Random Sightings, Connections and Book Group Skypes

A terrific looking woman caught reading Chanel Bonfire in Grand Central Station.
As the publication date for my book came closer, I began to realize that I was about to expose myself and my life to many (if I was lucky) complete strangers as well as people who knew me or had known me and yet did not know very much about my childhood.  It’s not that I didn’t realize what I was doing as I wrote the book; I just didn’t realize how completely exposed I might feel.  
And when the book was published in January and people began to read it, I did hear a lot of expected responses: I had know idea, You seemed so normal, I did wonder…, I had the same experience, My mother too was insane, I’m glad you wrote this, I don’t feel so alone.  What I didn’t expect were the little joys of random sightings of the book and people reading the book.  Friends and strangers started sending pictures of the book in airports and bookstores and peoples hands like the one above (Sent by my step-sister Mary while she was on a long weekend trip to New York from her home in Detroit.).  I also did not expect the heartfelt praise and gratitude from readers who had also had difficult childhoods and nowhere to turn, or the reconnections with some people who knew me as a kid or are characters in the book.  
I like hearing from readers — their reactions to the book, their own stories.  One of the most fun things I’ve been doing is Skyping with Book Groups.  These Skype sessions are even better than book tour and book store readings and events because they’re so much more intimate.  People always have questions or ideas I’ve never thought of.  And they like hearing stories which, for narrative reasons, I had to leave out of the book.  In a way I suppose these Skypes are like the director’s commentary in the special features section of dvds.  Often I get to hear stories from people in the groups too which I would never get to do at a book store.
So if your Book Group is reading Chanel and would like to get together, please email me at chanelbonfire@gmail.com and we can set up a Skype Chat.

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