This was a week of Raleigh author get-togethers. After my night out with the guys on Tuesday, I went on Thursday to a very different kind of meal and gathering - lunch at The Grape with North Carolina mystery goddesses: Sarah Shaber, who writes the Professor Simon Shaw mystery series; Kathy Trobeck, who channels Southern charm and humor as Mary Kay Andrews; Brenda Witchger, who writes mystery and southern fiction as Brynn Bonner; RITA award-winner Diane Chamberlain, who's also new to town and the group; the great Margaret Maron, who needs no introduction (but writes the fantastic Deborah Knott mystery series), and legendary bookseller Nancy Olson, owner of the fabulous Quail Ridge Books and Music (who's already invited me to do a signing for The Harrowing, Tuesday, Sept. 12 at 7 p.m.).
I have been a huge fan of Margaret's since I discovered Bootlegger's Daughter and it's just amazing to me that I am suddenly part of this monthly lunch circle - it's really like being invited to tea with royalty. That is, tea... with a big splash of bootleg whiskey - because these women are just about as far as you can get from sedate. Gracious, yes, and graceful - I really meant it when I said "royalty" - but also wry, witty, wicked - all those W words.
It is just so lovely to have this level of authorial companionship and very touching to me how they've welcomed me into their group when I'm so far from home - so - Southern, really - just as if I were a new young bride (all right, I'm neither young nor a bride, but that's how it FEELS, okay?)
We talk about our books and our publishers and our tours and the South, and they laugh at me when I try to say y'all with a straight face. It's such a window for me into a different universe - and I am so privileged to have these incredible guides for my parallel journeys into the South and into the book world.
I came out of the lunch with one of Brenda's sons (to do my Blog site, I mean!) and a HUGE bag of pears from Margaret's staggeringly prolific trees.
Pears from Margaret Maron. Now THAT - is cool.