I starting calling myself an author when my debut novel got published, but honestly, I didn't feel like one. My book was published by a small press, now reviewers would give me the time of day, and when people asked me where they could buy it I could not point them to the nearest B&N or Borders, but online. To keep myself in check I kept reminding myself that before November of 2009, I was another person with a manuscript in the drawer waiting for someone to publish her. I had no right to feel sorry for myself because my debut was not a blockbuster worthy of Candice B. I chose to be grateful, yet still did not feel like an author.
A couple of months ago, a friend asked me if I would donate about a dozen books to a book club night that would be an auction item at her son's school. I agreed. The book club event was last night. The women who showed up were all mothers like me, as well as professionals. They were very gracious and interested in participating. Before we sat down for the discussion, there was wine and cheese and mingling. Since I am someone who prefers to sit alone in from of a computer and write, I did more wandering around than mingling. The weird thing for me was that as I moved through the clusters of women, (who were all holding my book) I heard them talking about it. "No, remember she gets fired from the job..." "Well, she doesn't exactly make up with her mother, but they accept each other..."
I thought, They're talking about my book the way I've heard people discussing books at other parties. It finally dawned on me, I wrote a book that people, for better or worse, will discuss and have opinions about. OMG, I'm an author.
The discussion was more about the process of writing a book and getting published, but a few people asked about why certain characters did certain things.
As the evening wound down, people came up to shake my hand and congratulate me on getting published as well as wish me luck. Someone said she was from Chicago and might know people who know Oprah. All in all it was a fun night and I even sold a book to someone who wanted to keep hers but send one to a friend. I signed it for her, since after all, I am the author.
Causes Lorraine Merkl Supports
The Legal Aid Society
The Inner-City Scholarship Fund