The challenge for authors required to do their own book promotion, which is most of us, is to find a way to reach readers directly. But at this point in life, I can't pretend to be someone I'm not, and so I came up with the idea of meeting small groups, in neighbourhood cafés or independent bookstores, presenting the book, You Again, and then inviting people to relate to my novel's themes by telling their own stories. I don't know how this will work. One person I invited said she didn't think people would want to publicly reveal their thoughts about mother/daughter relationships; another invitee confessed that she might be too shy to speak in a crowd, even a small crowd. It could be a very small crowd, a handful of people. That would be fine, and if people would prefer to listen rather than talk, that's fine too. But I want to say how writing for me is a way of thinking about things. In fiction the thought process develops, usually unconsciously, through stories employing scenes that show, in this case, the complexity of the relationships between mothers and daughters, sisters and sisters.
Beyond that, I deal with identity. At the beginning, when I first conceived the character and her life for Shinny's Girls, I wondered, what do Shinny's daughters, each from a different father, have in common as sisters? Well of course they have Shinny, and the shared experience of growing up with a single mother, and all that implied in the 70s and 80s, including a judgemental society and, almost always, very low incomes. It was a different world, but we were further along than when my grandmother lived as a single mother, with all the shame I fear she may have felt in the early 1900's.
I hope people will engage with me in a dialogue about these things, and others that come up in the book, including the sub-plot concerning Shinny's grandson Mattie and his escape from a ring of identity thieves.
A wonderful cover from Stephen (p0ps) Harlow; free coffee from the excellent roasters, Strait Coffee; a free book draw... how can I miss?