Tuesday night I visited the Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta to hear Jill McCorkle, who is on a book tour to promote her most recent novel, Life After Life. In case you missed my review, I absolutely loved the book. I'm always fascinated when an author can skillfully create so many voices in one book. I don't think I could ever keep all that straight.
I think books really come alive when they're read by their authors. McCorkle read from several passages, covering three or four voices at various places in the novel, giving those in the audience who haven't yet read the novel some background information and then intimate looks at several characters.
She took questions after she read her selections. That's also something I think is very brave. Opening up the floor to questions from strangers who love your work has to be a little nerve-racking. I remember a couple years ago I went to hear Frances Mayes talk. When she took questions, a woman went off on a tangent and practically invited herself to vacation with Mayes at her Italian home. Mayes graciously deflected by diverting our attention to other related topic. She was poised and handled it very well.
McCorkle didn't have any weird questions like that, but it was still fascinating to hear the questions she was asked and how she answered them. Some of those questions, like what inspired her to write the book and what her writing process is like, she's probably gotten a million times before, but other unusual questions still got an interesting answer.
I chatted it up with the woman sitting next to me who had not yet read the book. For all of you like her who haven't read it yet, do. It's wonderful.