Which would you choose? Support a beloved relative (translation: my mother-in-law!) as she signs copies of her latest suspense thriller at our local bookstore, or hang out with spec fic buddies and critique their latest chapters?
The Answer: Why not combine both genres and events? That’s how What If’s October get-together ended up at Dymocks Booksellers in Bundaberg tonight, as my Mum-in-Law, Sandy Curtis, launched her sixth novel, Fatal Flaw.
What If, my speculative fiction critique group, meets on the third Friday of every month. Members range in age from fifteen to twenty-five and we spend the night eating, drinking, chatting, laughing and, of course, critiquing each other’s work, red pens in hand.
Tonight, however, instead of crumpled manuscripts and witty plot attacks, it was chardonnay and crackers as we queued at Dymocks for a personally-signed copy of Sandy’s latest novel, Fatal Flaw. Is the book worth buying? You betcha! The plot revolves around operative Mark Talbert who, still recovering from his father’s murder, is pressured by his agency to “get close” to long-time friend Julie Evans as a means of investigating her dubious father. Add a killer with a multiple-murder agenda and a terrorist suspect with Brisbane in his sights and Mark and Julie are going to have to fight hard for their happiness – and their lives.
Suspense thrillers are not my all-time favourite genre but I love the action and intrigue, and the twists and turns, of Sandy’s books. Not to mention the emotional resonance and happy ending. Fatal Flaw is brilliantly written, with a satisfying ending. Can I mention the frog, Mum? Can I mention the frog?
Tonight’s book signing flew by as I nibbled on appetisers and chatted to many an old friend whom I hadn’t seen in ages. I always wish I had more time to catch up with writers and readers at these events. I love being around people and finding out the latest chapter in their lives, especially if their passions include the art of writing.
Before long, Dymocks was packing up for the night and our What If members had sauntered into a nearby restaurant for our personal post-book signing party – a discussion of manuscripts over Chinese and coffee. We were lucky enough to have Dymocks’ guest of honour, Sandy, drop in and offer pearls of wisdom to our group.
Of course, no night on the town is complete without sundaes at McDonalds. Sandy headed home. The rest of us headed to the Golden Arches. Mmmm. Not much manuscript assessment was done tonight but the hours together proved fun.