Mystery does love company! Jack Remick, Robert J Ray, and Marilyn Bennett make the readings sing.

My first month as a published author continues to be full of epic events. After appearing at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego, I feared everything else would be a let down.

But the readings at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park and King’s Bookstore in Tacoma were amazing.

Two wonderful bookstores

If I’ve learned anything after twenty years in the theater, it’s to surround myself with great people. I got to join Jack Remick and Robert J. Ray at Third Place Books for a reader’s-theater style performance from each of our most recent books. (Well, my only book, the guys are very prolific).

The audience overflowed The Den, the wonderful staff found extra chairs, and we were off! So much fun to read with these two remarkable writers.

On May 22nd, I got to read with a longtime mentor, colleague, and friend, Marilyn Bennett. Our Friday rehearsal was approved by Herbert, one of the resident critics, so I knew we were ready to go.

Herbert the cat

We started with a monologue performed by Marilyn, then did two scenes from the book together, and ended with me, reading the opening of the novel.

Such a great audience! They stayed and asked questions, had a little bubbly, and I got to sign books. So pleased to be able to engage with readers and support a local, independent bookstore.

It’s been an emotional couple of weeks. Fear, that no one would come or that people would come, then the reading would fail. Elation, as audiences arrived and the readings go well. Anxiety about whether or not people enjoy my book. As an artist, it’s very hard to know how your work is experienced. We often downplay the compliments, thinking “they are just being nice,” and obsess about the negatives, taking even a simple, offhand comment and spinning it into “they hate my work!” But the high from people laughing and applauding at the end of the readings helped allay the fear.

Which is good, because I’m hard at work on book two, and the confidence their responses gave me helps me leave my inner critic at the door.

Next up! The official launch party on Saturday May 28th at 2pm! Click here for information about the event.

Elena Hartwell

Author and developmental editor.