Monday, March 26, 2012
Jeyn Roberts Book Tour Review
THIRD PLACE BOOKS
I quietly wait atThird Place Books to meet with my other author friends and exchange ideas and critique each other’s work. At 6:45 the usual call goes out announcing that an author is reading in the small stage, but I don’t go having made other plans. My friends are late so I wait: when at 7:03 I hear a sound so sickening that I can’t believe my ears.
It is a second announcement by the book store that an author reading is about to take place, promoting the book DARK INSIDE and that my dear readers is a bad sign.
It is the sound of an author getting skunked at a reading. No one has shown so I slap my computer shut and text everyone the instructions that some poor bugger is reading to an empty room.
Okay so there is a mom and a daughter, another lady (who has actually read the book) myself and the rest of the wannabe authors straggling in.
It’s young adult literature; a genre ruined for me by lousy books about Vampires on the Washington coast but I don’t care if she is writing about, Zombies or blood suckers or the Tea Party, no novelist should ever get skunked at a reading. I just can’t let this happen.
There were meet our author Jeyn Roberts standing in this barren room; nervous as a Tribute before the start of the Hunger Games. (Get it? Ha, Ha. This is a young adult author and then I made The Hunger Games analogy and it was supposed to be clever but… forget it)
Still this could be interesting. Heck this could be fun. It is one thing to watch an author wrangle a a packed house completely engaged on their every word but then there is the other side. How does one handle a crowd of the few and unaware? Let’s see how she handles this because someday we are all going to face that empty room.
Actually I have seen great readings done in rooms as small as five people and lousy ones done by people who actually paid to see an author. The best ones always give the same performance.
I have to give Ms. Roberts a lot of credit by admitting that she is uneasy talking to so few people tonight after speaking at several local high schools where her core audience is found. As we conversed she was energetic and funny and seemed like a genuine hard working author. Yeah, I liked her.
But rather than beginning the evening by reading from the book, (so that the few of us can get some kind of flavor for the novel) she starts by asking if anyone has read the book. (No)
Then she decided to just open up the talk to questions, which makes me cringe because that puts the pressure on the audience and I know what kind of questions are going to take place.
I need something to ask about, something to anchor the evening on with a writer I know nothing about. Reading from the book helps, but that is just me.
My writing friends have arrived (seven in the audience now) and we bomb her with the basic questions, “Do you use an outline when writing?” “What is your background” One of my author friends asks the inspiration question. This is a long answer which helps by leading to more questions. Ms. Roberts has a lot to offer if only it were more structured.
Finally she read sections of the novel, which was her strongest part of the evening. She was enthusiastic about the book and she read with passion, often times explaining the plot as she went along and actually clearing up the plot.
Oh yeah the book. Here is my best two sentence elevator pitch describing Dark Inside and please add the movie guy announcer voice for this:
Tremendous earthquakes have destroyed the earth’s major cities; an ancient evil emerges, turning ordinary people into hunters, killers, and insane monsters. But a small group of teens comes together in a fight for survival and safety of all mankind. Can they do it? Will they do it?”
To me it sounds like “The Stand” meets “Godzilla” but what the hell do I know, one of my friends bought the book: I’ll ask him.