Chat with author Kristin Hannah planned 2012.02.29

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Sandy Emmons figured it was just a mistake when two boxes of books arrived at her house recently. She serves as treasurer of Morenci’s Stair Public Library board of trustees, so it seemed possible that her address got mixed up with the library’s.

When she opened the boxes and discovered 18 hardcover copies of Kristin Hannah’s “Night Road,” she realized it was no mistake. Sandy is also co-founder of Sandy and Jane’s Book Club, the book discussion group that meets monthly at the library.

The reason for the boxes was now clear to Sandy: The books were for a chat with one of America’s most popular authors.

“This is huge,” Sandy said. “For Morenci, this is a pretty big coup. She’s very well known. Even many people who don’t read a lot do read her.”

The thrill of the books’ arrival was enough on its own, but a coincidence arose that made it even better.

Sandy owns a copy of “Night Road” but she had lent it to someone without yet reading it herself. For some reason she had the urge to read it so after work she went to the library and checked out a copy.

The two boxes were waiting for her when she got home. Now she had 19 copies.

Sandy frequently sends out e-mails and Facebook requests for author chats. She sent a message to Hannah asking about a chat and was told to submit her request at the author’s website. She had done that in the past and never heard back, but she gave it another try.

“This time I said Kristin said to come to the website and to ask her if she would talk to us,” Sandy recalls.

Her persistence paid off.

She knows a chat is in the works, but she’s hoping for something even better than a telephone talk. She prefers a Skype chat where everyone interacts via the internet for a video discussion.

Morenci’s library has done it before with another author, but Hannah only recently completed her first Skype visit. Sandy doesn’t know how it went, but she hopes it was a success so Morenci will get the same. There are still a few weeks until the talk—7 p.m. March 19—so Sandy awaits word from the author’s publicist.

“Night Road” isn’t Kristin Hannah’s most recent book, but it’s one that the book club hasn’t yet discussed.

“She’s one of our book discussion group’s favorite authors,” Sandy said. “We usually read one of her books every year.”

Fayette’s Thursday@7 book club just discussed a Hannah book in January, but they’re going to put “Night Road” next on their list and join Morenci’s group next month for the chat.

Sandy hopes to see other new faces at the event, too.

“It’s a good time for someone to come to a book discussion who has never come before,” she said.

In this case the author will do a lot of the talking, but even for the regular discussions, talking certainly isn’t required.

“Some people think that if they come to a book discussion they have to say their feelings about the book, but we have some members who...we’ve been doing this 15 years...have never talked.”

Sandy intends to read “Night Road” about a week before the author chat so it’s still fresh in her mind. She says it’s not all that unusual for her to own a book that she hasn’t yet read.

“If you knew how many books I have...” she said. “Some women buy shoes and purses. I buy books.”

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