The reading occurred in the Railway Village’s Chapel building, a sweet, old-feeling, little room with small pews facing the podium and large chairs that would seat a pastor and one other (if memory serves, so I can’t swear to the number). I felt uneasy at first, since churches aren’t part of my life anymore, but I got over it–guess that’s another story for another time?–and sat in the front pew with my pal. The low back of the small pew bit into my own back, giving physicality to my discomfort at seeing the pew to begin with.I wanted to meet Monica Wood because I keep her book Description in my pile of best books on writing. I refer to it whenever I see a section in my own writing that feels exceptionally flat. Wood is a master at creating mood and imagery with words. Her newest book is We Were the Kennedys: A Memoir from Mexico, Maine. It begins with a poem by Gregory Orr, “This Is What Was Bequeathed Us,” that speaks directly to my own vision of earthly life after death. I’m sure, from Wood’s engaging reading, that I will love this memoir. She read from the Prologue to set the scene in the milltown of Mexico, Maine, and then from a chapter to describe the landlord of her childhood home. I didn’t know I wanted to meet Tess Gerritsen until my friend, a fan of the Rizzoli & Isles series, went all excited over seeing that Gerritsen was the author slated to speak after Wood. We stayed in the Chapel (oh, my aching back) to listen to her. Like Wood, Gerritsen is a dynamic speaker. Both women are beautiful, psyched about their work, and fun to listen to. If I’m fortunate enough to “tour” Circling Great Wharf (my debut novel, if/when), I may need an hour or ten with a speech coach to get me back into that mode. Wood and Gerritsen set a high bar. After enjoying our chosen speakers, my friend and I went to the Railway Village Town Hall to meet authors and buy signed books. I had a chance to speak with both Wood and Gerritsen, and bought Wood’s memoir mentioned above and the first in Gerritsen’s Rizzoli & Isles series, The Surgeon. It was Gerritsen who pointed Vicki Doudera out to me as a cozy mystery writer. Doudera (whose first-in-series book I purchased, A House to Die For, A Darby Farr Mystery) gave me the name of her agent as someone who represents cozies. A colleague had suggested that I should focus on such agents more than agents who rep only “pure” mysteries, which I assume Gerritsen’s books are.
I can’t wait to read my three new books. Have you read any of these I’ve mentioned, or any by these authors?