Matthews Library to host first virtual author event

Matthews – Mint Hill Weekly

M.J. Rose

Bestselling author M. J. Rose talks about her book and virtual tours

MATTHEWS – The Matthews Library will venture into new territory this weekend through its first virtual author event.

The event, which will be conducted via Google Hangout and feature New York Times bestselling author M. J. Rose, will take place in the library’s community room on Friday, March 20, at 2 p.m.

Chantez Neymoss, adult services librarian at Matthews, said the library aspires to utilize technology to offer unique events for community members.

“I think it’s really exciting that we can bring her in and have these discussions,” Neymoss said. “Libraries are doing something a little different, trying something new.”

Neymoss said this is the first time the Matthews Library has hosted a virtual author event. She said Rose’s publicist, Deb Zipf, contacted the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library to offer a free virtual author event.

Zipf said she chose the library system because Charlotte wasn’t included on Rose’s tour schedule. After talking to Neymoss, they agreed Rose’s work would be a good fit for Matthews library patrons.

According to David Sniffin, the adult services coordinator for all Charlotte Mecklenburg libraries, only three libraries have the capability to host these types of events – North County in Huntersville, Main Library on North Tryon Street and the Matthews Library – because they have SMART Boards that allow them to project the virtual call to a larger audience.

Neymoss said Matthews was thrilled to work with Rose on this event.

“We have never had a big-time author,” she said. “… We don’t get a lot of author events in Matthews, particularly since the recession, because funding has been restricted.”

Neymoss said when the library has money in its budget for events, presenters and authors are normally paid between $25 and $100 per event.

“The only costs involved, regardless of the means, is usually staff time or for refreshments,” Sniffin said. “Occasionally, we’ll offer an honorarium, but this is rare. Free programs, for us, are preferable.” 

Neymoss said she’s been reaching out to library patrons via social media and in person to gain momentum about the upcoming event. Since it’s the first of its kind, Neymoss said library staff are prepared for mishaps, but she said she hopes to continue pursuing virtual events.

“We are excited to see what the public thinks,” she said. “Try and try again.”

Neymoss said this event is the starting point. She hopes to one day offer streaming events, where patrons can watch the event from anywhere with Internet access.

Rose on virtual book tours

M. J. Rose will discuss her writing career, creative process and published works including her latest book, “The Witch of Painted Sorrows,” during the Matthews Library’s Google Hangout author event.

Rose isn’t new to virtual author events; she’s been doing them since Skype became available in 2003, and has done hundreds of virtual events with book clubs and libraries.

“It’s a great way to reach your audience without the restrictions of cost, time and travel,” she said.

Rose said if she had to do all of her March and April author events in person, it would cost an additional $5,000, adding she likes the unfiltered honesty that the separation of the Internet allows.

“In-person events invoke a modicum of politeness, and with Skype people feel more empowered,” she said. “It’s the only time people will really speak up and say, ‘I really hated your character,’ and I like that.”

Photos courtesy of Mario Morgado

Rose’s book, “The Witch of Painted Sorrows,” was selected by LibraryReads, a membered collective voice of public libraries that shares their monthly picks for Top 10 books published in the U.S. Rose said her book could be described as an erotic gothic novel.

According to the book’s introduction, the main character, a New York socialite named Sandrine Salome, leaves her abusive husband, fleeing to her grandmother’s mansion in Paris. There, she becomes emboldened with a newfound sense of self and sexuality, as she is introduced to art, Paris nightlife and the occult underground scene by her new lover, Gustav Moreau.

Sandrine’s husband is on the hunt for her, while Salome becomes embodied by the spirit of La Lune – a witch and legendary 16th-century Parisian courtesan – while she hunts for the meaning to her new reality.

Rose said she grew up in the time of feminism and, while she doesn’t claim to be one, she believes women have to stand up to societal-imposed stereotypes of the “good girl.”

This scenario plays out in her book, as Sandrine is forced to choose between satisfying her grandmother and husband or going after what she really wants through her spirit-embodied erotic nature.

“Sometimes, to get what you want, you have to tap into your inner witch,” she said. “Being a good girl doesn’t get us what we want.”

Find out more about M.J. Rose and her published works on her website,

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