Reading from a Book

This weekend I have a booth at the Lone Star Book Festival. It’s in a large tent set up in Main Street Garden, a park in the heart of downtown Dallas.

Traffic at least on Saturday was not what the organizer – Texas Authors – wanted. One couldn’t blame the light traffic on the weather because it was beautiful, although in the afternoon, it got a little on the hot side. The afternoon high in the low nineties on the first weekend of October is on the high (and hot) side for North Texas.

The good news was the tables were eight feet wide and gave me plenty of room to set up my books and tabletop posters. I added – thanks to my daughter – red white and blue bunting to the table to make my set-up look nicer and brought my original helo helmet to put on the table as a conversation starter.

What was unusual was I was asked to read from one of my books to an audience. First question I asked was which one? The organizer responded – one that had won an award.   O.K. that meant either Big Mother 40, Forgotten or Inner Look. I picked Forgotten because it is the one that has one the most awards.

I spent about an hour flipping through a copy looking for sections looking that were relatively short but also made a point and selected six. Two about the POWS, one to show their despair and determination to survive and the second to show the interrogation methods used by the North Vietnamese.

Two passages were selected to show the treachery of the CIA officer who wanted the returning PoWs killed. One established his corruption, i.e. siphoning off CIA funds to offshore bank accounts and the other his link to a Cuban intelligence officer who tortured U.S. PoWs and to whom he sold classified information.

The last two were about Julia Amy Lucas who in the book morphs into Janet Pulaski. I read the opening pages of the book because they set the stage for what Janet becomes, i.e. as one reviewer wrote and I quote “a bad ass nymphomaniac lesbian assassin.” The second scene for her was what I called the “You can’t go home again…” In it, she is in front of the house she grew up in and was replaying in her mind the conversation she would have if she her parents who threw her out of the house for her extreme left wing beliefs right after she graduated from college. In the scene, she is trying to explain why she got married but doesn’t have a husband (He was declared MIA, presumed killed in 1978 but turns up alive in 1982.), how she could afford a 500 acre ranch in California (being an assassin is very lucrative.) and so on.

There were only six people in the audience. I started with context on what Forgotten was about, read the passages, took questions and quickly my half hour was up. It was fun and three out of the six bought Forgotten.

Marc Liebman

October 2017

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