Launch Party

Crowd     I’m not sure if her husband really feels like a two-month road trip will be a punishment, but Lesley Kagen suspects he might feel that way by the end of it. Last night, Lesley began her book release tour with a launch party at the Harry W. Schwartz Bookshop in Mequon. Next, the pair will hit Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, and Michigan.

     I had so much fun at the launch. First, it was packed with people who’ve either really enjoyed her latest book, Land of a Hundred Wonders, or were just catching on with her first, Whistling in the Dark. A very funny and emotional friend and bookseller, who’s very proud of her, introduced her, and then Lesley charged into a bit of her life story and how writing has been such a surprising and enjoyable success for her.

>Lesley at Podium     “I just did it,” she said, about writing her first novel, without regard to publication. “I didn’t think about it that much.” She’s glad she didn’t; finding an agent and navigating the publishing world can be a nightmarish proposition.

     And so she’s enjoying the reaction to her work immensely, especially talking with readers at book clubs and readings such as that.

Lesley and Silvia     She read from Chapter 1, which is a wonderfully rich description of character and world, and then took questions from the audience. There was several writers in the audience, myself included. Lesley was quick to tell everyone that she doesn’t write from an outline or plan of any sort; rather lets the characters react organically with each other. Of her characters, Lesley says, “When you get enough people together, somebody’s gonna start trouble.” So she sits back to let them do that until she’s got the necessary conflict for a story.

Land of a Hundred Wonders     Where there’s less conflict for her now is in the business end of publishing. See, now that her books are selling, Lesley’s got a lot more say in the final product. Go figure.

     She introduced the rest of her family members, whom she talks about often, and gave us readers something to look forward to: news that her next book is nearly half completed. Entitled Tomorrow River, it’s about two girls in Virginia. No other hints … boo hoo …

     So a fun time had by all. Wonders is an enchanting read. I’d recommend you pick up a copy, and if you’re anywhere around her tour sites, stop by to meet her.

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