By Amy MacKinnon
This photo was taken on February 27, 2007 at Grub Street South at Buttonwood Books. To be perfectly honest, I can't remember if it was taken before or after I hosted a Liar's Party for Patry Francis, though I believe it was before. What I do remember clearly was the night of the party.
On an Aries-like whim, I offered to invite 50 of my closest friends and have Patry as my guest for a book signing after reading this post in January of 2007. I identified with her immediately, adored her even. But then, oh dear Lord, I remembered I don't have parties. I don't enjoy gathering people in my home serving them food and drink and pithy conversation. The pressure! In the days and weeks before, I was terribly anxious about the cleanliness of my home, the decor, what food I'd prepare, and drinks too. I decided on a simple menu of desserts only and baked them all the day before. That calmed me some.
The night of the party, Patry arrived first and was just as you've probably imagined: cerebral, calm, warm, and funny, the kind of person who becomes an instant friend. Soon the guests began arriving, and then it dawned on me why I was especially anxious to host this gathering. In my home, among my friends, was a writer, a published author. Most of the people there knew how long I'd been tilting at that windmill. A few of them even knew of the book I had hidden away, the one that was declined by 73 agents. Only a handful knew I was working on another. I wasn't in a good place with my revisions. I wasn't hopeful.
After mixing some, it was time for Patry to read from The Liar's Diary. We were all under her spell, her voice was steady and utterly charming. She sold a lot of books that night. When she finished, she asked if anyone had any questions and many did. Then a woman asked how difficult the writing process is and what it felt like to finally triumph. I was as taken as the rest, waiting on Patry's answer. I desperately wanted to know. Patry said what you might expect and then she turned to me and said something along the lines of, you could ask Amy.
I was flummoxed and stammered my reply, "But I've never published a book."
"You will," said Patry, nodding. "I know you will."
I was astonished, relieved even: She had faith in me.
I can tell you to pre-order The Liar's Diary because you will love this book that begs the eternal question of how well do we know those closest to us -- even ourselves. I could tell you to pre-order The Liar's Diary because you've worked hard and deserve to treat yourself. I could quote from the review in Ladies Home Journal -- “The new questions and revelations just keep coming…Readers will be heartily rewarded." But I won't. What I will tell you is that it takes a special person, one of compassion and wit and fortitude to write a novel that delves into its characters as completely as The Liar's Diary. As writers, as readers you will learn from this book. More important, you will enjoy it.
So for Patry who can't promote the paperback release of her book, we here at the Writers' Group are honored to do so. Because you're a favorite writer, because you're a generous soul, but most of all because we have faith in you, Patry Francis.