Readers, Books, & A Great Discussion

I truly enjoy talking books (and smack!) with women.  I love hearing what people are reading and enjoying, as well as what doesn’t work for them and why.  One of my favorite things to do–besides treat friends to afternoon tea–is join readers for their book club get together.

It’s not always possible for me to attend in person.   Usually I call in or Skype, but I love it when I can be there.  I enjoy sipping wine and noshing on the appetizers (book clubs do the best food!) and then sitting down to discuss the book.

I said this a few weeks ago, but I never truly understand what I’ve written until I hear it discussed from the reader’s point of view, and the reader matters.  The reader is everything.  I want to know what you think, and what you like, and what you don’t like and why.

It’s interesting to me how different real readers respond compared to the critics.  Flirting with Forty was widely panned by the critics.  One reviewer called it cheesy and schmaltzy, labeling it a “story perfect for the Lifetime movie crowd” (ha!), and another  (it was a male reviewer from Kirkus Reviews) said Jackie and her friends were pathetic and self-indulgent.

But as you know from the popularity of my last blog, readers had a different take on Flirting with Forty, especially my readers who’d been through a divorce or had hit forty and felt a little too empty inside.  They identified with Jackie’s struggles and her need to stop putting herself last and to start making choices that would make her happy.


With the lovely Melanie Collins.
With Melanie’s mom, Sarah Flowers. It was a fun night!

I’ve learned that there is a difference between what people, or society, thinks a woman needs, versus what a woman wants or needs.  I want to write the stories women want.  I want to write the stories women enjoy.

Issaquah Highlands Annual Book Club Holiday Party

So now I’m asking for your help.  What do you enjoy reading?  If you are to pick up a book, what are you looking for?  And when you finish the book, what do you want to think or feel?  I really want to know what readers–especially my readers–are looking for in a novel.  I’ve been writing hard, very hard, for the past ten years, and I’m thinking of changing it up next year.  2012 was full of personal change–I left Bellevue after 16 years and moved to California–and 2013 is going to be full of professional and creative change.  But before I throw the baby out with the bath water, let me hear from you.

You are free to say as much as you want, or as little as you want.  You can send me a private email if you’re concerned about saying something in the comments you don’t want others to read, but be sure to post below if you want a chance to win one of the 5 holiday prizes I’m giving away.

The contest closes midnight PST on Sunday, December 9th and I’ll announce the 5 winners Monday morning, but you can share your thoughts anytime, as often as you’d like.  What are the prizes?  I’ve got 4 holiday boxes and 1 book club party giveaway.  The book club party giveaway includes 12 signed copies of The Good Woman, 12 swag bags of JP reader goodies, a See’s gift certificate (what’s a party without chocolate), and a Skype call in the night of your get-together, plus a holiday prize box for the winner, too!.  If you are interested in the book club party, please make a note at the bottom of your comment that you belong to a book club or women’s group and to enter you for that one, too.

Have a wonderful weekend.  I love this community with you!

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