Twenty other authors and I sat behind tables covered with colorful cloths and plants, candy in dishes and strong stubborn wishes that visitors would want to buy and read our books.
As a writer, I wanted to hide behind the stacks of library books behind me. But as an author, I stood tall and smiled tremulously, feeling like Sally Field before she got her Oscar, thinking “Please Like Me (my books), really really Like Me (my books).”
Local shoppers passed by each of our tables with averted eyes, stopping mostly at those selling children’s books. My tablemate wrote and published a delightful illustrated children’s book on bird watching, Look Up!, so I got some of her trickle down visitors.
One woman stopped in front of my table and said, “Romance? You write Romance?” (with a slight sneer).
“No, I write romantic suspense. More suspense than romance,” I explained much too defensively.
The woman shook her head. “Uh huh… you look like a romance writer.”
I’d like to have taken the statement as a compliment, but it wasn’t given as such.
I gulped my reply to her, and my tablemate broke in sweetly, adding, “Yes! Just like Kathleen Turner in Romancing the Stone! You know, where she writes romance novels but ends up getting involved in a lot of suspense.”
The woman-who-doesn’t-like-romance stared at my new friend as if she appeared out of dark magic.
I laughed and then gave my little lecture (which my friends and family have heard way too many times): “mainstream male authors, like Lee Child or James Patterson or David Baldacci, include a love interest in their suspense novels, yet not once are their books called ‘romances.’ My books are suspense with a love story intertwined.”
The woman sniffed and walked away. So, she didn’t like me/my books. That’s okay. Many other shoppers bravely stopped by and decided I looked like a ….writer….and they bought copies of The Right Wrong Man and Twin Desires.
In response to the great idea of “Shop Local, Read Local,” and since we all live locally, somewhere, my two books are on special sale in Amazon (softback or e-book) for all “local” readers, wherever you may live.