Book Club Validation

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There is nothing quite so affirming for an author as when you meet someone who has read your book and not only expresses their enjoyment, but who really got it. Since The Golden Apple’s publication in 2023 I’ve had the pleasure of attending 2 book clubs to meet some of my readers.

This past Saturday I was invited to join the lovely ladies of “Reading Between the Wines” and I left feeling so validated. They read the book in January, and then again in September to brush up for the meeting. These women are practically book critics and read across genres from “classics” to “sci-fi” and everything in between. They are very honest in their reviews, confessing they don’t even finish books they don’t enjoy. They were sweet to all say they liked The Golden Apple (I didn’t expect any of them to tell me any different to my face) but then they described the scenes that really stood out and I realized, they didn’t just like the story, they related to Poppy. Poppy’s grief and her struggle were real to them, it made them consider their own lives and how they would handle a great loss. Even though their lives are very different from Poppy’s they still related to her as a “person.”

“The more one judges, the less one loves.”
-Honore de Balzac

Sometimes, I think of The Golden Apple as my defunct “first child.” I love it and never regret it, but I sort of always think, “well, I’ll do better with the second. Maybe my second will be able to go to college.” I admit there are times when I feel a little embarrassed of The Golden Apple. I wrote it immediately after graduating from college and I feel the experience was one of tremendous growth and value. As a writer, I have developed and matured so much since then, it’s easy to feel like that first product was a little juvenile in its craft and I’m not as quick as I once was in declaring it proudly. I’ve fallen into Aristotle’s realization of “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know” and I know a lot more now, especially about craft, then I did two years ago. This knowledge occasionally leads me to set aside the accomplishment of my first novel, but after last night, I feel really proud again–I’ve fallen back in love.

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I worked hard on Poppy and Austin. I spent hours and hours each day, crafting and telling their story. I cried with them and stressed over Poppy’s dissonance and now I know, I’m not the only one. I’ve been considering a revision of my first novel and I still am but now it’s not about making it something I pereceive to be better because I’ve developed since its conception. It’s already good. Now, if I revise it will be to polish and refine what it already is with what I now know, not change it into something else.

“Do it for the love of it, first and foremost.”

-Kevin Sur

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