One of the things I enjoy most about being a writer is interacting with readers and potential readers. I always learn something new about them, the subject of my book, or, just as often, about myself. As a matter of fact, the only thing I don’t like about doing book signings is that often it gets so hectic I don’t get to spend as much time interacting with individuals as I would like.
Unfortunately, it seems as if reading is becoming a lost art and I would love to do anything I can to help keep it stay alive.
If there are any book clubs out there looking for a writer to speak to their group, either in person or via Skype, or to help them with some type of promotion drop me an email and let me know. I’ve donated autographed books or collections of books in the past and have also agreed to let readers name characters in future books as a way to help clubs.
My schedule is pretty flexible and I’m willing to drive to meetings in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, or Louisiana (or maybe further!) and Skype is always a possibility. I don’t ask for expenses since I’m always doing research on different parts of the country and the chances are good that no matter where you are located I’ve got a project being researched near you.
The offer applies to libraries and schools as well. Last year I was honored to be asked to accompany Dr. Shane Rasmussen, the head of the Louisiana Folklife Center at Northwestern State University, to a storytelling session at the Coushatta Elementary School (in Louisiana) and had a tremendous time talking to several classes of students there. I was even luckier since the older of my twin sons, Robert Michael Bennett, went with me and the students got to hear a little about his backpacking trip across Europe from which he’d just returned.
So…drop me a line if I can be of any help. I’m always happy to add dates to my calendar.
Summer is here and everyone is looking for something fun to do. I'd like to suggest that you consider visiting the 2015 Natchitoches-NSU Louisiana Folklife Festival held in beautiful and historic Natchitoches, Louisiana at the Prather Coliseum on the campus of Northwestern State University. Most of the exhibits (including my booth) are inside the air conditioned coliseum so you can escape the heat and see some great craftsmen, hear good music and try Louisiana foods.
The Folklife Festival is set for July 17th-18th, 2015, and the theme this year is Backroads and Bayous: Celebrating Louisiana's Rural Folklife.
The link to the festival website with the schedule and bands is here.
My wife and I used to visit this every year from when we were first married continuing through when we moved away and then we were lucky enough to be invited to start attending as exhibitors when I started publishing books a number of years ago. The festival is put on by the folks at the Northwestern State University Folklife Center and they do a great job every year. The cost is low and it is well worth the expense plus, if you've never been to Natchitoches, it's a great time to visit my hometown.
Natchitoches is the oldest settlement in the Louisiana Purchase, founded in 1714, just a short distance from the location of the festival.
If you do decide to attend be sure and stop by my booth and visit with me. I'll have books there for sale but I like to visit with everyone whether they purchase or not and my family has lived in the Natchitoches are since its founding. I've actually been learning about its history since I was a very, very small child through the stories my relatives told in addition to the enormous number of hours I've spent doing formal research so I can probably point you to some interesting places that most people don't know about as well as the more touristy ones. My kids can tell you that no matter where you are in Natchitoches Parish I can probably point in a direction and tell you something fun or historic not far away (much to their boredom at times).
Anyway, it really is a great festival and Dr. Shane Rasmussen and his staff are working hard to preserve the Louisiana culture and heritage, focusing on not just the bayous and swamps of the southern part of the state or New Orleans.
I have gotten a couple of inquiries about Second Chance, the next novel in the Noah Chance series, and wanted to give an update.
I am devoting myself to working only on it until I am finished, rather than my usual practice of writing on several at the same time. Unfortunately, Noah, Jennifer and Spencer are being difficult and refuse to help. They are forcing me to do all of the work myself at this point.
Usually at some point in the story the characters take over and the book writes itself. At some point I'm sure that they'll quit being lazy and get to work but so far they've been little help so I am still trudging along. I hope to have it finished in time for all of the book signings and appearances coming up next month.
I know what's going to happen (or at least I think I do) and that's pretty unusual. I'm at bout 40,000 words and 150 pages so I'm making progress but not the kind of progress I want to make.
I'm going to blame my wife for this because she dusted my desk the other day (for which I thank her) and moved my keyboard and mouse pad from its carefully placed position. Now I have to tinker with it until it is just right so I'm sure that's why the progress is slow.
Well, back to work and hopefully I'll see some of you at the signings in April. These are all in the Texas area stretching from Denton to Houston.
Just a reminder, I'll be on a panel and giving a short lecture/speech on 9/21 at the Louisiana Studies Conference at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches. The panel is set to start at 3:15 and there will be a Q and A session immediately following.
The lecture is formally titled "Loving Louisiana: Turning Fact Into Fiction" and is basically how the book The Bottle Tree came to be as well as a little information on where writers (or at least me) get the ideas for our books.
There are a bunch of great lectures scheduled on a variety of topics. You can see a full schedule here.
The greatest thing is that the conference is free for attendees!
I just finished doing a Skype teleconference with members of the Six Therapy Book Club in Abbeville, La. They had chosen Junebug and the Body to be their reading selection for this meeting.
That was a fantastic experience, the ladies asked some great questions, we had excellent discussions and a fun time. It is extremely flattering to know that people not only read the book but thought it was interesting and funny and were willing to take time out of their lives to visit with me about it.
Thanks to Freida, her sister Lucia, Mary Kay, Joyce, Angie, and expecially to Jessica, the host and the member who showed the phenomenally great taste in choosing the book, Junebug and the Body, for their meeting. (Ladies, please forgive me if I spelled any names wrong!)
I look forward to speaking with them again and hope they will be sure and friend me on Facebook and contact me through this website so we can stay in touch!
On a side note, it was especially cool for my first book club interaction to be in Abbeville, a town I visited a lot when I was younger. It made such an impression on me that one of the local grocery store, Robie's, even makes an appearance in an important scene in No' Chance!
Anyway, thanks again and I look forward to meeting these ladies in person!
I just wanted to drop my readers a note and let them know that I am very honored to have been accepted to be a presenter at the 4th Annual Louisiana Studies Conference at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La. on September 21 and 22, 2012.
The presentation will be titled "Loving Louisiana: How History Becomes Fiction". I'll discuss how "The Bottle Tree" came about as well as the trials of writing a novel that is both entertaining and sticks close to the facts.
Copies of my books will be available there as well.