I spent a wonderful afternoon with members of the Carroll County Chapter of the Maryland Writers’ Association. Hosted by the Finksburg Branch of the Carroll County Public Library, we talked about “Crafting Characters that Take on a Life of Their Own.” Thank you, Joelle Jarvis, president of the chapter, for the invitation, as well as everyone who came to hear me speak. I so appreciate your time and the warm and attentive reception you gave me.
To: Donna Drew Sawyer, Author of Provenance: A Novel
Subject: “Provenance” has been selected for the Go On Girl Book Club reading list
It is our pleasure to inform you that your book, “Provenance” has been chosen as our May 2017 reading selection in our Novel category.
That email arrived last November, from the Reading List Chair and the Author Correspondent for the Go On Girl! Book Club. With over 30 chapters in 16 states from California to the Nation’s Capital, Go On Girl (GOG), is one of the largest national organizations dedicated to supporting African-American authors. Every year they choose just 12 authors to read, discuss, review and champion. This year I was honored to be one of them.
Throughout May and into June, I was lucky enough to sit in on GOG book club meetings with chapters from across the country, from California to Maryland/DC right in my backyard. College-educated African American women buy and read more books than any other demographic group and the women in GOG epitomize this audience of engaged and impressive women readers. It was such a joy to talk with them—as an author I gained insight into my writing and got to see firsthand how the characters and story I created resonates with readers. They all hated Charlotte, loved Hank and worried about Lance. They embraced the historical figures that I intertwined with my fictional characters and I was thrilled when several GOG readers told me they did additional research on Belle da Costa Greene and Eugene Bullard.
I thank all of the Go On Girl chapters across the country for reading my book and especially the chapters I was fortunate to talk with for sharing their enthusiasm about Provenance. A special thank you to everyone who wrote reviews on Amazon and Goodreads—those reviews are manna for an author.
My time as the Go On Girl Book Club reading selection has been an honor. Thank You!
First, I must thank my wonderful family and great friends, as well as the book-lovers and dedicated volunteers who, despite the relentless rain, were there to support the 2016 Gaithersburg Book Festival. A very special thanks to my friend, Maryetta, who braved I-95 and drove down from New Jersey for the event. Thank you, thank you, thank you one and all!
This was my first time as a featured author at the Festival and I had a great time connecting with readers and other authors. As a fiction writer I spend a lot of time alone making up people and their stories so, it’s exceptional when you have the opportunity to get out and experience how your writing resonates with real people. I met a woman whose daughter sent her a copy of Provenance. This woman flew in from the Midwest to meet me at the Festival so that I could sign her copy of my book. She told me that she thought the book was important, that she had learned about passing, a part of the African American experience that she knew nothing about. She thanked me for writing such a beautiful book; that was pretty special, so I thanked her too.
I think writers, by nature, are not all that comfortable talking about themselves or their books, I know that’s true for me. I also know that meeting and interacting with readers is a vital part of being of being published and I’m working on getting more comfortable with that aspect of being an author. I’m hard at work on the next book in the Provenance series so the interest and enthusiasm I experienced that day will help me stay the course with Promise. If my experience at Gaithersburg Book Festival is an example what’s to come, I think I’m going to like this author thing!
If you weren’t able to make it to this year’s Festival, I’ve posted a brief video from my presentation (if you listen closely you can hear the raindrops cascading on the tent). The rain didn’t stop us for a second! Check out the moisture defying smiles and styles in photos on the Gaithersburg Book Festival Facebook page.
Just a couple of days to go until the Gaithersburg Book Festival on Saturday, May 21. I’m still working on my presentation and trying to keep my nerves under control. I’ll be talking about my novel, Provenance, at 10:30 AM in the F. Scott Fitzgerald Pavilion – hope to see you there! For more details – click here.