Joining in Conversation –

The transition to all meetings by video chat has had one huge silver lining: cutting out travel time necessitated for gathering. Yes, there is screen fatigue, and loss of personal connection and dearth of touch, a fundamental human need, but meeting people in far away places no longer entails an arduous journey.

I am lucky enough to have the tools at work to converse face to face with Parisians on the same day as smiling into the eyes of someone in Japan.

photo by Liz Malone

This recently acquired technological knowledge enabled me to join some book clubs of Journey of Cornelia Rose Series fans I ordinarily would not have been able to attend.

Recently I have ‘appeared’ in California, Arizona and London – normally gatherings I would have had to miss. Within the new normal, I can attend as many as four book clubs a week – even taking into account time zone differences.

Even thought I have been writing books for over ten years, my books and my series are only now beginning to find success commercially. I still feel that “author” is an aspirational title, rather than a comfortable mantle. The joy and satisfaction from the hour plus spent talking with readers about my characters and their travails in their time period is an incredible boost to my morale. The group in California (only nine people appeared on the screen at the same time but the group was about 16 strong) showered me with their reactions, responses and insights. To hear that historical fiction readers enjoyed the tale warmed my heart, and gave me hope that I could stand in the same field as some of today’s admired historical fiction writers – like Daisy Goodwin and Susanna Kearsley.  Is this my dream come true? Have I arrived in my genre? I still mentally float on that cloud long after the book club session is over!  

Receiving kudos from readers who prefer other genres but still found my book pleasurable reading ratified my writing skills. While I want my books to resonate with lovers of history, fiction and romance, I also hoped that they would appeal broadly to any reader. Getting that feedback floated me off on a whole fluffier cloud.

I so enjoy sitting at my desk and writing. And the really good news is the more I write, the easier it flows. I am living the Malcolm Gladwell’s theory in Outliers, genius takes 10,000 hours of practice, and the old maxim creativity is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. But anyone who read Flirtation on the Hudson will know that ladies don’t perspire – they only glow.

I am now at the exciting point where I am not only receiving requests for book club appearances for my first Cornelia Rose book, but also for Walk Away West. This fun could last a long time.

So don’t be shy – and author visit to your book group is just a computer screen away. Email me with your date request!

© Jane F. Collen October 23, 2020                                                                                         small steps — big achievements


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