Author Kathleen Grissom visits ‘Books, Wine and Thinkers’ book club
“Books, Wine and Thinkers,” a Radford-based book club, found a way to make their September meeting true to that moniker and at the same time “buy local,” when they invited Lynchburg author Kathleen Grissom to discuss her best-selling book “The Kitchen House” on Sept. 27.
Cheryl Blackwell, the group’s organizer, reserved space at the Attimo Winery in Christiansburg and invited other area book clubs and writers’ groups to come. With a choice of fine wines, accompanied by hors d’oeuvres to please the palate, the 30 or so attendees paid close attention as Grissom traced her experience as a first-time author from the original idea to sales that may well reach 1 million copies.
When Grissom, a native of Canada, moved with her husband to Virginia and purchased an early 19th-century home, she became keenly aware of the richness of history in the area. Eager to find out more, she launched a research project that eventually uncovered details that, for her, became living characters.
At the beginning, nearly three years ago, the sales of the book were not as brisk as Grissom would like to have seen, so in characteristic fashion, she dug in again. In fact, as an article in the Aug. 16 issue of the Wall Street Journal puts it: “when it came to marketing her work, she left nothing to chance.” In addition to sending copies to influential book bloggers (and calling them if she didn’t get a response), she offered to speak at book clubs. To date, more than 50 groups have heard her story – how she writes, who’s been helpful, what she’s learned, and what comes next.
Soft-spoken, petite, every inch what, in the time of her story, would have been called a “gentlewoman,” Grissom is nonetheless a strong, determined woman – which, of course, made her at real showstopper at the winery. Long after the formal session was over, she was surrounded by eager readers, some of them also published writers.
Local? Yes. Small-time? Hardly.
– Submitted by Rachael Garrity, Owner, PenworthyLLC