Saturday, March 29, 2008

Book Signings & Internal Monologue

As an author who typically writes from a third-person, limited omniscient perspective, one of the challenges I have is to give each character an agenda that’s expressed in both dialog and internal monologue. Sometimes the lines my characters speak don’t tell the whole story. Sometimes the story being told has very little to do with the literal words being said.

In real life, it both amuses and unnerves me to see this principle play out. Of course, we are not privy to the internal monologue of others in everyday encounters. So we’re left to speculate. (Actually, well, that’s probably for the best.)

Over the past two months, I’ve had quite a few book signings for my new suspense novel Dark Friday. I thought I would share some of the most common lines I hear at these signings, just for fun and education’s sake. And—imagining each person as a character in one of my stories—I’ll also translate the spoken words into internal monologue.

Question:
What’s your book about?

Translation:
I’m not really listening, just probing for key words. The shorter and friendlier you keep your answer, the more interested I will be.

Question:
Where are you from?

Translation:
I expect you to say the name of the city, area, or state where you are currently signing. I will act somewhat disappointed if you do not.

Question:
Are you related to Jeffery Deaver? (usually followed by chuckles)

Translation:
Your name sounds familiar, and I want you to notice how clever I am.

Question:
Who’s your publisher?
or
Have you ever collaborated on a book project?

Translation:
I am not buying your book, but would like information about how I can publish one of my own.

Question:
Is this your first?

Translation:
Why haven’t I heard of you? Here you are, sitting in this bookstore with a table, a banner with your name on it and a stack of books…what gives? You look like you’re 22.

(For the record, I‘m 35. I seem to get the age question a lot, though.)

Question:
Where are you staying tonight?

Translation:
?

I’m still trying to figure this last one out…asked of me by a guy in Omaha who, if memory serves, bought several horror DVDs rather than my book. Feel free to provide your own interpretation...

- Jeff
www.jeffreyleever.com

2 comments:

LINDA M. FAULKNER said...

Funny - and I do like your assessment of the hidden agendas we often find in conversation.

LINDA M. FAULKNER said...

Funny - and I do like your assessment of the hidden agendas we often find in conversation.