I came across this today:
A blog post by author Holly Robinson about book clubs. My favorite paragraph from her post is:
In the end, meeting with people who have actually read your book is mostly like winning the lottery: I have never felt so lucky....Authors spend hours each day writing, without knowing if anything we put on the page will ever be read. Book groups allow us to learn what moved our readers (or didn't). They inspire us, giving us hope that writing is a craft worth pursuing.
I couldn't agree more. Just last Friday I was invited to a book club of a group of 5th grade girls who had read my book. You can see their photo above, though two of them came just after I took the photo. They wanted to know things like how I came up with the names of the characters, and why did I include the swallows, and why was Marisol so bossy. I took a poll. "Who would be friends with Marisol?" I asked them. They were fifth grade girls after all, a year younger than Marisol was. Each girl raised her hand.
This is exactly what Ms. Robinson was talking about in her post. I'd tried to write Marisol a certain way, but one never knows if it had really worked.
Ms. Robinson wrote, Book Clubs allow us to learn what moved our readers.
Each girl raised her hand. Marisol was indeed bossy but she was a good friend who helped the main character, Eleanor, achieve her dream. And every girl in that book club wanted to be friends with her.
I looked at their faces, their hands in the air, and it almost made my eyes go watery.