Made It Moment: Nancy Lynn Jarvis
Nancy Lynn Jarvis wrote her Moment in the form of a letter and upon reading it, I decided a whole new mini-genre was born: the epistolary Made It Moment! There are other ways in which this post is unique. I think I can safely say that I’ve never read about another author having quite this experience. As Nancy is about to tell, there probably isn’t much that’s more pure fun for an author than this…
I would love to tell your readers about one of my made it moments. I could tell them about getting an email from a reader saying how much they enjoyed a book of mine, but most writers have had moments like that, so I want to share something a little different. My made it moment was being invited back to Senior Center Without Walls to read my second book to them.
SCWW is an interesting concept. It’s a dial in group serving a big chunk of California around San Francisco. It’s a free service; members need only apply to be given a conference call phone number. The idea is that for one reason or another the members aren’t able to get around easily so they meet virtually. During one of their regularly scheduled spots a group listens to and then discusses a mystery.
I can no longer recall how I found out about the group or convinced them to give me a chance to read one of my books. Many of the attendees have been avid readers and book club members all their lives and it may be that they were willing to let me read my first mystery because the book was fresh meat, a book they hadn’t read during their long reading lives. I was nervous, because reading aloud seemed daunting, and the group had a cumulative history of reading and critiquing enough books that I was additionally intimidated, but I was determined to do the best I could. One day a week I would call in, greet the members who were waiting for me to read, do my bit, and then chat with participants.
I now understand why actors love live theater. Although the attendees were respectfully quiet while I read, every once in a while there would be a chuckle when what I had written was supposed to be funny. Once a very soft, “Awh oh,” slipped out when my protagonist was in danger. When I killed off a character the group liked, attendance dropped the following week and when the audience returned they let me know they were still upset with me for what I had done. I went from almost throwing up before beginning reading to loving what I was doing.
But the book ended, and so, I thought, did my connection with the group. My made it moment came when I got an email from the organizer saying the group members asked her to find out if I had written another book and, if I had, would I read it to them? I now have a standing invitation to read all the mysteries I write. They tell me I write well. They make intelligent comments about the books and ask excellent questions. I’m certain I have more fun with them than they do with me.
I get to read The Widow’s Walk League, the fourth book in the Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries series to them beginning in September and I can hardly wait.
Nancy Lynn Jarvis was a Santa Cruz, California, Realtor® for more than twenty years. She still owns a real estate company with her husband, but she says writing is so much fun that she has officially retired from being an active agent.
Nancy’s work history reflects her philosophy: people should try something radically different every few years. Writing is the latest of her adventures.
She invites you to take a peek into the real estate world through the stories that form the backdrop of her Regan McHenry mysteries. Many of her characters are based on associates and clients she has known — at least until they become suspects, or worse, murderers.
That sounds so fun! What a great experience! That would be the BEST feedback, because it is so immediate!
Comment by Connie J Jasperson — February 20, 2012 @ 10:47 pm
Nancy, that’s heartwarming. I hope you enjoy every “moment” of your future readings.
Comment by "Doctor Barbara" - Barbara Ebel — February 20, 2012 @ 11:12 pm
What a wonderful concept!! That sounds like so much fun, and although I’m sure you brought much joy to the seniors in the program, I can only imagine how much joy it brought to you! Fabulous idea.
Comment by mountainmama — February 21, 2012 @ 5:44 am
This is an awesome moment! It must be totally fulfilling to read your own book to a group and have them keep asking for more. Congratulations!!
Comment by Kellie — February 21, 2012 @ 11:31 am
Thanks for letting me share, Jenny. Yes, it was great fun, especially because with a mystery, I don’t like to read at book signings for fear of giving away too much info. This was more like a book club get together but with speculation and real time concern for the characters.
Comment by Nancy Lynn Jarvis — February 21, 2012 @ 11:49 am
Seniors are so appreciative of any efforts to read to them. They grew up listening to the radio and hence have stronger listening & mental visionary skills. What a wonderful opportunity because they will spread the word among their friends & family as to how much they enjoyed your stories.
Thanks for sharing.
When I was a public library director with no funds; the local nursing home called the library for help. I talked the children’s librarian into going for a story telling session. Initial response-didn’t want to hear no children’s stories. Second program was a shock–even the bedfast were present. Today nearly 20 years later the program is still going strong to a packed house.
Comment by Nash Black — February 21, 2012 @ 3:05 pm
It seems to me that this is a wonderful situation where everybody wins. A kindness from you and instant feedback from the group. It definitely sounds like a great moment.
Comment by Lil Gluckstern — February 21, 2012 @ 4:21 pm
Nancy, this is such a wonderful idea. I can understand why you enjoy doing it. I’m going to pass the idea along to a senior citizen social services agency in my area. Thank you!
Comment by Anita Page — February 21, 2012 @ 6:27 pm
Nash, you just explained a lot to me. I am amazed someone could listen to a story and remember it in such detail a week later. Mysteries require a number of dots to be connected and the seniors seem able to do it effortlessly. I never thought about growing up with the radio.
Comment by Nancy Lynn Jarvis — February 21, 2012 @ 11:26 pm
Nancy, I felt good just reading about your experiment:) What a great opportunity for you both. I remember seeing pics of my brother “watching” the radio, before I was born, and I know a few older (as in my age, lol) baseball fans who still prefer listening to the game. Sounds like it was a win-win all around.
Comment by Eloise Hill — February 23, 2012 @ 12:54 pm
Nancy Lynn, what an absolutely marvelous idea–a virtual Senior Center! I wish every community had a group like this. And you are so right, Seniors are some of the most avid readeers of all. congratulations on being invited to share with them.
Comment by Donna Fletcher Crow — February 25, 2012 @ 1:04 pm