When I first started appearing at book signings I expected a mixed audience: young adults, some middle graders who read YA, and older people like parents and interested writers. I thought I get questions about how I found my publisher or what “surprises” I’d experienced during my journey to publication. And I did.
I also had questions about who my favorite author was or what my favorite book was, and those I was prepared to answer. However, I wasn’t expecting some of the questions that people asked. Here are few examples of questions you might have to field.
Q: Where is Sweet River? (Sweet River is the fictional town in my novel.)
Bad Ans: In my head.
Better Ans: When I imagined Sweet River, I saw a small Sierra Nevada town similar to Auburn, CA.
Q: What part of your story is autobiographical?
Bad Ans: Are you kidding?
Better Ans: The only autobiographical part is a small portion of a scene where one of my characters says her grandmother used to bake her a cake for her birthday. That’s true. Mine did.
Q: How did they get the horses back?
Bad Ans: Uh. Well, Er. Let’s see.
Better Ans: In my mind they stopped the trailer at the rest stop and rescued them. (None of this is in the book.)
Q: Do you know Shawna?
Bad Ans: Of course. I created her.
Better Ans: I don’t know her really, but I know her as a character I wrote. In fact, I kind of like her. She’s still in my mind a lot.
Q: What happened to Kenny?
Bad Ans: How should I know?
Better Ans: In my mind he continues to live at the horse ranch and be Kay’s support.
Q: Does the Sunday Boy marry Shawna?
Bad Ans: I didn’t think that far ahead.
Better Ans: It’s quite possible they will have a continued relationship, but since she’s only sixteen I can’t imagine marriage yet.
What you see is that readers sometimes enter into a story so much that the characters and where they live become real to them. Interestingly enough these questions didn’t come from younger readers, but from older adults. Can you think of possible questions that readers might ask about your books–ones that might reflect this kind of involvement? You might think about them now, so you won’t come up with some of the Bad Answers I did at first.