Suzanne Brockmann is bumming around Barnes&Noble on facebook all day today to swap comments w/you about her new book and any old thing.  But if you know Suz, then you know Suz.  Which is to say the WYSIWYGirl is as engaging and accessible as her novels -- and she digs using her ability to connect with folks to make good things happen. So even before she was a NY Times bestseller, Brockmann hooked up what we now call a social media network online, one that grew successful not just in size, but in building intimacy and connection between her reader fans.

In a recent post at Romance: B(u)y the Book blog, Brockmann wrote about the message board she created, saying it "...soon became more than a place to socialize – it became a place in which members actively practiced the art of kindness."

 

 I met Brockmann online a few years ago when she was raising awareness of a Navy SEAL's need for a bone-marrow donor to save his life. She writes about SEALs, and her online reader friends support and are very connected to the military.  My online community and I jumped onboard with her; it was a special opportunity for me because in 1988, my career Navy older bro -- my real-life hero -- gave me one of his kidneys to save my life.

Whether her online community is "sending ornaments to the mother of a SEAL who lost a lifetime of decorations in a hurricane," or celebrating the fact that one of her message board members' husbands "turned out to be a one-in-25,000 [bone marrow] match for a desperately ill 12-year-old boy," Brockmann's philosophy of why they stick together to do it is simple and somewhat Blanche Dubois-like. She writes:

 

I have always depended on the kindness of strangers. And, yeah, okay, unlike Blanche Dubois, my dependency isn't physical – it's emotional.  See...I believe that most people are good, and that when push comes to shove, they'll treat others kindly and respectfully. Even when hiding behind the anonymity of the internet.

I'll be visiting with Brockmann today at Barnes&Noble on facebook, not just because I like hearing what she's got to say about her SEALs and Troubleshooter, but also because I love meeting the kinds of people she draws to her.  I hope you'll join us, too.

*Suz Brockmann hangs at Barnes&Noble on facebook 7.29 from noon -- 9 EDT.
The thread will remain open indefinitely, and, who knows?  Suz may stop by in the future. That's kinda the way she is. Click here to swap comments and join the fun.

Message Edited by Michelle_Buonfiglio on 08-14-2009 11:07 AM
Comments
by Moderator dhaupt on ‎07-29-2009 11:40 AM
I'm so there ;-)
by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎07-29-2009 11:46 AM
I've seen you there already! 
by Moderator becke_davis on ‎07-29-2009 11:54 AM

I'm one of Suzanne's biggest fans for all the reasons you mentioned and more. I love her Troubleshooters books, but I love her earlier books, too. I love the way she puts a face on the military -- by making us connect with her characters she makes the soldiers/SEALs/etc. in the news much more real to us.

 

One of my earliest memories is of my uncle coming home from his tour of duty on an air craft carrier in the Pacific. I can picture him in his dress whites as clear as day. My grandfather served in both World Wars as a doctor, and I was born at the Army-Navy Hospital where he was Chief of Staff. I grew up hearing stories of my dad, the Army brat, and his best friend getting a hold of some guns and shooting out all the street lights on base -- they were less than 10 years old at the time. My dad also learned to drive, without his father's knowledge, in an Army Jeep at about age 13. He grew up on military bases at Fort Huachuca, and at others in California and Panama. Maybe because of this, I've always been drawn to stories centered around the military.

 

I was thrilled to meet Suzanne a few weeks ago and, as Michelle says, she is one of the kindest, most unaffected superstars I've ever met.  Stop by and talk to her on Facebook today -- it's a great way to avoid the mile-long lines at her real life book signings! 

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎07-29-2009 11:56 AM
Oh, and I forgot to mention -- my dad's older sister was in the women's Navy -- a WAVE -- in the South Pacific during WWII. Wouldn't want to leave out the important part women play in the military!
by Moderator dhaupt on ‎07-29-2009 12:37 PM
And did she sing "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair". ;-)
by Moderator becke_davis on ‎07-29-2009 02:03 PM
I've never heard the whole story, but she has once or twice alluded to a boyfriend in the service who didn't survive the war. :smileysad:
by Moderator dhaupt on ‎07-29-2009 02:13 PM
Oh that's very sad Becke
by Moderator becke_davis on ‎07-29-2009 02:19 PM
I'm sure there's a good story there, if I can ever persuade her to talk about it. She was GORGEOUS in her WAVE uniform -- still looks great (and is going strong) at 86; she's also a cancer survivor. My hero!
by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎07-29-2009 05:59 PM

Becke, what amazing stories.  They're the kinds of things we learn about each others' lives online.  Thank you for sharing them. 

 

debbie, what a connection; South Pacific. I'm smiling cause I remember my dad singing "there is nothin' like a dame.' Isn't that from that show?

 

Things are SO hopping over at the BN facebook page.   The really kind of disappointing part of the whole Suz community story is that some folks with axes to grind came to her boards -- after years of the boards being a super-positive place -- and made misery.  I believe she's had to shut down the boards now.  

 

but if  you look at the BN facebook pages, you can see how her supporters still gather to hang with her.  That's all about her and her generosity.  When she visited RBTB -- the day this article's quotes are taken from -- she was responding with hope and dignity to the original nastiness.  Now, it's sad to look back and see she had to close shop.  But a few negative folks clearly can't keep down the spirit she shares and the vibes she spreads.  Go Suz and Suz fans!

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎07-29-2009 07:47 PM
I counted 313 posts on Suzanne's Facebook "conversation" at B&N. Zounds!
by Moderator dhaupt on ‎07-30-2009 09:17 AM

Yes Michelle,  that song is indeed from that show which I was in when I was in High School, among others.

And yes it's sad that there are ugly people out there, but you know what Suz is a pro, a strong lady and a great advocate for all the causes she fiercely supports, and that said you're bound to have people who are just as vocal against what you're for. But she's stronger for it and she has her wonderful family for support, even her extended family in her readers and other supporters of her cause. Plus it's not too many of us that can support our causes by writing a novel about it right. And a great author she is, no doubt.

So tonight I'll go home and raise a glass to her, everyone else should too.

You Go Suz!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎07-30-2009 11:37 AM
I hope you only estimated, becke.  That's time you could have spent reading "Hot Pursuit" and getting you some Izzy and Danny G scoop. 

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