It has been a pleasure to spend two evenings with Robyn Harding, author of The Party. The first was in December, at Little Drummer books, and was an intimate book event with Robyn Harding and Roz Nay. The second was, via FaceTime from her home in British Columbia, when she joined our book club for a personal discussion.
Robyn, a filmmaker and author of 5 novels and a memoir, is promoting her latest novel. The Party is the tale of a sweet 16 party gone wrong and a family trying to hold things together and keep up appearances. It shares a glimpse behind the facade of a family with a beautiful house, expensive car and perfect daughter when one incident begins to unravel the family. The reader ponders their own highschool experience (and worries for their teens) as they learn that everyone is hiding something!
Robyn has two teens and was inspired by thinking about the different ways families handle drinking and drugs. Families have different rules which can easily lead to challenges. This situation started her thinking about “what if something went wrong”? This, coupled with the ideas of the “cool” kids in highschool and the fact that highschool is something to endure, inspired the novel. We discussed how highschool is often something to endure yet life does get better from there which is a perspective that students likely don’t see.
This author feels privileged to write full-time and encouraged the audience, in Burlington, to go for it. With education in journalism and work experience in advertising she wrote her first book during a maternity leave in 2003. She kept it very quiet not even telling her mom until she was finished. She noted the importance of being prepared for the business side of writing, the vulnerability of putting your work out into the world and being prepared for negative reviews.
I always like to know about author’s reading habits. Robyn does read while she is writing. She recently read The Interesting by Meg Wolitzer and is looking forward to reading The Woman in the Window (now our March book club read).
What is next for Robyn Harding? Inspired by the news clips about the wife of a Canadian serial killer volunteering at her children’s school, her next book will be Her Pretty Face. It is coming out in July and will address the an intense friendship between women who both have secrets in their past.
It was fantastic to meet Robyn who was generous both of her time and in sharing her experience. The logistics of a FaceTime meeting were a bit of a challenge but it was great to hear an insider view of her book and learn more about her experience as an author. Thank you Robyn Harding!