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Romance Author Booksignings: April and Beyond

Earlier this month I attended a booksigning by one of my favorite historical mystery authors, Jacqueline Winspear, the author of the popular Maisie Dobbs series. If you haven’t heard about the series and like mysteries set in post-World War I England, you can check out Ellen’s DIK review of the first in the series here at AAR.

The booksigning was held at one of the larger independent bookstores in town. I arrived nearly 30 minutes early and planned to browse before the event. My plans changed when I discovered that nearly every seat in the place (over 100) was already filled with people. I quickly snagged a copy of her book and sat down. By the time Ms. Winspear arrived, people were sitting on the floor and standing wherever possible.

Although I’ve read the entire series, I really knew nothing about Ms. Winspear until this event. I was pleased when she announced that rather than doing a reading from the new book, she would tell us a little about how she came to write the series. Originally from England, Ms. Winspear’s grandfather was shell-shocked in World War I. Even as a little girl she was fascinated by English history from 1913-1950, and in particular, with the history of women during that period.

The idea for the series came to her in what she describes as a “moment of artistic grace.” Stuck in traffic in the pouring rain on her way to work, Maisie Dobbs appeared to her in full 1920s dress in what would eventually become the opening scene of the first book.

Ms. Winspear talked a lot about the lives of the women who were teenagers and young adults from 1914-1918. So many of their fiancés, husbands, and brothers were killed or seriously injured in the war that their prospects were never the same. Plans for marriage and children were forever ended for a large number of these women. Ms. Winspear said that she “wanted to do right by that generation of women.”

Ms. Winspear reads extensively about the time period, including both fiction and nonfiction. She obtained a syllabus from the college Maisie attended so that she could give her the right background. She told us about how women of all ages were used in the war effort and noted that the government found Girl Guides to be more reliable couriers than Boy Scouts, as the boys would get too distracted.  Ms. Winspear commented that reading fiction written during that time helps her “get the voice” for the period. However, she noted that she is a story writer first and foremost, and that the research must support the story but never overwhelm it.

Listening to Ms. Winspear talk sharpened my interest in the time period. I finished her latest Maisie Dobbs – A Lesson in Secrets – within days of attending the signing and am now searching for other post-World War I mysteries or romances. I go to a lot of booksignings, but this was truly one of the most memorable I’ve attended. And I hope that in the list below there’s a similar gem close by where one of you lives.

I’ve found a number of romance author booksignings in the coming months, but as always, I could use your help. Do you know of any authors who are coming to your home town? If so, please let us know about it. If you know of any events that we missed between now and mid-May, please post them in the comments section. If you know of any events occurring after mid-May, please send them to us at aarbooksign  AT gmail.com and we’ll add them to our mid-May post.

Disclaimer: I found these signings by extensive web searches of both author and bookseller Web sites. They all appear to be free, but please contact the bookstore before you attend an event for additional information. And please let us know if you do attend a booksigning, and how you liked it. A few of the authors on the list aren’t strictly romance authors, but have either been reviewed at AAR in the past, or have appeared in AAR forum discussions.

Upcoming Booksignings: April and beyond:

Kelly Armstrong, April 23, Coles, 1:30 p.m., Argyle Mall, London, ON (other events on the author’s Web site including Alpharetta, GA, and Toronto).

Meg Cabot, April 27, Barnes & Noble, 7:00 p.m., 1430 Plaza Place, Southlake, TX (other signing at the B&N site in Alpharetta, GA).

Molly Jong-Fast, April 27, Barnes & Noble, 7:00 p.m., 150 East 86th St., New York, NY.

Nora Roberts, Kristan Higgins, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Sophia Nash, and many more authors, April 29, Turn the Page Bookstore, 11:30 p.m.,  18 N. Main St., Boonsboro, MD.

Carola Dunn, April 30, Seattle Mystery Bookshop, 12:00 p.m., 117 Cherry St., Seattle, WA.

Debbie Macomber, May 2, Barnes & Noble, 7:00 p.m., 2900 Peachtree Rd., N.E., Atlanta, GA (other signing at the B&N site in The Villages, FL).

Sherrilyn Kenyon, May 3, Barnes & Noble, 7:00 p.m., 567 North Stephanie, Henderson, NV (other signings at the B&N site including Oakbrook, IL, Arlington, VA, and Glendale, CO).

Diane Chamberlain, May 3, Quail Ridge Books, 7:30 p.m., Raleigh, NC.  (other signings on the author’s Web site including Wilmington and Charlotte, NC).

Jen Lancaster, May 3, Barnes & Noble, 6:30 p.m., 555 12th St. NW, Washington, DC (other signings at the author’s Web site including Richmond, VA, Dallas, TX, and Philadelphia, PA).

Wendy Wax and Karen White, May 4, FoxTale Book Shop, 7:00 p.m., 105 East Main St., Woodstock, GA (other events on the author’s Web site including Marietta and Roswell, GA and St. Pete Beach, FL).

Kate Carlisle, Avery Aames, Jenn McKinlay, and Beth Kendrick, May 4, The Poisoned Pen, 7:00 p.m., 4014 N Goldwater Blvd. Suite 101, Scottsdale, AZ.

Jane Porter, May 5, Kenosha Public Library, TBA, 7979 38th Ave., Kenosha, WI.

Colleen Gleason, May 5, Barnes & Noble, 7:00 p.m., Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, MI (other events on the author’s Web site including New York and Grand Rapids, MI).

Leanna Renee Hieber, May 5, Barnes & Noble, 7:00 p.m., 9455 Civic Center Blvd, West Chester, OH.

Anne Easter Smith, May 6, Jabberwocky Bookshop, 7:00 p.m., 50 Water Street, Newburyport, MA (other events at the author’s Web site including Burlington and Ipswich, MA and Glen Falls, NY).

Therese Fowler, May 7, McIntyre’s Books, 2:00 p.m., Pittsboro, NC (other events on the author’s Web site including Denver, CO and Raleigh, NC).

Carolyn Hart, May 8, The Poisoned Pen, 1:00 p.m.,  4014 N Goldwater Blvd. Suite 101, Scottsdale, AZ

Jennifer Weiner, May 10, Barnes & Noble, 7:00 p.m., 301 Main St., Exton, PA.

Jennifer Haigh, May 13, Next Chapter Bookshop, 7:00 p.m., 10976 N. Port Washington Road, Mequon, WI (other events on the author’s Web site including Bethesda, MD, Naperville, IL, and Denver, CO).

Megan Kelly and Eileen Dryer, May 14, Rose’s Bookhouse, 12:00 p.m., 8935 Veteran’s Memorial Parkway, O’Fallon, MO.

Molly Harper, May 14, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, 2:00 p.m., 161 Lexington Green Cir # B, Lexington, KY .

Barbara Ashford, May 14, Barnes & Noble, 2:00 p.m., Town Square Mall, 2443 Vestal Parkway, East Vestal, NY (other signings on the author’s Web site including Colonie and New Rochelle, NY).

Charlaine Harris, May 15, Barnes & Noble, 3:00 p.m., 14709 U.S. Highway 31, North Carmel, IN (other signing at the B&N site in New York, NY).

Sandra Dallas, May 17, Bookworm, 6:00 p.m., 8702 Pacific St., Omaha, NB (other signings at the author’s Web site including Denver and Fort Collins, CO and Oak Brook, IL).

Laura Dave and Emily Giffin, May 19, Barnes & Noble, 7:00 p.m., 2900 Peachtree Road, Atlanta, GA (other events on Laura Dave’s Web site including Greenwich, CT and New York, NY).

Lynn Sheene, May 22, May 22, Bookworks, 3:00 p.m., Albuquerque, NM (other signings on the author’s Web site including Pasadena and Santa Barbara, CA and Houston, TX).

Julia Quinn, Elizabeth Boyle, and Stefanie Sloane, May 31, Third Place Books, 7:00 p.m., 17171 Bothell Way NE, Lake Forest Park, WA (other events on Julia Quinn’s Web site in Beaverton, OR and Silverdale, WA).

Mary Kay Andrews, June 7, Barnes & Noble, 7:00 p.m., 2900 Peachtree Road NE Suite 310, Atlanta, GA (other event in Mt. Pleasant, SC at the Barnes & Noble Web site).

Rachel Gibson and Julia Quinn, June 12, Borders, 3:00 p.m., 965 West Bethany Drive, Allen, TX.

Joshilyn Jackson, June 14, Bookmiser, 7:00 p.m., 3822 Roswell Rd., Marietta, Georgia.Nancy Thayer, June 23, Odyssey Bookshop, 7:00 p.m., South Hadley, MA.

– LinnieGayl AAR


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David Russell
David Russell
05/06/2011 8:42 am

My novella ‘Self’s Blossom’ (Devine Destinies) has recently had a nice review in Miz Loves Books. Is anyone interested in knowing more? A romantic, erotic tale of a vivid portrayal of the quest for the inner truth, empowerment and sexual liberation of Selene, a woman searching for primeval abandon and reckless adventure. Intelligent, a university graduate and a successful careerist, Selene became emotionally scarred by unhappy relationships. Riled and taunted through the years by her former college roommate Janice, Selene gave in to the long-term desire to ‘get one back’ at Janice by having a passionate holiday encounter. First off, I’d like to make it clear to readers that Selene, for me, didn’t come across as the usual romance heroine. If you expect to like her a lot, you may be disappointed. I, however, loved her because she isn’t your usual romance heroine. I saw her as conceited, vain, totally self-absorbed, and a pure delight for being this way. She knows she looks good, knows her workouts have given her a body most women would envy, and the kind of woman she is was portrayed perfectly with this line: Selene had a far better body than the mousy little model in the photograph. While this isn’t something you might expect a romance heroine to think of herself, I loved it because she was made real by Mr Russell creating her this way. We have all thought things like this, perhaps not about our bodies, but about other things—I have a nicer hairstyle than her…I have a better car than her…I have prettier eyes than her—and Selene’s inner thoughts, of which there are many, gave me a glimpse into one of the realest women I’ve ever read. She was human, with, in my opinion, many flaws that might make her distasteful to some, but by God, she riveted me with her self-absorption and brutal honesty. She goes on holiday alone, and I liked the way the book showed what was happening now but also took me into her mind, showing me memories and why she acted the way she did. I didn’t feel any sympathy for her at any time, just accepted she is like she is and let myself be sucked in by the way she thinks and acts. She’s a breath of fresh air, a person who has the courage to say what she thinks and damn the consequences, and also to think what she does with no remorse whatsoever. The writing is very good, a touch of literary with an almost languid air to it that gives you the feeling it is slow-paced but it actually isn’t. I think it’s the dreamy state it gives you that creates that slow-moving feeling, and this is not a negative in any way. I loved the way it coasted along like that, where her thoughts and memories came into play and showed me Selene’s psyche. It’s a delve into the mind and life of a woman who knows what she wants and plots to get it. Although she plots, it never came across as malicious plotting. She went on holiday to meet someone, to ensnare them and have glorious sex with them—she makes that clear right from the start—and she is going to get it. She has a sexual encounter on the beach with a young man—not in her plan at all because it didn’t play out quite as she envisaged—and she knew it was wrong. Not wrong that she had sex, but wrong for her, for her plan, and she walks away afterwards knowing the man is distraught she has gone but…oh, she’s so blasé in that she shrugs it off somewhat and continues on her original mission. She meets Hudson, and here is where her plan comes fully into play. She is a manipulator, a master at it, in my opinion, and I adored watching her plan unfold, loved knowing what the next step would be and how she would make things go her way. Selene is, quite simply, not someone I would wish to know in real life, but I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her in fiction. …and make sure it’s your side of the slice that gets the butter. Half asleep, she pondered on the aura she projected. She knew how good her body was, toned up by lots of squash and swimming at her health club. It was essential for her to have some comparables, some implicit rivals around… After it, before it, through it,… Read more »

04/22/2011 6:00 am

Thanks, Lee, Tinabelle, and Leigh.

Tinabelle, I love turning people on to the wonderful Amelia Peabody series. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. The Maisie Dobbs books are very different from those, but are simply wonderful. I hope you like them.

Leigh, I’ll be curious to know what you think about the first book when you finish.

Leigh AAR
Leigh AAR
04/21/2011 5:23 pm

I have the first book in my TBR pile. I think it is great that you were able to go a book signing of one of your favorite authors.

04/21/2011 9:35 am

I enjoyed learning more about Ms. Windspear. This series has been popping up on a lot of sites I frequent and I am intrigued. You turned me on to Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody series and I am forever grateful so I am definitely going to follow your lead on this series, too. I love historical mysteries and this one sounds right up my alley. Thanks for sharing.

04/21/2011 8:58 am

Thanks for sharing your experience at Ms. Winspear’s book signing. It’s always interesting to find out what inspires authors to create their stories.