On April 22nd, a bright and (almost too) warm Sunday afternoon, a wonderful couple (he's a long-time member of my book club) hosted a "Meet Austin's Newest Author" event at their home. The home, itself, was part of the attraction, I'm sure, since it's part of an old Austin family's compound in which five family homes nestle in a forested area on the top of one of Austin's hills. They had several little tables with wine and cheese set up, as well as water, grapes, and some nuts. There was 50's and 60's oldies rock and roll music playing on Pandora to outside speakers. Very cool atmosphere indeed.
My wife, Diana, who is recovering from a severe hemorrhagic stroke last November, went with me, as well as our son, Jimmy, who was a tremendous help. Jimmy brought a durable PA system as well as helped park cars and load and unload the cartons of books we brought to offer. The "sales table" was fully shaded under the roof of a very unusual structure, which we learned was a 1950's era fallout shelter that, in case the Russians nuked us, was recommended by the authorities at the time. Presently, it's a massive concrete structure which is for the most part used to store things that the hosts "have forgotten about," to quote the lady.
They built a very nice rustic roof overhead, and the sales table along with stacks of both Hardcovers and Softcovers were arranged. A young lady who is working with me as my publicist for Texas helped by selling books and keeping track of everything since I was swept (a dramatic and probably over-the-top word) into meeting and greeting people, and signing their copies.
At 4 p.m. I began the "talk," which ran almost 40 minutes. Frankly, I sort of lost track of the time, but everyone said it was interesting, and so it apparently went well. Since this was a group of friends and people I know fairly well, it was a personal journey of the book: how it came to be written in the first place, and how I learned the mechanics of writing it.
Diana, Jimmy, and I arrived at 2 p.m. and didn't leave until 7 p.m., by which time Diana was completely exhausted. I was a bit angry at myself for submitting her to the heat and all the people, but she probably was the real attraction, and lots and lots of people sat with her and hugged her. That was lovely.
Oh, the "author" probably didn't completely botch it up, so it was a successful day overall. I can't express my thanks and appreciation to our hosts. The setting was amazing, and all went well.
My next "event" is mid-May with a women's book club in an outskirt of Austin. They are reading Reunion now. These ladies are all well-educated and sophisticated. I look forward to getting their feedback and the female perspectives. It's interesting that so far, the women readers have reacted differently from the men readers. The men are impacted by the father-son relationship. All in all, I've gotten such varied comments. The book seems to affect people on many different levers. Let me know your comments here, as I find these fascinating.