Southern Hospitality

“Writing is…. being able to take something whole and fiercely alive that exists inside you in some unknowable combination of thought, feeling, physicality, and spirit, and to then store it like a genie in tense, tiny black symbols on a calm white page. If the wrong reader comes across the words, they will remain just words. But for the right readers, your vision blooms off the page and is absorbed into their minds like smoke, where it will re-form, whole and alive, fully adapted to its new environment.”” Mary Gaitskill

I am just back from meeting with a delightful group of women in Estero, Florida. I was invited by my cousin to talk about MacCullough’s Women with her book group. I had a great time and I hope they did as well.

Book Group Picture

Meeting with ladies from the book group in Estero, Florida

Writing is a lonely business. Most writers are racked with insecurity, especially those, like me, just starting out. We thrive on talking with our readers. It is a joy when someone “gets” the book or tells me that they love a certain character. This may surprise you, but I also feel very gratified when a reader tells me that they don’t like a character or are surprised or unhappy with an action that a character has taken. As a writer, I am trying to make my readers care about what they are reading. Their reactions don’t need to be positive to make me feel that I have been successful.

Every time I have talk with my readers, either at a signing or when meeting with a book group, I learn something. I am able to see my characters or an incident in the book in a new light because of what they tell me. The characters in MacCullough’s Women continue their stories in Francesca’s Foundlings, the second book in the Lynton Series. Readers’ insights, comments and suggestions have helped me clarify some of the actions in the next book in the series.

I want to thank the Estero ladies for being so welcoming. I loved southwest Florida. Of course, I had been to Disney World – I am an American mother, after all – but I had never really seen Florida. It was so beautiful. I have to go back again because everyone talked about “her” alligators (Alligators!) One lady told me she had an alligator sunning himself (or herself) in the driveway yesterday morning. All I ever see are some very loud gray squirrels in my icy driveway.


Florida Lilies