Where did you spend your Saturday afternoon?

Where did you spend your Saturday afternoon?

I spent mine at the Scotts Valley Library, where I did an author talk about my book, Five Hundred Moons.

It was attended by thirty people if you count Jennie and me—not bad for a first-time talk. I knew half of the attendees. Nerves were a bit of an issue in the beginning, but they soon dissipated and things flowed smoothly enough. There was one senior moment where I lost my train of thought, but the blank was filled in thanks to some notes I’d prepared.

I spent the first half hour talking about my life; hopefully, it didn’t come across as an early obituary. I’m definitely not a comedian, but I did get a few laughs.

I expanded on my writing process, the development of my story, and the never-ending research that I did. Platitudes were given to my wonderful editor, who really put the much-needed finishing touches to the manuscript. I related the story of how blown away I was when I received the first real copy of my book. It was a surreal experience, plus the fact that it was so huge. So big in fact that Nadene cut it into three pieces so she could manage it when she read it in bed! I asked her to hold up her tri-copy in front of the audience, which she obliged.
As with my talk to Watsonville Rotary, I called on people to give me a number between 1 and 800 so I could read some excerpts. It didn’t go over all that well as the first two readings were probably the two driest passages in the entire novel! After that, I cheated a bit and found some good paragraphs that perhaps didn’t appear on the exact pages called out, but they were close enough.
The last fifteen minutes included a lively question-and-answer period. This was by far the most enjoyable part. Questions were thoughtful and wide-ranging. We discussed the complex behavior of Father Serra and the importance of judging him in the context of his era, while at the same time being critical of such behavior through our current sensibilities. One person asked me about a second book. Another asked if there were any living descendants of the Ohlone still in the area. There was a query about writer’s block and the inevitable questions about marketing and getting my book published. The hour certainly flew by.

Afterward, I stuck around for a bit to sign books and engage in some one-on-one conversations.

Hugs were freely given to my friends and big thanks for coming to the event; sacrificing a beautiful late Saturday afternoon to attend and hear some obscure writer talk about his relatively unknown novel is way above the call of duty.

To cap off the evening, my cousin came by the house afterward where we shared some vino, shrimp, cheese, and crackers and the good times had over all the years growing up together.

Photos by Jennie Anderson

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