"Expect it and embrace it." 3Qs for novelist Randy Susan Meyers

Finally working my way through a stack of books I bought by way of protest during the Amazon/Macmillan dust up earlier this year. The Murderer's Daughters, the debut novel of Randy Susan Meyers, follows the lives of two little girls who survive a horrendous incident of domestic violence. (Here's my initial post with more about the book.) The LA Times called it "a knock-out debut...all too believable and heartbreaking." I caught up with Randy just as she was dashing out the door, heading for the Book Studio.

The Murderer's Daughters is such fertile ground for book clubs. Themes of redemption, violence, coming of age, physical and emotional scars, your professional experience with "men who weren't monsters, but who did monstrous things" -- this book has the potential to keep the discussion going well past midnight. What are you hoping readers will take away from that dialogue? And has the feedback been what you were hoping for?
The letters and emails I’ve received from readers truly lifted my heart. I’ve heard from women who lost parents to violence, who’ve lost sisters to domestic homicide, a continuum of tragedy—but I’ve been blessed with the being told that The Murderer’s Daughters helped them feel less alone and when they reached out I believe I’ve been able to send them to places where they could get help.

Because of this reaction, I have a social worker writing a piece to add to my website regarding ways people can access help and information, especially about post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Print and online reviewers have been vocal in their appreciation. Many have written about the silence of those left in the wake of domestic violence—and mentioned that The Murderer’s Daughters gives voice to the children (and the adults they become) left behind. That is a topic I hope will be ongoing. I am going to Miami this month to speak at a fundraiser for Shalom Bayit (Peace at Home) of the Great Miami Jewish Services and I am grateful to be able to do this.

I hope readers will discuss and think about the fact that suffering from abuse as a child does not doom them to a lifetime of failure. We tend to pigeonhole those who grow up in these difficult circumstances, but while they may always carry scars, they can also be strong at the broken places. Many, like my characters Merry and Lulu, end up working in the helping professions.

Most important, as a society, we need to care better for these children.

Your debut publishing journey was a bit of a rollercoaster. The book was bought by St. Martin's in a pre-empt (score!) but happened to be released in the midst of the Amazon/Macmillan broohaha. How did you find out that your Amazon buy buttons had been disabled and how (if at all) did that episode affect the book's launch?
I was (ahem — confession coming) checking my Amazon ranking when I saw that it was impossible to buy my book. Assuming it was simply a ‘me’ problem, I emailed and called my agent and editor (this was on a Friday evening and my editor was on a plane on the way to a conference.) My agent had not heard anything about this. I then called Amazon, where I ended up crying to some poor Amazon customer support person (who had no idea what was happening.) Finally, I turned to Twitter and it was a Tweep in Australia who told me what was happening.

Did it affect my sales for those days — certainly. On the other hand, The Guardian and The Christian Science Monitor and your site picked up the post I wrote about the kerfuffle! So, I was able to make some lemonade from those lemons.

I did start to feel Amazon-persecuted when I was part of another week-long glitch (just a technical glitch) and lost my buy buttons during the week I was on NPR. However, I can’t complain — my launch has been and continues to be a wonderful experience.

You did it, kiddo. Wrote the book, connected with a terrific agent, worked through the editorial minefield, and launched your debut novel to stellar reviews. What do you know now that you wish you'd known when you began the journey?
I wish I knew how incredibly busy one becomes and how many events I’d go to. I would have bought more clothes. Really beautiful ones!

Really, I’d love to tell about-to-debut authors to know that the months following their launch are an intense ‘tell-the-world’ time. Expect it and embrace it. You spent tons of time writing your heart out, you shouldn’t be surprised that it’s your job to know let everyone know it’s out there.

One more, if you don't mind: What are you reading?
I’m reading an Advance Readers’ Copy of The Quickening by Michelle Hoover (releasing in July.) So far, it’s terrific.

Comments

The book sounds absolutely wonderful!

This blog is seriously elevating my already massive TBR pile! Thanks so much for sharing.

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