Thursday, January 16, 2020

Exposing Myself

I had to take a few days to recover and regroup, but I wanted to tell you all about my first-ever reading-and-discussion on Monday evening.

First of all, the photo here was on the door of the bookstore (Shakespeare & Co.) when I arrived with a few friends. My name. On a bookstore.


We were early, so I went upstairs to the mezzanine to look around. They had moved most of the tables, setting up 20 chairs and one table and chair at the railing for me. 20 chairs looked like a lot of chairs.

They had listed it as "Karen Heenan discusses and signs her book," and I wasn't sure at first what to discuss. I've never liked public speaking - in grade school and junior high I disliked it to the point where I had to hide in the bathroom so I wouldn't lose lunch in front of an audience - but a lot of that has, thankfully, faded.

It's good when you realize that you are no longer a terrified adolescent. Especially when you're 55.

One thing I've learned is that I also do better without a lot of prep. I made a few notes of things I wanted to cover, loaded the first chapter of Songbird onto my tablet in a font size that I could read without squinting, and just winged it.

The turnout ended up being 23 people - Mario and two late arrivals stood in the back - and I got through it without losing my voice, losing the thread, or losing my mind. Yay me! 

He's so cute. Also - I made his shirt and my
jacket, so Sewing Karen still exists!
I started by talking about my lifelong interest in the Tudor era, and a bit about the inspiration for the book. Then I read the first half of the first chapter - up to a good stopping point - and then took questions from the audience. Two friends had been primed to ask questions if there was silence, but there wasn't, and they didn't get to ask their questions until the end.

Someone brought a bottle of champagne, but she almost dropped it coming upstairs, so it went home with us to rest before opening. We drank it last night, which was our ninth anniversary, something else to celebrate.

I have another event scheduled at the end of the month - a reading and music combination at a friend's house - but my next bookstore event isn't until May. Hoping to schedule a couple of others before and after that, which means I need to stop typing and start emailing and calling around to see what can be set up.

Also, moving along quite well with the not-sequel to Songbird. Hoping to be able to talk more about that soon, but I don't want to jinx it until the first draft is done and it feels like a book.


Anonymous said...

You guys are so cute!
And your smile is so radiant!

Elizabeth L said...

So wish I could have been there! Congrats my friend!