Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Book Girl Power (aka Gushing Over the Girlfriends Book Club)
Writing is such a weird business. I always think of my friends who don’t write as “civilians,” because—while I love them dearly—they don’t always get me like my author pals do. When it comes to dealing with the insanity of the publishing world, there’s nothing like having people around you who’ve experienced that insanity, too.
That’s why I adore the idea behind the Girlfriends Book Club. I’m all for girl power and women supporting each other. Maybe because I moved around so often as a kid (my dad worked for IBM = I’ve Been Moved), I deeply value the friendships I’ve made in my adulthood. In fact, I wouldn’t be on this blog without a little help from a fab friend named Marilyn Brant.
When I think of how Marilyn and I met, it’s so fluky, as some of the best things in life often are. Late last year, I ran a contest on my web site. Marilyn entered, and I thought her name seemed familiar. (Cue light bulb.) I quickly realized she was the author of ACCORDING TO JANE (which I read and loved). I promptly begged her to donate a signed copy for a fundraiser I was doing for the local chapter of Susan G. Komen. She generously replied, “Of course!” Emails about the fundraiser led to more emails about everything under the sun, including Tales of Glee and Woe from the Publishing Front.
And when I found rabid online rants about COUGAR on my city paper’s web site a week before the book came out, I freaked. It was clear the ranters were reacting to the title without knowing the contents, but it still got my goat seeing my baby called—among other things—“filth” and “trash.” At its heart, THE COUGAR CLUB is about three 45-year-old lifelong chums supporting each other as they deal with mid-life crises in their work and relationships. But the trash-talkers would have to crack the spine to find that out, so they probably never will.
Besides dissuading me from going back on the newspaper web site to comment “MEAN PEOPLE SUCK,” Marilyn did me the favor of playing fairy godmother and introducing me to the Girlfriends Book Club. I did a happy dance the day Karin emailed to say, “Welcome!” I feel like I’m a part of an incredible sorority that's way funnier and more interesting than the one I joined in college.
It's because of the GBC that I came face to face with yet another cool chick, Judy Merrill Larsen, who serendipitously lives in my neck of the woods. I had a laughter-filled lunch with Judy not long ago, and I instantly felt like I’d known her forever. We talked families and books and growing up, and I often found myself nodding and saying, “Yep, I know just what you mean!”
There’s just something magical about connecting with other women who write. There’s an instant empathy and understanding, like we’re all sisters from another mother. And the support goes far beyond our books. I've had my hands held by my publishing pals and civilian pals alike during some rough stuff. True friends are very much like human life preservers. They keep us afloat.
Every morning when I get up and head to the computer to begin my day, I make sure to check out the newest post on the GBC. It’s so much fun learning about each woman in her own voice and seeing what topics are being broached. Inevitably, I find myself nodding and thinking—as I did at lunch with Judy—“Yep, I know just what you mean!” It feels good to be with a group of literary ladies who celebrate the quirkiness of life and who understand the ups and downs of this writing thing I’m so passionate about.
So thanks to my fellow Girlfriends on this blog and everywhere! We're like a merry band of modern-day Musketeers...all for one and one for all! Well, you know what I mean. :-)
P.S. My latest reading addiction: Australian author Kate Morton’s books, including THE FORGOTTEN GARDEN and THE HOUSE AT RIVERTON. I’m looking very much forward to her next one, THE DISTANT HOURS, which comes out in November.
Susan McBride is the author of THE COUGAR CLUB (HarperCollins, 02/10), her debut in women’s fiction about three friends who learn you’re never too old to follow your heart. COUGAR was named a Bookmarked Breakout Title by Target stores, was a Midwest Booksellers Association Midwest Connections Pick, and made MORE Magazine’s list of “February Books We’re Buzzing About.” Susan has also penned five award-winning Debutante Dropout Mysteries for HarperCollins/Avon, including BLUE BLOOD and TOO PRETTY TO DIE, as well as three young adult DEBS novels for Random House. She is currently at work on another women’s fic title about two sisters, a daughter, and a magical LITTLE BLACK DRESS that changes the course of their lives (HarperCollins, fall of 2011), and she’s signed for another after that. She’ll also be writing a young adult thriller for Random House in 2011. Susan is a breast cancer survivor and frequently speaks on the subject of "books and boobs." For more scoop, visit http://susanmcbride.com/.