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Thoughts from the author

A couple Saturdays ago I had the opportunity to take in an author talk and book-signing by one of my favorite writers, Nathan Jorgenson.
Jorgenson, a native of Jackson and dentist by trade, stopped at the Jackson Public Library to share about his work as an author and to tout his new book, "Contrapasso."
Admittedly, I was a little hesitant to attend the talk/book-signing. If Jorgenson's books were made into movies, they might fall under the category of "chick-flick." Yet, there are portions - in fact, many - of every book he's written that definitely appeal to the men in his reading audience. Still, I thought I might be the only male there.
Nope, about a quarter to a third of the 35 to 40 people who attended were my gender. Relief!
He was as delightful in person as his writing style, as if you would have expected anything less.
He shared tidbits about his first three books - I've read them all - but what I found most interesting about his talk was how he published those first three books. He self-published all three. Rather than try to sell his book to a publisher, he went to a printer and worked with him to have his books printed.
Why? He jokingly said he receives enough rejection in his day job as a dentist that he doesn't need to receive rejection after rejection with his writing. So, he self-published his books and he's obviously done alright.
Another interesting tidbit was the way he wrote his first two, maybe three, books - with pencil and a legal pad. Yep, he hand-wrote his first two or three books.
His proofreader was his dental office receptionist, who proofread in her free time at the office. That worked well, at first, he said. If you've read his books, you know his stories are filled with humor, but can also yank on your heartstrings - hard. That latter issue was a problem for his receptionist. When she reached those tear-jerking portions of the book, she would be sobbing at her desk. That's just the emotion he wanted from readers; not what he really wanted from his receptionist, he said with a chuckle, which also brought laughter from the audience.
I was able to ask a couple of things about his books when he opened the floor to questions, but I would have enjoyed talking with him more. The problem was that most of those 35 to 40 people were like me, lined up to have him sign his new book. And, like me, most of them wanted to have a few words with him. And, unlike me, some of them knew him personally. In fact, his high school basketball coach who still lives in Jackson was there for his talk.
Consequently, I didn't get much time to talk with him, but I was able to squeeze in a few words as he signed my book.
I told him that I simply don't read fiction, but I read his. When I was introduced to his book "A Crooked Number" by a co-worker, I immediately fell in love with his stories. After enjoying "A Crooked Number," I went back and read his first book, "Waiting for White Horses," then followed that up with - at the encouragement of a friend - "The Mulligan." All three were excellent.
I also told him that the characters he creates in his books are the best part of his writing.
"If you love my characters, then you'll like the two old guys in this book," he said as he handed me an autographed copy of "Contrapasso," which, of course, I paid for.
My winter reading begins soon. I'll let you know how it turns out.


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