Thursday, June 02, 2016

Susan Sands:  Book Clubs

I've been meeting with book clubs and groups of women who love books over the past year since releasing my first two novels. The last one was called Wednesday Wine and Wisdom. I was to supply the wisdom.  I laughed about that and did my best. After visiting a couple dozen groups, I've discovered several common threads that I find interesting and amusing. 

Most members of the groups drink somewhat heavily day or night. I don't really drink much alcohol because I get instant migraines from it, so it's interesting to observe the deterioration of questions and discussion as the day/evening progresses. Questions regarding sex and money become more prevalent as the wine flows. I've never been overtly offended by either topic, only amused.

Reader groups often have at least two or more would-be writers in their midst. I love sniffing them out. They are intensely interested in how I started writing and all the nuts and bolts of the process.

There are most often two distinct types of readers represented within most book clubs:  Literary fiction readers and commercial fiction readers. The literary fiction readers tend to be "wordies" who immerse themselves in the passages, or the lovely words. They roll around in the beauty of them and tend to hi-light the parts they'd like to revisit later. They also adore memoirs and meandering books that may or may not have a satisfying ending. These readers often love the classics as well.  

The commercial fiction reader is thrilled by a killer plot and characters. They adore a fast-paced, plot-driven read. They are "story" lovers as opposed to "word" readers. Authors of commercial fiction write for the reader to look beyond the words as if watching a movie unfold. 

It's not as if one can't love both kinds of books. And hopefully, a skilled author strike a balance between effective words and a fantastic, gripping story. But, the truth is, most authors write to a specific type. 

I'm a commercial writer. I write Southern romantic women's fiction that always includes a romance. There's a satisfying ending. You can count on it. I've come across mostly lovely women who have been kind and welcoming. But I've noticed an edge from a few of the readers who enjoy a deeper, more serious type of literature. The bottom line is that I write my books to please my readers. They won't please everyone. I can't fight that or change it. I've established my identity as an author. I might write something different someday, but for now, I'm satisfied with my genre. And I charge everyone to read whatever they choose. There are enough authors and books out there to satisfy everyone. 

I read a variety of genres, mostly determined by my mood. I often read outside my genre when I'm in the middle of writing a new book.

Check out my two Alabama books from The Tule Publishing Group!

Again, Alabama                               Love, Alabama

"Full of Southern charm, warmth and humor, Love, Alabama is as sweet and satisfying as homemade pie." --Kristan Higgins, New York Times bestselling author 

I hope everyone is enjoying the beginnings of a lovely summer!!

Susan Sands

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