The first of April has ticked over and Aussie Author Month has officially begun! I’m really excited to be taking part in promoting some of the wonderful authors we have in this country and I’m hoping to contribute a wide variety of reviews. My first novel that I’m reading for the month is Sara Foster’s Beneath the Shadows and as I had the pleasure of meeting Sara just last month at an author event (my very first one!) I thought I’d talk about that.
My local library hosted the event organised through a local bookstore and although I hadn’t read Sara’s novels yet I had never been to an author event and it was actually happening on a night my husband wasn’t working and could be home to watch our son! So I was very excited. I didn’t know anything about the novels beforehand and that was partially deliberate – I wanted to go in and hear what Sara had to say about their creative processes and hopefully hype myself up into really anticipating the reading of the novels!
Sara was both really lovely to meet and listen to – she spoke so well and although we were an intimate little group it must still be quite daunting to sit in front of a bunch of people and talk about something you have labored on for so long and that must mean so much to you! It was wonderful actually listening to someone describe their writing ideas and their processes and how it all came together – the copious editing from both her and her editor. It’s always really quite surprising as a reader to hear just how much goes into the finished product that we take home off the shelves!
It was quite amusing to me that Sara talked a lot about Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier during talking about Beneath the Shadows. It plays quite a role in the novel and I had just finished reading Rebecca the day before and had been in awe of it so the idea of reading Beneath the Shadows with that all still fresh in my mind was really appealing. The idea of reading a modern gothic novel (or one with gothic elements) straight off the back of Rebecca was really intriguing for me – that could just be the part of me that has enrolled for a Literature studies degree talking though!
We all got a chance to chat to Sara casually after the event, she signed all our novels and made herself available to talk about books and really just anything in general including things like parenting. It was all very casual and relaxed – and not at all like we’d just met! Quite a few of us were there so long that they had to pretty much boot us out of the library as it was past their closing time and we had to be hustled out the back way.
It was a fabulous night and I’m so glad I went even though I was a bit apprehensive at first as I hadn’t read the novels yet. But in the end that didn’t matter a bit – I was able to purchase both on the night and get both signed. And in the end, I came away really excited to read two books that might not have been the sort of novels I might normally have gravitated to, with my TBR pile being what it is.
And it’s that reason that I think (even though this was the first one I attended!) author events like that are invaluable, both for the authors and the attendees! Authors get a chance to really talk about the book in a personal way and what went into it from their point of view – how they get their ideas, how they write, etc. What they were thinking, what was happening in their lives while they were writing. As a reader I do find that stuff really interesting and I know that I am far more likely to read a book sometimes simply because I’ve heard a fascinating story about it, or about the author. Twitter and blogs are good for that too, because it’s quite easy to hear little snippets from authors that pique your curiosity. And for authors, promoting themselves to audiences, no matter how large or small, how diverse, can bring you in so many rewards!
I would urge anyone out there to attend an event like this if you haven’t before, even if you don’t really know a lot about the author or their novels! You never know what you might learn and what might catch your eye!
A review of Beneath the Shadows will be coming on the blog tomorrow.
Picture from Collins Werribee