One for the Road

Last night we held our monthly Book Club. Normally we meet in the afternoon but this time we hosted an author friend of mine, Lynne Marshall. She travelled here from Los Angeles and stayed overnight. It’s a two and a half hour drive, so no small feat.

We had a holiday supper, ham, penne pasta with spinach and goat cheese, linguine with chicken and Alfredo sauce, Caesar salad, Panetonne, and parmesan-asiago cheese rolls.  The bar was set up with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and sparkling water. I was the chef, and for once everything was edible. : ) Then we held the book discussion, and followed that with dessert and coffee. So if you ever wondered what romance authors eat, here is the dessert table:

We’d all read Lynne’s book, One for the Road, which is available in print from The Wild Rose Press, or through Amazon, or as an e-read from all the usual sites:

D’Anne Palmer and her husband had a life others dream of—travelling the US in a luxury forty foot motor coach, going where they wanted. Suddenly, D’Anne finds herself a widow with her only asset being the motor home. Without funds to return to California, she decides to hire out the RV.

Tyler White was a “one hit wonder” ten years ago. At a crossroads, he decides to attempt a comeback. He’s hoping the three-week tour he’s put together will reignite his career. All he needs is some cheap transportation, and the widow with the RV might fit the bill. D’Anne and Tyler discover a lot about themselves—and each other—as they journey from Nashville to Las Vegas, via Texas, with the band and Tyler’s dog.

Can close quarters really help a has-been singer on the comeback trail and a widow with California style find love?

I wrote ten or so questions that the group could ponder. I checked with Lynne first and asked if we should do our normal routine of the host asking the question and everyone getting a chance to respond, or if she’d prefer an open discussion. She said go for it and I’ll answer any questions at the end. Nobody pulled any punches. But then everyone genuinely enjoyed the book, and Lynne writes an excellent character driven story with a subtle humor. Nobody hesitated when I asked who their favorite secondary character was. All agreed that it was Bear.

Lynne doesn’t belong to a book club and found the group discussion very interesting and a source of excellent feedback. The Book Club members were happy to meet an author they’d read and to ask questions about her process, how she writes her characters, how she researches her material, and if she indeed wrote the lyrics to the songs that her rag-tag country western band sang. She did.

One thing, out of many, that I admire about Lynne is her tenacity. She knew early on that she would be published. She studied her craft, she wrote at 5am each morning before going to the day job as an R.N., and while raising teenagers. She had a passion. She believed in herself and she pursued her dreams. And now that she is published over ten times with Harlequin Mills & Boon medical romance, and is continuing to write for them, plus is publishing several of her single title romances with The Wild Rose Press, she remains open to all forms of feedback. 

I don’t think as a writer, as a successful writer, you ever truly stop learning. But then again, I believe that to be true of life too. If you’re fully engaged in living then you’re learning.

Lynne’s next single title, Too Close for Comfort, will be published in 2012.

To learn more about Lynne, or to see photographs of the group, please visit her website



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10 Responses to One for the Road

  1. Maria says:

    One of my favorite books this year. Glad to read that the book club enjoyed it too and I am right with all of you on Bear being my favorite secondary character as well.

  2. Robena Grant says:

    Thanks for coming by, Maria. Yeah, I loved Bear. But Tyler, now he was yummy, and I especially liked Lynne’s older heroine.

  3. That sounds so lovely–great food and great reading. Nothing could be better! Congrats to you and Lynne both.

  4. Robena Grant says:

    Thanks for stopping by, Jen. It was a lovely meeting, and I’m just sorry that Jury duty dragged Lynne from the breakfast table. We could have sat and had coffee and discussed writing until dinnertime. ; )

    • Robena!

      Oh, you’re so right, we could have spent the day talking, but I had a long drive home, and the freeway was a challenge. I made it back in plenty of time to continue jury duty at 1:30 pm.

      How many judges allow for an author to keep a speaking engagement? He’s a winner in my book.

      OK, just for the food alone I’d say – join a book club. This group knows how to do it right.

      The most important thing to me about this book club was the fact that these women were not romance readers and yet they agreed to read my book.

      The absolute best part of all was that these non-romance readers enjoyed my book (One for the Road) and the biggest compliment of the evening was the fact that there was a general agreement – they loved the characters.

      Sigh. This made my decade.


  5. Robena Grant says:

    Aww, you’re sweet Lynne. I’ve had calls and emails today, the ladies really felt it was a special night. Our Book Club is growing and trying new things, going on field trips, and now inviting authors. I’m thinking we might be able to Skype some future author discussions. In February we’re going to an Arts and Letters program at UCR, run by Tod Goldberg, and will be listening to author Lisa See’s story. Lots of good things for 2012. : )
    Thanks so much for your participation, and for driving the distance.

  6. Dee J. says:

    Robena and Lynne,

    It sounds like a ton of fun! Wish I could’ve been a fly on the wall. The food, the discussion, the whole deal sounds like an author’s dream. I also loved the book. Bear is awesome, but I think I’m a Tyler fan first. (And you can’t go wrong with a character named D’Anne. )

  7. Robena Grant says:

    I know, every time I’ve read or discussed the story I get a picture of you in my head. Not that that’s a bad thing. Ha ha. Wish you could have been here, too. It would have been great. Next year in Anaheim! : )

  8. Gayle says:


    Book club was great. What a good discussion last night. Thank you again for hosting. Loved meeting the author and hearing her perspective on the characters.

  9. Robena says:

    Gayle, I’m so happy you stopped over here to comment. Glad you enjoyed the night, and it was my pleasure to host. Lynne said she enjoyed meeting and talking with everyone so much, and that the comments were helpful to her as a writer by knowing what works and what doesn’t from the reader’s perspective.
    We will do another event like this next year. ; )