Thursday, April 9, 2009

Author Intrusion?

There's a term in writing for when an author interrupts the normal flow of the story to inject something that she wants the reader to know. The intrusion can take many forms, but they're all generally bad because it reminds the reader that she's reading a book (rather than living through an experience with the character.)

Anyway, I wondered if I might be an in-the-flesh author intrusion when I was invited by a wonderful (hugs and kisses to Karla) bookseller from Katy Budget Books to sit in on a paranormal readers' group that was going to discuss Would-Be Witch. How could they have a real discussion about what they thought with me sitting in the circle? Also, what if someone hated the book and wasn't afraid to say so? Would that be awkward?

In true Tammy Jo tradition, I felt bringing chocolate would be a good way to break the ice, so I had mint fudge brownies with me. (The brownies were pretty gooey in the center. I'm not sure what's up with that, but it turns out gooey brownies are as good as fully cooked ones.) Anyway, the ladies had their own supply of snacks and sodas, and I tried Peach Fresca. Amazingly good!

I was asked to talk a bit about how I'd come up with story, which I did. Then I listened to their thoughts. They're quite a savvy group of readers, which is very cool. And it was a relief to hear that they enjoyed the book. Many of them have been incredibly generous to me by telling people about the book. Caribbean pirates probably wouldn't think so, but book buzz/word of mouth recommendations are better than gold!

So it was a terrific experience for me--though because I was a bit nervous, I talked more than I'd intended to. Those who know me will not be surprised to hear that. ;)

Anyway, I hope it was good for them, too, but to learn what they really thought of my being there... intruder v. welcome visitor, I'll have to debrief with Karla this weekend. What I wouldn't give to be a fly on the wall sometimes...


Paul Lamb said...

If you don't like author intrusion, stay away from Jose Saramago. I think my tolerance of it depends on the nature of the story telling. Escapist adventures -- no intrusion desired. Allegorical social musings -- intrusion welcomed. Also, is it the author or the narrator who is intruding. That can make a big difference.

I was in a discussion group with the author present once. It was a failure, at least as a book discussion would go. Everyone was interested in the author herself, her success stories, her fame, and such. There was very little discussion about the book itself. And while that kind of topic is interesting and worthwhile, it wasn't what I was there for.
I'm glad you're getting good buzz!

Kimberly Frost said...

Paul -

I think you're write. Some stories you read just to hear the author's voice and maybe their authorial narrative lends something to the story. Good point!


Dawny said...

I would tell you not to be so worried. The book was a great book. I read and reread about 250 books a year. I will re read Would be Witch when the second book comes closer to being released. This is one book for me that will stay on my book shelf.

Kissing the Suspect Release!

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