I'd baked some chocolate-covered shortbead and a single malt whisky cake for a talk I gave last night at my local library. Hey, when you wish you were in Scotland, the least you can do is eat like you were!
Nearly all the faces in the group were friends supporting me and my craft. I talked for almost an hour, reading a few pages from Sightless, then taking questions. The taking questions part is the most interesting. I'm always amazed at the intelligent questions people will ask. They really want to understand the writer's mind.
Why Scotland? was the most challenging question of the evening. It should be easy to answer, and it is for me, but to say it without scaring people in the audience is tricky. I truly feel a connection deeper than just a desire to see the place. How easily I can transport myself to the windswept moors blooming with heather. The rugged mountains, perhaps snow-covered, in the distance. I can literally smell the land, hear the quiet, and feel the peace. Can I do that anywhere? No. But I know I've walked the place and have known its secrets. Its people.
How did I answer it? "I feel Scottish and it has always been a passion of mine."
When I spoke about my screenplay for Eyes of Garnet, which always gets people perked up, a woman said she was very pleased to hear it was written because she could visualized each scene in the book and could clearly see it becoming a movie. Someone else asked if I'd cast it yet, and I told them who I could "see" playing the major parts. Some were pleased, some were surprised, a few thought they'd make a fine character. One never knows.
After I explained what haggis was, and why I won't eat it, we broke for goodies and coffee. The single malt whisky cake was a raging success, as always. I signed a few books and packed it all up again.
Is there another way to get your book "out there"? Yes, and I try to do them all. But reaching out to people one-on-one spreads like wildfire. If they like what they read and hear, they tell their friends, who will hopefully buy your book and pass along that they enjoyed it as well. It's a slow process, but when you're a newbie author, it's the only way to go.