I attended my first virtual tea party on Friday evening. It was hosted by the delightful, enthusiastic, compassionate Robin Jones Gunn on her Facebook fan page. We all sat at our computers with our own chosen tea and shared virtual cookies (no calories!) starting with Robin’s own Scottish shortbread.
Robin has the knack of making her fans feel like they are her best friends, and soon women from New Zealand to California were chattering back and forth as if they had known each other for years. In fact, they came with many shared experiences from Robin’s more than fifty novels. Young fans had read the Christy, Sierra and Katie books multiple times. Older women shared their favorite Sisterchicks advenures and which character they identified with. I was most touched by the young adults who had read Robin’s books as teens and waited for their “Todd”—a committed Christian young man with whom they could share a God-centered relationship.
This was Robin’s second annual virtual tea party. Guests started arriving (i.e. leaving their comments) half an hour before the scheduled start, and once 4 P.M. Pacific Time hit, the comments flew fast and furious. I took a few moments off to take notes for this blog, and by the time I returned there were more new comments than Facebook could show at one time. By the time I went to bed (on EST) there were more than 600 comments. The final count was near a thousand.
A real, live Christina Miller joined us and more than one person googled “Todd Spenser”—the character’s fictional boyfriend. The party was used for marketing—there were promotions in the on-line shop on Robin’s web page, and she announced her new book slated for some time in 2010—but more importantly it let women know there were others who shared their passions.
I am not a part of the IM generation, and I found it difficult to follow threads. While I wrote a response to one message, eight other people were also writing, so by the time my response appeared, there were other comments in between it and the one it was meant to follow. That makes it hard to take a conversation beyond a superficial level. Nevertheless, the enthusiasm for Robin’s books and for romance that demands more than hormones came through loud and clear.
I am not a fan of teen romance or of contemporary women’s fiction, but I am a fan of Robin Jones Gunn. She is a beautiful person who has had an amazing impact on more than one generation of young women. You might want to add something of hers to your Christmas list.
LeAnne Hardy has lived in six countries on four continents. Her books come out of her cross-cultural experiences and her passion to use story to convey spiritual truths in a form that will permeate lives.
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