The salon evening hosted by the Venetian Arts Society in Fort Lauderdale on Friday was a great success. I was so honoured to be the guest literary artist. The weather co-operated perfectly – well, it is south Florida where the weather almost always co-operates perfectly (!) – and the large multi-level patio of Inspired Interiors provided a beautiful setting overlooking the historic Himmarshee River. The cocktail party, including some of the most delicious hors d’oeuvres I have ever tasted, offered everyone an opportunity to wind down after a busy week and settle in for a relaxing evening. A lovely young violinist named Laura performed during the evening and her talent was obvious. A fellow Canadian (from New Brunswick), she added another fine touch to the whole experience. Wandering indoors to view the eclectic art displayed in the Inspired Interiors studio and showroom along with the unique and original hand-painted furnishings was a bonus. The intent of Inspired Interiors is to “rescue” worthy antique, reproduction, and vintage home furnishings by refurbishing and refashioning them into original, beautiful, and functional works of art for the home. The results are not only a contribution to the “greening” of our living choices but also exquisite! William Riddle along with his business partner/artist, Stephanie Knight, are to be admired for their vision.
As the guests settled into seating outdoors, William introduced the vivacious Janice Chai-Chang, the president of the Venetian Arts Society who spoke firstly, in her elegant and articulate fashion, about the goals of the Venetian Arts Society. I’ll tell you more about that in another post as it is a concept to be copied. She then introduced me followed by Marti Smye, another most affable Society member, whose smile immediately lights up any room. Marti and Janice then led an energetic Q&A about The Bridge Club to which the audience also contributed. I so enjoy hearing other people share the experiences of their friendships when discussing The Bridge Club. One of my hopes in writing the story was that readers would reflect upon the relationships in his or her own life. The book-signing period afterward was busy with many people sharing thoughts and opinions. That means a great deal to me and I’m discovering it is absolutely THE best part of writing. Feedback and response from readers who bring their own copies of The Bridge Club in for signing is such a gift. Thank you to everyone who attended, who purchased The Bridge Club, and particularly to all who took the time to speak with me. I must add how warm and welcoming I found everyone to be in this fine city.
I learn so much from each of these opportunities. Afterward I always think of many comments I wished I had made and better ways to present other aspects of the novel which I believe are also of interest to readers along with the all-important relationship and issues of the women in the story. For example, there are the wonderful Canadian settings in the story including not just the great city of Toronto but its nearby environs of rural Halton county and the scenic Georgian Bay area. The story also spotlights the historical Eastern Townships of the province of Quebec, the magnificent ruggedness and beauty of Whistler, British Columbia, and the appealing tranquility of the forests and waters of the Muskoka Lakes District.
Then there is the final chapter. Controversial and current in subject matter, the hope is that it sparks introspection and debate. I’m told that book clubs are finding this chapter a strong point of discussion involving a wide range of opinions, not only on the decision made but also in determining which character is the focus. The latter being something I leave to the reader although there are clues built into the chapter. Most readers ask when they write me if they have chosen the correct woman and I’ll confirm it if they have but won’t disclose if they haven’t. Back to the drawing board! As I explain to them, I myself did not know who it was when I wrote the chapter. More on that later!
Photos of the Friday soiree to follow once I get them edited. In the meantime, take a look at this link for more information about Inspired Interiors. You’ll be glad you did! Click on “Subscriptions” on their website to read about the Venetian Arts Society, its mission and calendar of events.
Thank you, thank you, thank you once again to all involved!
p.s. Please ignore the automatically generated links at the end of messages if they look strange. I don’t put them there!