If you decide you're going to host book club one month, and you decide to read, say, the debut novel from a few years back, I Am Not a Serial Killer, by Dan Wells...
and you cook and serve slightly undercooked chicken parmesan, but make up for almost poisoning your guests by ending the meal with a delicious and bloody-looking red velvet cake for dessert,
and if you've asked him very nicely and he's in town, Dan Wells just might come to your book club and tell you not only all kinds of backstory and secrets behind the book you just read, but also behind his other seven novels. (It's fascinating to learn how one idea leads to one book that requires certain research, which leads to another book idea, and so on. My ambition to become a successful author just got ramped up a bit.)
And then he might hang out and chat like a normal person about TV shows he likes and sign your books and even sell you a couple more of the newest ones while your dog sleeps on the back of the couch behind him. And he won't even make you feel bad about that whole almost-poisoning thing.
Mr. Wells might even ask about what you're working on if he knows you're a writer, and share tidbits from his own writing process and keep everyone well entertained, whilst educating the room about why sociopaths truly are concerned with social expectations and why the chemicals in a mortuary's embalming room make it resemble a snow cone shop.
So if you do these things, and it turns out Dan does show up at your house one Thursday evening in March, you should feed and water him, try very hard not to kill him, keep your dog from licking him to death, and let the discussion flow from the book at hand to all the new ones you now must read, as well as all the great series on right now and how there's never enough time to absorb all the stories you'd like. (You should also talk a little shop with him if you're a writer so you can steal his knowledge.)
And then you should take a picture to prove you're not making it all up.
I Am Not a Serial Killer is the first of the John Wayne Cleaver trilogy, Dan's first published series, followed by Mr. Monster and I Don't Want To Kill You. In the first book, we meet John who is a teenaged sociopath fighting against his natural instinct to do terrible things, but finds himself facing a monster outside himself when bodies begin turning up in his small town. Had I not been rushing to get the house cleaned up before this get-together, I'd have started the second book already. Mr. Monster is next for me!
The book Dan is holding above is the second in his Partials trilogy, called Fragments. Click on any of these titles to visit their synopses on Dan's website. Apparently Dan got through another two chapters of the final installment in this series the very day he came for a visit, so soon, kids :)
If you fail to follow these steps exactly, I cannot guarantee Mr. Wells will make it to your book club, but who knows? If you read it, maybe he will come :)
Thank you, Dan, for spending an evening among other book lovers, and for being kind to Murphy when he had a hard time understanding why you didn't want to be bathed.