For those of you into acting or public speaking, it may seem like old hat to read from your own book. What possible excitement could there be in reading text from the printed page? I spent most of high school acting out –both in plays and otherwise– so it was with some surprise that I discovered the intensity of the joy of reading from your own work.
A book reading is first and foremost about trying to bring new readers into the world you have created as an author. I spent a long time discussing with my 13-year old daughter which passages specifically might make sense. Revontuli is about WWII; it’s about good people doing bad things and bad people doing good things, and people just being people, not good or bad. It’s above all a love story. How could I possibly convey the complexities put forth in almost 75,000 words in a few short minutes?
In the end, my daughter and I settled on two short passages: the scene where Marit, the protagonist, first speaks with Hans, her lover, and a scene where two escaped prisoners are brought back in bonds. The first was meant to convey the beauty of a love story that defies the circumstances it is born in. The second reminds us that war is war, and that we cannot shy away from its horrors, even if the focus of the book is love. Even though I have this book many times over, I was surprised to find myself tearing up when I came to the scene, based on true events, of the two prisoners being brought back to the prison camp.
It is an extraordinary feeling to share a story you conceived and wrote with old friends and strangers alike. I never dreamed writing a novel would bring me back into touch with so many people I had not seen for years, nor did I imagine how many new and interesting people would approach me with stories of their own lives or their families’ lives. As so often before, I’m impressed at how reality surprises as much or more than fiction. This fiction however has stirred a whole group of readers to rediscover their own family histories or just discover a new part of the world they did not know about. I’m glad I was able to be a catalyst for that discovery, and that they have shared their feelings about it with me through these readings.
Author Andrew Eddy just completed readings from Revontuli in Ottawa and Montreal, and will be reading in May 2014 in Leesburg and Richmond, Virginia, and Charleston, South Carolina. For author readings close to you, send a mail through the contact page!