Natalie Danford
March 10, 2007
Post Meeting Write-up

Face The Fiction met last night in the Community Room of the
Panera Bread Restaurant in the Ramsey Square Shopping
Center to "meet & greet" author Natalie Danford. She began
by discussing her 1st published novel
Inheritance, which is
about a woman named Olivia who discovers that her father
Luigi (who had been deteriorating from Alzheimer’s disease)
held title to some land in Italy, and read excerpts from her
novel (she had also attempted to get a dark teenage
romance novel published earlier but all the publishers
passed on it). She talked about what it takes to get your
novel published, the main things being persistence, having a
good agent, and a willingness to be edited (and not act like
a prim Donna; she keeps a file of "diva author" e-mails on
her computer). She also discussed editing the
Best New
American Voices
anthology. Lots of questions were asked
until 9:50pm, when Todd shooed us out so he could restore
the room to its original set-up before the place's closing time
(which was 10:00pm) Thanks to Ann-Marie Brown for getting
us both the location & the speaker at the 11th hour, and to
Todd, Jim & Steve Spinosa, Bill Wagner, & Paul Dellechaie for
assistance in setting up the room. Next month our speaker
will be Dr. Kim Paffenroth, who has written a guide to the
George Romero
Living Dead movies. See y'all then!!!

Face the Fiction met last night in what turned out to be a
truly fun night. Both the location and the speaker were
fresh, new and great fun!

The Panera Community Room was very nice and provided a
nice amount of privacy. Many of us grabbed food and drinks,
brought them into the room and settled in for a nice time.
When Jo and I arrived with the guest speaker, Natalie
Danford, and her husband Paolo, the room had already been
set up (thanks go to Paul, Bill, Todd, Steve, Jim), calendars
had been placed on all of the seats (thanks again to Steve &
Jim), and we had a roomful of eagerly waiting members
(thanks to Mike P for driving Aubrey!). We had some time
before our guests 8:00 presentation, so members
introduced themselves and made Natalie and Paolo feel
welcome (not unusual for this group. Both Natalie and her
husband were friendly and fit right in! Paolo and Bill were
having a nice discussion about the Strand, while Natalie was
shown her book display, arranged awesomely by Todd (a
coup for us, we have arrangements with Borders for off-site
book events - not something extended on a normal basis).
Right before the 8:00 start, Moira joined us...we were all
very happy to see Moira!

Ms. Danford began her presentation with a discussion of her
Inheritance. She not only discussed the inspirations
for her story, but the ins and outs of the writing process,
something of particular interest to many members. She
discussed how many revisions go into a book, how you
doubt your own story, and how it's important to have
another person to read your work and make suggestions. It
came as no surprise that Ms. Danford told us that this is
something you need to be prepared for - no overnight
success exists in publishing. She gave us fun little insights
into the world of publishing and editing, as she not only
writes, but edits and critiques. This gave her a unique
pedigree and a truly unique perspective. It was funny to
hear that some writers are no fun to work with and a "diva
file" is out there being kept - she's taking names people, be
nice! Ms. Danford then read two excerpts from her novel - as
Aubrey put it "the writing was so poignant, that you recalled
similar situations in your life and felt them". We all enjoyed
the readings and found it funny that Natalie asked if we
were bored! Bored, we were loving it! Questions were asked
throughout the presentation and answered thoughtfully,
fully and often in a very funny manner. You had to be there
to fully appreciate Natalie's surprise at the behavior of some
people trying to get published. It amazes her that anyone
can think to get something they want by being pushy,
manipulative and just plain old unkind and rude! It's obvious
Natalie practices what she preaches, because you couldn't
ask for a nicer, more generous speaker. Mike P had many
questions and enjoyed telling Natalie about his writing
attempts. Todd had to finally call an end at 9:50 so we could
put the room back to its original state. Thanks to everyone,
because everyone pitched in - no slackers here! A very
special thanks also goes to Paolo (a guest!) who rolled up
his sleeves and moved tables and chairs. Thanks Paolo!
Natalie very kindly and humbly, signed all of the purchased
books put before her. She was too sweet and couldn't
believe we bought her books.

We continued the night at a nearby diner, where
conversation ranged from tribute band denial (Aubrey,
turning your head doesn't make it go away!), the movie 300
(Taras and his hilarious half-way reviews), bumbershoots,
garden apartments with a view (thanks Liz!), reinforced
cardboard (thanks Paul!), computers & preferential
programs, what we're not watching on tv and the mafia..
don't ask. We finally left when reminded about the hour
ahead thing. Next month brings us Dr.
Kim Paffenroth who
will discuss his books Gospel of the Living Dead: A Field
Guide to Romero's Living Dead Movies & his new zombie
novel Dying to Live. I look forward to seeing you all then. It
means much to me as so much work goes into the event!
About Natalie Danford

Natalie Danford graduated from Yale University and
received her MFA in fiction from New York University. Her
articles and reviews have appeared in
People, Health, Pages,
Paste, Eating Well, Salon, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los
Angeles Times
, and many other publications. She is series
co-editor for
Best New American Voices, an annual
anthology published by Harvest/Harcourt that showcases
emerging writers of fiction, and an accomplished translator of