I am so excited to finally announce that the project Cindy and I have been talking about for a couple of years is finally taking shape.
Thanks to the enthusiasm and support of Becky Anderson, owner of Anderson's Bookshop in our hometown of Naperville, on Monday I will be hosting the first ever event for the Writers Railroad: A Salon at Anderson's featuring my friend Debra Dean, author of The Madonnas of Leningrad and her new book, The Mirrored World.
We had the idea for Writers Railroad after seeing book tour budgets being slashed or eliminated and realizing how many writer pals we know that we want to introduce to readers we know. I'm looking at this as a pay-it-forward type of thing: I want this to be a way for more established writers to help out up-and-coming (or under-appreciated) writers. In theory, we'd be creating an "underground network" of writers passing on other writers to different cities and different readers. No co-op, no reading fees, no PR blitz. My promise to attendees is I will bring you incredible writers and you should trust me. My promise to the participating author is dinner, a fun event and a chance to introduce yourself to new readers.
We talked about doing this a couple of years ago and were overwhelmed with the enthusiastic response. We've been wrestling ever since with how to put it all in place. But with Becky's encouragement, I'm going to take the plunge now and we'll work on details as the Writers Railroad gets established. Anderson's graphic designer Larry Law came up with a dynamite logo and when Debra said she was going to be in the area and was looking for a reading opportunity, I thought she was the perfect author to showcase for our first time out.
My plan in Naperville is to hold a Salon at Anderson's every couple of months. I know we have an incredibly vibrant and active book club and literary community here and I feel confident we can get a nice crowd. But from here, I want to expand the Writer Railroad. Not exactly sure how just yet, but I'm working on it. My dream would be to have a "station master" in as many cities as possible. If the station master has a close relationship with an independent bookstore and could host there, that is perfect! But maybe a station master would prefer a more intimate environment and wants to host a book party at home. That would be OK, too.
We'll print up buttons and t-shirts. Bookmarks. Stickers. I don't know! It'll be awesome, though.
So plans are afoot and if you are interested, you know how to reach me. We'll be launching a facebook page and twitter account this weekend.
I think this will be so much fun. I hope you do, too!
Book club members have been some of my most enthusiastic and careful readers. I’m thrilled to share my work with you, answer your questions and tell you some of the stories behind the stories. This is our spot, just for us. Here, we can chat: If I’m nearby, I’ll come and visit your club. Otherwise, we can Skype, talk over the phone or email. Sometimes, I’ll send surprises or hold contests.
Reading and talk at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Details here.
Proud to be part of the prestigious series in a reading with Laila Lalami and Shobha Rao. Tickets and details here.
Celebrating the NEA Big Read and Into the Beautiful North in Holyoke, MA. Sponsored by the Mary Lyon Foundation, Holyoke has done some great events all year. Now we get to meet each other! Details here.
Details to come