I'm a stay-at-home mother of two. Despite the insanity of my life, I always find time to read...it is my outlet and my passion. I also love to cook and appreciate a good glass (or bottle) of wine. If you would like to contact me, my e-mail is email@example.com.
During the four days spent at SIBA11, I met many authors and listened to even more of them speak about their books. Amongst them all, however, there were a few that made a distinct impression on me, or took time to talk with us. I'd like to dedicate this post to those authors.
1. Kadir Nelson - author of "Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans" (Harper Collins). Kadir seemed to me to be the definition of heart and soul as he spoke to us at our first lunch. Even though your first impression of him would be his devastating good looks, he exuded passion for telling the story of the African American people. He not only wrote this book, but his illustrations are stunning. Stay tuned for a review upcoming.
2. Wylie Cash - author of "A Land More Kind Than Home" (William Morrow). While we are on the topic of handsome good looks and charm, I have to mention Wylie. His debut novel, to be released May 2012, has been compared to the works of John Hart and Tom Franklin, and is a "literary thriller about the bond between two brothers and the evil they face in a small North Carolina town." That aside, he has a personality that is impossible not to love.
3. Jennifer Niven - authorof "Velva Jean Learns to Fly" (Penguin). I am intrigued by Jennifer's Velva Jean series about an independent heroine living during WWII. However, we learned while talking to her that she started her career by writing two non-fiction books ("The Ice Master" and "Ada Blackjack") about Arctic expeditions in the early 1900's. Looks like I'm going to have a Jennifer Niven project on my hands!
4. Alma Katsu - author of "The Taker" (Simon & Schuster). I read the book. It blew my mind. And I wondered what kind of woman came up with such a thing. I never in a million years would have imagined it would be this tiny lady with a wicked sense of humor and an aura that made you feel like she was one of your girlfriends you would meet for a drink after work. Alma talked to us about her previous work, the editing process of "The Taker" and of its sequel "The Reckoning" (she just started working on the final trilogy installment). If we didn't have to leave for another panel, I think we would have chatted for hours.
5. Susan McBride - author of "Little Black Dress" (William Morrow). I've never read any of Susan's books before, but hearing her speak and meeting her was like finding an old friend. She is a woman's woman, who has had hard knocks in her life (usually occurring while writing under a deadline!) and has come out victorious. She made us all laugh when she and Wylie Cash were talking about the benefits of stretch jeans, and what one can hide in them.
6. Tom Franklin - author of "Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter" (William Morrow). I don't know too many people who have not completely loved this book, including the people handing out awards. One of my book clubs was fortunate enough to talk to him over the phone, so we knew he was an incredibly nice guy, as well as humble and charming. But I got confirmation of all that when I met him right before the author auction. I was prepared to plunk down my kids' college fund to bid on him and take him to dinner, but we ultimately decided we needed to share.
Authors we bought at the auction: For the two years I've attended SIBA, they have featured The Writer's Auction Block where attendees are able to bid on an author and take them to dinner. Proceeds benefit a charitable organization supporting literacy. The four bloggers (Kathy, Swapna, Heather and myself) bid on three of them, and a fourth joined us as a bonus. Here were our dinner partners for the evening:
Wendy Wax - author of "Ten Beach Road" (Penguin)
Jim Minick - author of "The Blueberry Years" (Thomas Dunne)
Marybeth Whalen - author of "She Makes It Look Easy" (David C. Cook)
Lisa Patton - author of "Yankee Doodle Dixie" (Thomas Dunne)
Each one of these authors made it a special evening for us. They were gracious, and had dozens of hilarious stories about their lives and book publishing experiences. (I'm not telling...what happens at dinner stays at dinner.) We laughed uproariously as we drank beer and wine and ate delicious Southern food. We were sure that all the other authors must have been jealous because we did have the best table! It was nice for all of us to take off our blogging and writing hats and just have a good time.
Top left to right: Heather, Marybeth, Jim, Wendy
Bottom left to right: Swapna, Kathy, Me, Lisa
In my next SIBA update, coming next Monday, I'll talk about upcoming books that have my heart racing!