Since my linked short story collection (In an Uncharted Country) came out in September 2009, I have enjoyed making appearances at bookstores and libraries and schools to talk about the book and about short stories in general. It's been a lot of fun and I have quite a few appearances scheduled over the next few months.
But this week, for the second time, I visited a book club that had chosen my book to discuss. The first time, shortly after publication, was also a lot of fun--good food and wine contributed to that--but I was a little stunned to be sitting in a room where listening to people talk about the book and, to a lesser extent, about me. This time the food and wine were also great, but I was a little more prepared to hear the book club members talk about my stories and characters, and to hear reactions that were surprisingly different. "The Clattering of Bones" made one member cry (it's about, in part, an injured animal). "William & Frederick" made everyone laugh (I read a few pages of that story to the group and was gratified by chuckles and guffaws). And in many of the stories the members recognized, or thought they recognized, people or places in our area.
It was a lively discussion and I had a great time. I hope there will be opportunities for more visits to book clubs -- either in person or on the telephone, as some writers do.