Tuesday, August 3, 2010

An evening with author J.A. Jance

I was privileged to have the opportunity last week to attend a special event featuring author J.A. Jance.

Thursday (July 29), this popular author was in Kennewick, Washington, which is about 50 miles south of where we live, talking about her latest release "Queen of the Night." The event was hosted by Mid-Columbia Libraries.

We arrived about an hour early because there was limited seating. I'm so glad we did because an estimated 250 people were in the audience and we were able to get great seats. I was close enough to take a picture of Jance from my seat, without having to get up and block anyone's view.

Jance walked on stage and started with a song! She sang "Another Opening of Another Show" and had the audience enthralled. Then, she went on to tell us that since she was giving this talk for free, she was going to pick the subject matter. She said she doesn't do readings at readings ... she does talkings at readings.

She discussed how she became a writer and how she incorporates people she has come into contact with and events that have occurred into her stories. She told how her very first book came about and how her subsequent books are connected. And, of course, she discussed her family and a little about her own personal background.

"Queen of the Night" started out as a short story. When she submitted it, it was immediately rejected. She was pretty upset and sent a copy to her best friend in Florida, who loved the story and gave her some advice: "Do what Stephen King does ... take it and turn it into a novel."

And that's exactly what Jance did! The result is a wonderful new story that is sure to be another bestseller.

As she was wrapping up her talk, she let the audience know that she firmly believes no book should ever go unsigned. All she asked is if someone had a bag full of books to go to the end of the line so others could get their one or two signed first. I was in shock. Before we went, I mentioned to several people how I should send hubby down to our storage unit to dig through all my boxes of books to come up with all the J.A. Jance novels I own. They all just rolled their eyes (especially hubby!) and looked at me as if I were nuts.

Well ... guess what ... I could have done that ... so there!

I did purchase a copy of "Queen of the Night," however, and yes, she did sign it. There were about 100 people in the line for author autographs and we were at the back, so it was about 45 minutes before we got to the table. But it was fun visiting with others who were also patiently waiting.

In the meantime, I snapped this picture of my friend Briana posing with Jance and the book. Briana is the reporter for the local paper and a huge fan of Jance. She wrote a great story for the Othello Outlook, too.

Notice that wonderful smile on Jance's face. That really sums up my impression of her. She is very gracious and a joy to listen to. She has a wonderful and refreshing sense of humor and everyone was totally entertained throughout the talk. Even hubby, who very rarely laughs out loud, was amused.

If you ever have the opportunity to sit in on one of her talks, be sure not to miss it. You can check out her appearance schedule on her website at www.jajance.com. The site also features a list of her books you can download in a pdf format.

On the way home, I told hubby that, indeed, I should have sent him to look for all my Jance books and reminded him that she had said she would sign all of them. He just rolled his eyes -- again -- and sighed. No sense of adventure there, I guess!

Regardless, I am so glad we went down for her talk and it is an event I will remember for years to come. It was an absolute thrill to meet this author.

4 comments:

Cathy said...

Jance is going to be here Thursday, and I hope to be able to go. My husband loves both her Beaumont and Brady series, while I prefer the ones set here in Arizona. We go down to Bisbee twice a year to spend a week or so, and I always think of Joanna... and Jance... while we're there.

Suko said...

What a gracious author! Wonderful post, LuAnn!

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