Ayana Mathis: The Twelve Tribes of Awesomeness

The other day, I had a chance to see Ayana Mathis speak at the Brookline Booksmith in MA.  The Twelve Tribes of Hattie author was down to Earth and humorous.

I loved The Twelve Tribes of Hattie novel!  And so did Oprah, since it was the most recent Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 pick.  You can check out my review from yesterday, here.

I got to the bookstore early because if you know anything about me at all, you know I’m early to everything!  But I got a front row seat, so I was happy to wait.

Ayana started by reading a chapter from her book, the one entitled Ella.  This particular chapter is about Hattie’s struggle to decide whether or not to give up her child, Ella, to her sister Pearl and her husband who are childless.

It was read beautifully in Ayana’s soothing but powerful voice.

Then Ayana was open to questions.  I got two questions in myself:

The first was asking if she had a favorite character from the novel or one that she connected with the most.  Ayana chose Floyd because he’s got some issues to sort out and Bell because she thought it would be fun to be her friend.

The second question I asked was what she was reading at the moment.  But since she recently finished reading thousands of manuscript pages from potential students to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Ayana said she needed a reading break.

Ayana also talked about how she didn’t set out to write a novel.  She had all of these short stories, and people kept saying she was writing a novel, but she kept denying it.  Then she started to look at her stories and realize they all took place during the same time, in the same area of the country, and hey, maybe they ARE a novel!

She was also surprised when people began to tell her that The Twelve Tribes of Hattie was a sad book.  The audience kind of got a laugh out of that one because if you have read her novel, you know it’s a sad read!

After a good amount of questions from the audience, Ayana Mathis stayed around to sign our books.  I was a little star struck and tongue tied at first, but I gave her a card to my blog, and expressed how much I loved the book and was shocked by something that Bell did (which I can’t tell you about because you need to read the book!).

We even got a picture together!  Woo hoo!

All in all, it was a fabulous experience!  Not to mention a fabulous book, so you really do need to get yourself a copy ASAP.

What author are you dying to meet?



22 thoughts on “Ayana Mathis: The Twelve Tribes of Awesomeness

  1. Love the story about the short stories. I suppose that way helped the character development. I wouldn’t mind meeting Elizabeth Chadwick or Lisa Jewell (the latter because I’ve been buying her books each year since before my blogging days).


  2. OMG! I’m so jealous of you! I would love to have gone to a reading by Mathis I was lucky to join in on the Q&A on Goodreads and she answered my question (that was pretty cool I thought, but a reading – wow!). I love that you got a front row seat and two questions answered – I loved both of your questions. The Ella chapter broke my heart, so that would have been amazing to hear her read. I think its so cool you went 🙂 I love what she wrote and I love that you gave her your card – you are working your blog 🙂 Thanks for sharing – made me smile!


  3. This is great, Rebecca!!
    I think I would be shy in front fo the author, but you asked questions and gave her your card!! And the most important: you liked the book 🙂


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