LIBRARY TALK TRIVIA by Maree Anderson (for Writers Gone Wild)
Earlier this week I headed off to an author-friend's talk at our local library. I hadn't been to a library talk before, so I was curious to see what it was all about--not to mention support my friend so she had at least one friendly face in the audience.
I arrived 10 minutes late -- don't ask! -- and wandered through the quiet library, following my ears until I reached an alcove tucked in the corner and discovered a group of around a dozen women and one man, all sitting in a semi-circle around my author-friend, Yvonne Lindsay. The library lady who'd organized the talk kindly gave up her chair to me, and I tucked myself in the corner and hoped I hadn't missed too much.
Yvonne did a great job with the talk. She was a brilliant advocate for romance writing and although I'd heard her story before, when she talked about her rejections, and being so close so many times, and almost giving up writing entirely, it still moved me to tears.
It was interesting to note that I've just turned 47, and aside from Yvonne, I was the youngest person attending the talk. The reason I find that interesting is that when the talk finished, Yvonne was peppered with questions that made it obvious the many of those attending the talk were interested in becoming authors. Questions ranged from her writing process, to working with an editor and revisions, to whether an author has any say over titles and covers, and inevitably, the number of books she'd sold to date. Even after the talk officially ended and the homemade morning tea that the library staff had provided was announced, morning tea took a back seat questions to surrounding Yvonne and plying her with more questions. (I eventually had to interrupt and grab her a coffee before the morning tea was cleared away.)
BTW, Yvonne has published/contracted more than twenty books with Harlequin, so when she was asked about the number of books she'd sold worldwide thus far and gave a figure, you should have heard the oohs and aahs, and seen the glints of dollar signs in people's eyes. I had no doubt that they were grossly over-estimating what authors receive in royalties for each book they sell, but neither Yvonne nor I felt inclined to burst their bubbles by jumping in with cold hard facts about contracts and royalties.
But back to the reason I found the age range of those attending interesting. I was genuinely surprised that there weren't a few younger people interested in writing category novels attending the talk. I mean, fellow RWNZ member Nalini Singh is a great example of my point. She started writing category in her twenties, was first published in category, and then hit the big-time with her best-selling Psy-Changeling and Guild Hunter series. And honestly? I would give my eye-teeth to have been inspired to write, and to have been able to start working toward my goal of becoming a published author so early on, like Nalini did. So I guess I was sure there would have been a bunch of eager youngsters hanging on to Yvonne's every word and wanting to know the secret to her success. It's not every day you get the opportunity to bail up a successful author who's sold twenty-plus books and pepper her with questions!
In retrospect, perhaps the midweek, 11am time slot precluded the twenty-, thirty- and forty-somethings from attending the talk. Pity.
There was one rather gorgeous young university student who wandered up to talk to Yvonne afterward, however. Turns out he'd been hovering round the bookshelves listening to latter part of her talk. And while he waited for the other attendees to finish giving Yvonne the second degree about her success as an author, he ended up chatting to me for a bit--lucky me, because he was so gorgeous he could easily have been the hero of a romance novel *g*
His questions began with whether we romance writers use the classics as inspiration for our stories, but as I had to admit I hadn't read many of the classics, the discussion became more general. Phew! Dodged that bullet. (Note to self: squeeze some classics in between all those paranormal romances, fantasies, historicals and YAs so you don't come across like an ignorant numnit.) This young man was very open-minded about romance authors and the genre, which was awesome to see. And I'd like to think he came away with a new perspective on the genre thanks to Yvonne's talk. At present he writes poetry... would love to know if he's ever inspired to write a romance novel!
Well, that's it from me. Hope you didn't mind the ramble.
BTW, I'd be interested to know if you've ever attended an author talk at your local library, and whether it inspired you in any way.