By A.B. Bourne 1/14/12
I love visiting book clubs. They offer precious opportunities to hear from my “customers”: people who aren’t (necessarily) related to me, still read my book, and tell me what they liked and what did not ring true. This last is vital information for improving one’s next book, but it is the hardest to extract. It is tempting to ignore the silent member. As SuperRay tells his fan club of five, on HBO’s late series Bored to Death, “I guess that’s enough questions. I’ll just take compliments now.” But working with startups has taught me that customers are kings. Only they know what they want in a new product and what’s missing. Success depends on listening to customers – if you can find them. Writers can find them in book clubs.
And, without exception, the members are fabulous people. They have busy lives, yet they make time to celebrate their friendships, usually read the book, and share their thoughts about it while enjoying fast and frenzied banter with each other. Clearly they come for the fun, and it’s a blast to be with them.
But I suspect there’s one more reason they go out in the cold on a January night. It’s not the book. Not the author visiting. It’s this: the food is amazing. Book club hostesses have treated us to wonderful spreads including phenomenal cheeses, delicious apple crisp, fabulous cheese cake, an assortment of special candies, spectacular cheese fondue, and fig and goat cheese focaccia. (I’m suddenly aware of how vulnerable I am to the offer of cheese. In any configuration, apparently.)
I’m ever in search of delicious yet easy to prepare appetizers. Here’s one that made us all reach back to the tray. A perfect blend of sweet and savory, its textures are gorgeous – chewy bread, creamy cheese, slick jam. Each piece disappears in two polite bites, and doesn’t crumble. I think the recipe goes like this….
Sylvia’s UnFigettable Fig and Goat Cheese Focaccia
1 loaf (Iggy’s) Rosemary Focaccia bread
1 jar Fig Jam
1 roll of spreadable Goat Cheese
1) Slice the bread horizontally into two flat rectangles
2) Spread each open face with fig jam
3) Cover the jam with shmears and swirls of goat cheese
4) Cut into 1-inch by 2-inch strips.
Enjoy!! If you’d like me to visit your book club, please email me at email@example.com. There doesn’t have to be cheese. Really. Just you and your friends with responses to my thriller The First Secret of Edwin Hoff. It’s available here. If you would like to stay in touch with Edwin’s doings, please “like” me on Facebook/abbourneauthor and follow me on twitter @anniebourne. Thank you!! I hope to see you soon! – A.B.