Yesterday I attended a book club in Lavaca, Arkansas. Lavaca, near Van Buren (which is near Fort Smith) reminded me of Savage Crossing. Boy, everything about this book club was a home run.
And I’m gonna tell you why.
Beginning with the SETTING.
Lynn, the host of this book club, lives on a ranch / farm. So right off, I felt at home. She and her husband have cattle, and they are row crop farmers. Her husband was cutting soybeans while we had book club because (to quote my Daddy) somebody has to work.
This is the view from Lynn’s driveway.
This is the view from her back porch.
That’s Doctors Creek in the distance. The picture doesn’t do the area justice. The trees seem slow to turn this fall but those around the creek had lots of color. Yesterday’s blue sky showed no signs of the storm building in Oklahoma.
This particular book club meets in the morning, and brunch included the best apple cake I’ve eaten since Mrs. Hunkapillar’s Fresh Apple Cake—Keiser people, you know what I mean. Lynn served it with an incredible coffee caramel sauce that I believe in my heart could be drizzled like brown gravy on any food all day long. Or, you could simply slurp it up with a spoon. (I’ll post the recipe for the sauce soon because you’ll want it for Thanksgiving.)
This delicious cake is from StoneGable blog which I’m now following. You can get the recipe HERE. Five bright stars for sure.
Check out this unique “bookish” centerpiece! I’m filing away this idea for later use. (And pinning it, of course.)
I failed to get a picture of the entire group, but in the category of what a crazy small world, the two ladies in the picture below are my husband’s first cousins. I’ve never met them (or if I have it was at a funeral and I don’t remember). I didn’t know they would be there. That was a fun surprise.
The group had insightful questions, and our discussion went on for some time. One of my favorite topics from the book club:
Question: Did I realize I was touching on so many social issues when I wrote
The Accidental Salvation of Gracie Lee?
Answer: No, not when the words were flowing onto paper.
Later, during editing, I recognized themes specific to southern fiction, i.e. religion, social class,
family dynamics, alcoholism, etc. and tried to expand on them.
But in the beginning, I focused on the story I wanted to tell.
We spent time discussing the title and the idea of salvation, accidental salvation, and how there wasn’t one main answer to many of their questions, because I don’t like to tie things up in a nice neat bow. That’s not real life in my world. And making readers think is the ultimate goal as far as I’m concerned.
Thanks, Lynn, and everyone who attended! I made lots of friends, and Gracie Lee most certainly has a new fan club. They plan to wear their Gracie Lee t-shirts next month to First Monday in Canton. How fun is that?
I look forward to seeing everyone again soon. Maybe in Canton! Maybe back home in Lavaca.
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
Want to buy a book? Here you go…
My t-shirt inventory is low. Buy now if you’re interested.
Tim McGraw / Faith Hill – Meanwhile Back at Mama’s