Kate Flora: Last week was a busy one. Along with closing up our cottage for the winter,
there was the book launch for Shots Fired on Thursday, and then I spent the weekend at a craft fair in Waterville with Barbara Ross and Lea Wait. Doing any book event with fellow writers is fun, because it gives us a chance to catch up–and Maine crime writers tend to be good friends. We talk about agents and editors, about plotting, and writing schedules, and where in the process we are, and sometimes other authors will drop in to chat, as Kathy Lynn Emerson/Kaitlyn Dunnett did on Saturday.
Doing a book with event with authors who have series mysteries with nicely matched covers and an appealing price point when my trade paper books are more expensive and have a mishmash of cover styles? Well, that’s more like being the clumsy kid who hopes to not be the last one picked for a team. This is especially hard when so many people are devouring their series books.
Despite my many years in the writing biz, I have never successfully conquered my Eeyore tendencies. You may find this hard to believe, but I am still amazed when someone looks at my array of books, points to them one by one, and says, “I’ve read this, and this, and this, and I’m waiting for you to write some more.” I am always tempted at that point to flee from the table, jump in my car, and head back to my office so I can give my readers what they want.
It’s even more amazing when someone has read all of my nonfiction–Finding Amy, Death Dealer, and A Good Man with a Dog and can discuss them in detail. But that happened on Sunday. So, even though I didn’t have it out on display, one woman knew so much about my work that I pulled out a copy of Shots Fired and showed her that. “I want it. I will definitely buy it.” And she actually went home to get some money. Obviously, this Eeyore was smiling.
As a female writer, even one who writes books as dark and gritty as the Joe Burgess
police procedurals, I still expect that most of my readers will be female. I’ve even joked that I should have changed my name before publishing the Burgess books, since statistics show that male readers are more likely to limit their reading to books by men. But cops who’ve read the Burgess series say they think I understand the cop’s life better than some cops they know, so when a guy is browsing the table, I tend to steer him toward the Burgess books.
But, in yet another in a lifetime of lessons about not making assumptions about people, on Sunday a couple approached and looked at my books and asked if I was really Kate Flora. Eeyore admitted that she was, and the woman said that her husband was devouring my Thea Kozak series. He was as excited to meet the author as I was to meet the reader. (I wish I’d taken his picture, but he’s shy…) So he went away with a copy of A Good Man with a Dog, and I was left smiling. He goes in the “what a great guy” column along with the guy at a signing a few years ago who shyly told me that his wife had given him permission to date Thea.
So, for those of you out there who may think that you’re annoying authors by sending them e-mails or remarking on Facebook or Twitter that you’re loving their books–you are NOT annoying. You are giving your favorite author a much appreciated gift. We love photos of you with our books, like this one of Miramichi, New Brunswick Deputy Chief Brian Cummings with his copy of Shots Fired.
And now, for one of you who comments on this post, I have a gift for you–a bundle of three Level Best Crime story anthologies, a pumpkin cookie cutter, and the very special, reusable bag with the Kate Flora logo.