A novel quilt retreat
Hey, everyone! Quilter's Home columnist Meg Cox, who writes the skinny in each issue, is our guest blogger today. Here's her insider item on quilty novelist Marie Bostwick:
Marie Bostwick has
quilted for a lot more years than she's been writing novels, which is one of
the reasons her book series set in a cozy quilt shop has been such a hit with
quilters. We know she's one of us because of the way she writes.
Her fourth Cobbled Court Novel, Threading the Needle, is due out May 31, and still follows the
adventures of Evelyn Dixon, a survivor of breast cancer (and a cheating
husband) whose successful quilt shop provides enormous solace.
Like many popular authors today, Marie connects with her
readers via Facebook, Twitter, a blog and her website. But a much deeper
connection was forged after some fans proposed a block swap on her website's
reader forum. About 17 of her readers completed their Christmas block swap in
2009. They had so much fun that forum posters proposed a second swap using a
heart block pattern Marie offers free on the site.
When the second swap was also a smash, forum fans started
clamoring for a quilt retreat. Marie, busy with deadlines, said she didn't have
time to organize and run a get-together, but would attend if others did that
So last November the author spent an entire weekend with
16 fervent fans at a Connecticut retreat center called Wisdom House. They came
from as far away as Texas, Oklahoma and Canada, and made pillowcases for
charity, learned new hand appliqué skills and worked on projects they brought
along. "Mostly we were just wonderfully normal," says Marie, "Just quilters
getting together, talking about our families and our quilts."
There were some bonus expeditions most quilting retreats
don't include, says Dorothy Hayes, one of the event's organizers. "We got a
magical tour of Litchfield, Connecticut, which is the small town on which New
Bern in the books is based. We walked down the actual Cobbled Court (which does
not include a quilt shop) and ate lunch in the Grill that was the model for
Grill on the Green in the book. The owner is just like Charlie! This was like
fans of J.K. Rowling making a trip to Harry Potter World."
Not only that, Marie whispered some secrets about future
plot developments, and shared details of her writing process. (FYI, I predict my own future will
include additional outings with my readers--if they have anything to say about
"We will definitely want to do it again next year," says
Dorothy. "At the end of the retreat, all of us realized it was the beginning of
a really beautiful thing."
For more on Marie and her worlds, both fictional and
real, go to www.mariebostwick.com.--Meg Cox of the skinny