The Baker’s Daughter by Sarah McCoy was published in January 2012 and already has received a number of praising reviews and even one blogger, Anna of Diary of an Eccentric, says that the book will be on her best of 2012 list. With all of this praise, I’m looking forward to my TLC Book Tour stop in March, but I also wanted to see the author in person. Who is this woman who has generated so much buzz in the blogosphere with her sophomore book? (Her first book for those interested was The Time it Snowed in Puerto Rico) Lucky for me, Novel Places in Clarksburg, Md., was hosting a reading with this author and I could make it with some finagling by me to have the hubby watch “Wiggles.”
I’ve loved the few readings I’ve been to at Novel Places because the store is cozy and the readings are intimate — more like a conversation with a book club and author than a formal reading. People arrived early to get copies of the book and chat with the author before 7 p.m., and I just sat and listened. What I learned from the event was that most authors have the same type of personality in that they love listening to their characters in their heads and garnering inspiration from the people and things around them.
The Baker’s Daughter is actually inspired by a German woman whom Sarah met at a farmer’s market once and who told her how she married an American soldier at the end of WWII before coming to the United States. That was all that was said, and while Sarah has not seen the woman since, it was enough to send her off on a journey of history, relationships, and more, which is all housed in her second book. Although she says that she will never hand the woman a copy of the book and tell her that she was the inspiration, I think the woman would be happy to know that she touched the author in that way.
I love that Sarah brought the red hat from the cover and although she’s too young to be in the Red Hat Society, she agreed to become a Pink Lady. She was asked about her writing and revision process, which she says is long with journaling about her characters at the start, rather than plot outlines, and about 10-12 rounds of revisions once the first draft is written. Her research process is narrowed by the characters she is inspired to write about, limiting research to a particular year in a particular region or city in Germany for example for The Baker’s Daughter. She says that otherwise, she would just research too much, get overwhelmed or after 10 years still not have written a book.
Her younger brother also was in attendance and was apparently not only chauffeuring her around to each event while she’s in the area, but also taking photos. It was obvious from the way she interacted and talked about him and her family that they are all close. It’s wonderful to see those family connections in person, especially given that her novel touches upon family connections and interactions during some difficult periods in history.
She talked about her MFA program and her teaching stints in Texas where she now lives with her husband, though she is a former Virginia resident (her parents still live in Fairfax County). Overall, it was an engaging and conversational event. She’s affable, delightful, and vivacious, and obviously very outgoing; I think I was in awe of her — too in awe to actually ask any questions, though there were many buzzing in my head. Perhaps, I’ll get the chance to interview her once I’ve had the chance to read the book and review it here for the blog tour.
Hopefully, I didn’t miss much in the conversation, but that sickness is going around and I think it has finally reached me because my head was feeling awfully foggy. I’m lucky I remembered my book and Anna’s for Sarah to sign and to talk to her about how much Anna loved the book — by the way, she remembered Anna from that blue cat tattoo icon she uses. . .how cute is that?!
Thanks to Patrick for hosting another AWESOME event!
Additionally, this is a stop on The Literary Road Trip since Sarah McCoy is a former resident of the area and her family still lives here.