Monday, March 12, 2007

Liar's Party!

Meet Patry Francis! Patry was one of my first blog friends when I started blogging a little over a year ago. I glommed onto her blog when I realized she and I shared a publisher, and that her first novel, The Liar's Diary, would be coming out a few months before mine. I read all about her year as she experienced landmarks (seeing the cover, getting advance copies, doing her first signing) months before I did, and when I finally had a chance to read the book, I seized it! And then, when I learned Patry was taking a little excursion to the West Coast to promote the book, I seized the opportunity to meet her in person and throw her a little party in honor of the book.

That was last night, and it was such fun!

Here's the book:
It's about a woman whose best friend is murdered, and what happens when her own teenage son is accused of the crime. It's twisty and turny and gripping and a wonderfully natural, flowing read. Last night, I asked Patry some interview questions to get discussion going, but it did not occur to me to record or even take note of her answers, so I shall try to reconstruct some basic sense of what was said.

Earlier in Patry's career as a writer, she wrote mainly poetry (though narrative poetry with characters and plots), then moved into short stories, and when she took the leap to the novel form she spent ten years writing an 800-page novel! That book was not The Liar's Diary, which is actually the third novel that she has written. The previous two had not sold, and the process in each case had been fairly grueling, so by the time her agent was sending out the Liar's manuscript, Patry's hope was at a low ebb. However, it sold almost at once! And happy dances were danced!

Patry lives in Cape Cod with her husband Ted. They have four children and two dogs, and Patry has recently completed her next novel, though I will of course leave it to her to write about that one on her own blog, which is wonderful and can be found here. When I asked her what was, for her, the hardest part of writing, she said that it was first drafts. This is the case for me, too -- though she did not necessarily share my desire to kick people in the shins when they say they wrote their book in two weeks, or that the "characters took over and wrote it for them." She was more gracious than I.

When she was asked (by blog friend Jone, in attendance), what was the "spark" for the book, Patry answered that the idea came from a high-profile murder case in her area, in which a "wonderful" teenage boy from a "wonderful" family murdered his best friend's mother. She said that in that case, the family and the boy were so well liked that the victim's family came to seem almost like the villains, and she became really interested in the dynamic and started out to explore them for herself, in fiction. Though, as you will know if you have read the book, the story develops far beyond those simple facts.

Another blogger in attendance was Citizen of the Month, aka Neilotchka, who was in town with Sophia from LA and stopped by. It was great to meet them! And of course, my friends, local cool creative chics and bloggers Alexandra and Maggie, were here too. Thanks for the banana bread, Al!

Here are Sophia, Alexandra, and Neil:

Here's the gathering:

And here are Patry and me with our books, both of which are brought to you courtesy of the Penguin.

It was a delightful evening for me. Patry couldn't have been more gracious, fun, funny, and wonderful!

P.S. The real fun for me began after the party ended. First, I scorched my fingertip badly while blowing out the mood candles. Then, early early this morning, lurching out of bed to hit snooze, I kicked the stair post with my bare toes and it hurt like a you-know-what and still does, and then, falling back to sleep heedless of the alarm, I had really bizarre dreams, including one in which I was traveling through a particularly jungly neighborhood of London by aerial tram and the prim English bus conductor put on a safari hat, popped the sun-roof and started shooting a bb gun to scare off the marauding monkeys and cheetahs. Weird.


Kim G. said...

Oh, I'm so glad you posted a re-cap and pictures! I was so sad to miss the evening but it sounds like it was fun and filled with great conversations about writing. Thanks again for the email on Saturday. Things look much brighter today! :)

melba said...

I LOVE the picture of you and Patry with your books. It is a true testament of Dreams coming True!!!

Alex S said...

Thanks for telling me not to blink F---y! My eyes are bulging out of my head as a result. Can you photoshop them please? And that was so fun last night, to meet the great Patry in person and Neil and Sophia on top of that, a real treat! Your cookies were worth blowing my WW points. Everything looked superb on their cake stands and all the candles lit, a wonderful night-way to go Blokey!

Anonymous said...

Why didn't you invite me or Slobodan? you think you're too good for dead dictators trying to reach out and make friends from down here? you think the Slomeister and I would have ruined the "party atmosphere" or something? really, what gives? We are real people with real feelings. Or we werereal people with real feelings. Now we are dead people with real feelings and we hurt like everybody else, and we could have used a fun party with cookies and snap peas and kimquats in cute lime bowls. Maybe I'm making a bigger deal than I should but I'm really hot down here. Hell is way> hotter than Baghdad and very humid. I hate it. Please invite me to your next party. I love you, Saddam xo

Tinker said...

Oh, what a wonderful party that must have been! So many of my favorite bloggers all in one room (and what a room it is too, with all those juicy colors). Wow!

Anonymous said...

Your kitchen is WACK! You've inspired me to redecorate my smoky abode-I'm on my way in just a second to Hell Depot to get me some red and white checkered floors.
You rock Laini,

love.boxes said...

love that you took the initiative to meet this woman and learn about her experience publishing her book. Love that you hosted a lovely party for her. And, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your beautiful red room!!!

Amber said...

How fun! The world is indeed very small. Neat that you two met by way of blogs. :)

I saw a write up of patry in Writer's Digest this month, in the first time authors section. Neat! And I thought of you...I wonder how they pick who they profile? Maybe we should start a letter writing campaign!

Your dream is too much! Ha! That is about as strange as the one I had where I was having great sex with Ned Beaty.(Of "Deliverance" Ned Beaty...Don't ask).


Anonymous said...

You guys are so seriously inspirational! Thanks for the detailed recap (and the bit about Patry's writing history)...I feel like I was there and I wish I had been. :)

Claudia said...

Looks like a wonderful many smiling faces!I´m sure the dictators weren´t missed.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like it was fabulous. I'm so looking forward to seeing her tonight. When I started reading her blog, I can remember thinking, "February 2007?!" (re her release date)...thinking that sounded SO FAR AWAY! :)

madelyn said...

How sweet of you to throw a little
party and it is amazing how
you met via your blogs!

I will get both of your books -
can't wait!

and i loved the picture of
the two of you together:)

Sam said...

I just finished her book last week. It was good. Oh and the ending. I really didn't see it coming.

Looks like you had lots of fun.

Rella said...

O.K...LOVE that you were able to celebrate such proof that you must never give up your passion....LOVE that you shared the party here and we felt like we were part of the fun.....LOVE, LOVE. the red room.
Soon the party will be for YOU!
Best ~ Rella

Anonymous said...

Laini!! I'm so hoping your wonderful artist fingers are okay! I can't believe you scorched them--though I could have easily done something similar after all our scintillating writers' talk. Just being in your happy and bright and creative home had me dreaming up story plots all night long. Thanks again for the amazing party. Loved meeting Jim and Alexandra and your mom and Neil and Sophia, and all your lovely friends. (Leroy, too!) Just looking at the photographs has left me grinning foolishly here in my writing room. I especially love the one of us with our BOOKS!