Last week I attended my first book club meeting with a group of women discussing my novel, Jennifer’s Garden. First and foremost, it was a privilege to be there and second, I was thrilled to take part!
Writing is a solitary endeavor and connecting with readers is done primarily via the web, book signings and the like. So when I had the opportunity to meet and chat with readers in person, I jumped on it. Unabashedly.
In light of this, one woman asked, “Do you ever get lonely? Spending so much time by yourself at the computer?”
I laughed. Me? Lonely? Never! I have too many characters to keep me company and not enough hours to write about them! I also have kids and a husband and a part-time dog. Who has time to be lonely?
But I understood the point she was making. So many writers do spend hours upon hours alone, with no feedback, no validation, no connection to those enjoying their books. It’s tough. Very tough. But we write, because we have to write, don’t we?
As a reader, I love book clubs because they introduce me to stories I would never experience on my own. There are certain departments in the bookstore I never venture, certain books I’d never pull from the shelf. I think everyone can attest to having their favorites. So when I hazard out of my comfort zone, I’m the better for it. I’m exposed to new and wonderful authors, interesting trains of thought…
It’s mind-opening. Glorious! But one of the greatest rewards I gained from attending the book club meeting as the author of said book was listening to women “get” my stories. They understood the theme, agreed, disagreed and discussed.
It was awesome. Authors: have you ever attended a book club meeting this way? Readers: ever thought about asking the author to attend? Works especially well when seeking “local authors” in your area. That’s how I was discovered!!
Working mothers remains a hot debate. Whether you stay home and raise your children, or work outside the home while you partner with your spouse, motherhood and work when spoken in the same breath seems to touch a nerve. Why? Is it because the “sisterhood” is breaking down? Are we turning on one another? Eating our own?
Perhaps we’ve simply lost touch with our common purpose, motherhood. No one can be a mother, but a woman. People can “mother” and “nurture,” but there is no replacement for women. There is also no replacement for feeding our families, and feeding our souls. Should we be forced to give up our professional dreams as we raise our children? Should we be criticized for pursuing our passion if it takes us outside of the home when our children are young?
It’s a question I’ve lived with for many years. I began my life as a career-minded young woman. I secured a good position with a medical sales company and worked for ten years before facing the question. Should I give up my position to stay home and raise my children?
Fortunately for me, I also discovered my passion for writing. It was an easy overlap as I progressed through my second childbirth. 🙂
That’s when I stayed home for good. I stayed home because I wanted to be with my children. I wanted to be the one who cared for them, laughed with them, enjoyed each and every moment with them. But I never lost my desire to work and produce. In fact, it’s one of the best things about my garden! Kids don’t hand out awards, financial or otherwise, when Mom does a great job. They don’t recognize your achievements with promotions or bonuses. They simply smile, give you a hug and draw you a picture.
And sometimes that’s enough. For a while. But when they grow older and begin to live their own lives, you find yourself with time on your hands. For me, I filled it with writing. But not everyone has the flexibility that I did. Not everyone made the choices I made. Does that make them wrong?
Condemn Me Not is my latest release and explores this very topic. Veering from my romantic fiction, this one is all about the mothers and daughters. While I adore romance, women’s issues are near and dear to my heart, as is fleshing them out!
Would love to hear your opinions…;)