?

    The covers of both books are fabulous!

    (I’m refraining from commenting on the weather there)

    1. Teri Post author

      Maybe we should have all brought our big dogs, which I believe adds up to about 10. Now THAT would have been interesting.

      And PS, the weather is even strangely warm for here.

    1. Teri Post author

      I believe this was a one-time shot only, Joe. Too many moving parts. One woman said afterward, “That was so awesome! I’ve never heard a writer talk about their work before!” And this is a woman who reads a lot of books —- it has never occurred to her to go see a writer. Which both saddened and shocked me, and shows how much I really do live in Writer World.

  4. Paul Lamb

    Well, I wish my experience was as fine as yours. Our discussion group tries to delve into social justice and morality/ethics as explored in novels (which is why we spent THREE YEARS on Moby Dick), but when we discussed The Year the Colored Sisters Came to Town, the author came to our meeting and the discussion quickly descended to what it’s like to go to book signings and being famous and having an agent and seeing your reviews and all sorts of fawning, wannabe type stuff. I think (hope) our facilitator decided never to have the author present at our discussions again — though having a chance to say ANYTHING to Herman Melville would be totally worth it.

    1. Teri Post author

      Sometimes my group barely even discusses the book we’ve read, so I was thrilled everyone read the book — which was not mainstream, nor romantic, nor the hot new thing in the news — and how much fun it was to hear the writer explain his choices in the writing of it. A pleasure, it was.

      Now, can this lovely experience be replicated if I tried it again? That’s a total crap shoot.

  5. Terri Rubnitz

    Your synopsis of the events surrounding our absolutely delightful book club evening was terrific! I love the way you tell a story. If your memoirs are not forthcoming in the very near future, could you at least pen something using a pseudonym? I do take slight umbrage to the comments you made to one of your respondents regarding your book club’s failure to discuss at length their chosen novel of the month ( I realize the truth often hurts. Perhaps one could blame the copious amounts of alcohol consumed combined with the tendencies of some to be overly social at the meetings for this transgression…oh dear, :), it is so easy to forget that the true purpose of those get togethers is to converse about the book…)

    Thank you again for making it possible for your motley crew of book club friends to have a truly memorable experience!

    1. Teri Post author

      Of course I’m one of the biggest sinners when it comes to (a) not reading/finishing the book, and (b) visiting more than discussing the book. So there you go. Ha!!

      But it was a really fun evening, even with the big dog in attendance. In a small space. That doesn’t allow dogs. LOL

  6. girl in the hat

    Teri! Get outta here! NIck Taylor just did an event with us the other night. He was wonderfully fascinating but your event sounds spectacular. He’s your friend? If I’d known, I’d have told him to say hello!

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