It was so great to see many, many authors and readers wandering around the Oregon Convention Center today. I spent a lot of time at the Espresso Book Machine booth, and then wandering around the booths, chatting with other exhibitors.
The one reading I heard featured two amazing authors–Kim Barnes and Pauls Toutonghi. I actually intended to go to a panel on marketing, “Getting the Word Out: Self Marketing,” featuring Dave Weich, April Henry and Kevin Emerson. I had the great pleasure of meeting Dave right before his appearance, and he asked me some great questions about using technology in publishing through the Espresso Book Machine. He said he might incorporate some of my answers in his appearance! Which was amazing. And then I found the right room a minute or two before the panel started. I had a great spot to stand in the back, but then the organizers checked and found out nobody could stand due to fire code.
But that’s okay, because before I met Dave, I had been planning to go hear Pauls and Kim speak. I’m enchanted by Pauls’ method of writing without looking at his computer monitor. (I know this because Jeff Baker profiled him in the Oregonian a few months ago).
Kim read from her new novel, In the Kingdom of Men. During the Q and A session, she mentioned bestselling author Selden Edwards telling her she didn’t have to go to Saudi Arabia in order to write about it. Selden reminded her 1960s Saudi Arabia doesn’t exist any more.
“I took that to heart and really did try to depend on the memories and observations of people who were there at the time,” Kim said.
I knew, at the mention of Selden Edwards, who is one of the most inspiring people I know (see the Seven Questions interview I did with him in August), that I had found my way to the right place after all.
To continue with the place theme, Pauls said he knew he wanted to write about Cairo and Butte, Montana. He wanted to create a character who would be challenged by Cairo.
“Setting is a big part of fiction–for me and the way that I write–and I really wanted to bridge those two places,” he said.
Both authors spent five years writing their novels. I love to hear that, as someone who is just beginning year three on my comic historical romp about music boxes, lace and a fainting pimp.
It was also amazing–and I was totally starstruck–to say hello to Kim and Pauls after the event. I wasn’t fast enough to buy their books so they could sign them, but they’re definitely on my to-read list after hearing the excerpts they read.