Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Janet Lambert for grownups!

Tonight I went to a booksigning at Barnes & Noble for a local author I really enjoy, Suzanne Brockmann, and it was a fun event. When I first started reading her books, she was making a move from Bantam's Loveswept line but is now a very successful NYT bestselling author for Ballantine. She writes romantic suspense about a group of Navy Seals (which even she acknowledges is an unusual concept) and in several was able to mix historical and contemporary events by very skillful use of flashbacks (I thought those were some of her best books). There were lots of questions from the audience. I commented that her most interesting and unusual character Gina had been introduced in a relatively early book yet readers had to wait a long time for her to get her own story in Breaking Point. Her answer, which I liked, was that because Gina had gone through such trauma initially that it would have been unrealistic and simplistic to give her a happy ending right away so she let time pass (with her characters, not just forcing her readers to wait). What I didn't tell Suzanne was that I still haven't read that one - I was almost afraid it wouldn't live up to expectations so was waiting for the right moment! However, when I heard tonight that Force of Nature was her 44th book I realized I am missing quite a few. Perhaps I need to go back to the beginning and read chronologically. It was a pity not to be accompanied by Julie Naughton, who is an even bigger fan than I am.

I had not previously been to this particular B&N although it is only about 35 minutes from my house. It may be the largest in the Boston area, spacious, attractive and relatively new. There was a good crowd in attendance, all very friendly and enthusiastic, taking their cue from Suzanne who is just as nice as my friend Gilly, who used to be her publicist at Random House (and doubtless deserves much credit for her sales), had said, and signed several of my hardcovers from home as well as the new book. It felt a bit odd being a spectator instead of "working" the event as I did for so many years. The B&N event manager was extremely competent and pleasant (we discussed Bridget Moynahan's mysterious due date, among other things) and told me she is expecting a huge crowd on 9/11 for Stephenie Meyer's new vampire book. I did enjoy the first one (Twilight, which I read on a plane to Rome) but felt the last 25% of the book was too rushed. I didn't feel any urgency about reading the second one and my sister said it wasn't as good, anyway. Maybe sometime!

Suzanne Brockmann and I (not sure why we are leaning forward!)

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