Vienna resident Nan Kilmer Baker is the author of “Naked Joy,” a book of humorous, quirky essays that follow her life adventures as a small town girl turned world traveler who eventually settles in Vienna, Virginia where she experiences "reverse cultural shock."
Vienna Writers ask all the time, "What are my chances of getting published?" Fact is the question is not
about being published anymore. In today's markets of self-publishing companies and publishing boutiques, the more relevant question is, "What are the chances of people buying my book?" It is not a lottery, luck, or even discovering the effective keywords to drive consumers to an author's hardcover or e-book. Whether a book sells or not, ultimately comes down to an author's ability to write, to present a polished product, a good story, and to stay the course.
Nan Kilmer Baker is the newly published author of “Naked Joy,” her first book and one Amazon ranks as a "Hot New Release" in its Humorous Essays and Memoir categories. Amazon customers like it too. Reviewers rate it five stars out of five stars. So how did Baker write a book that ended up with such acclaim and why is she ready to give her first author appearance on Friday, Sept. 8, 7 p.m. at Bards Alley, 110 Church Street NW, Vienna? Simply put, Baker has been writing for years and has learned how to do it well.
In her author biography, Baker reports she began writing as a young girl and never looked back. She then moved on to being a ghostwriter, a copywriter, and then onto her "dependably quirky blog." When asked by how she came to write “Naked Joy,” Baker replied, "I began writing “Naked Joy” over a decade ago. I worked intermittently, taking time off to relocate several times while working various jobs, which resulted in some good material for my book, I might add."
Monica Yeonas is a former classmate and friend of Baker. "I found her collection of essays great fun to read," Yeonas wrote in her review. "By the way, Baker was known around our Gonzaga campus as a prolific writer and was not above whipping off a paper or two for a friend, in exchange for a beer or maybe a ride downtown."
“NAKED JOY” is a collection of mostly humorous and witty essays. More than a few of the stories are set in Northern Virginia, such as "The Spy Next Door" and "Moping and Mopping," a story that describes Baker's short employment period working at a Tysons Mall store she called RESTRO-VERSIONS in the book.
Baker shared she considered that she might have a gene for writing if such even exists. Baker said she is related to the poet (Alfred) Joyce Kilmer, author of Trees. "I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree...” Robert E. Gregg III is the Head of Green Hedges School in Vienna. Gregg wrote in his review of the book, "[Nan Kilmer Baker’s] grandfather, Freeman Lyle Kilmer, was a cousin of the famous American poet, Joyce Kilmer…. father of Kenton Kilmer... [who] founded our school, Green Hedges."
Baker's success is probably due more to her willingness to perfect her art, stick with it, and do the hard work rather than a possible genetic disposition. On the acknowledgment page in “Naked Joy,” Baker wrote, "No one ever said it would be easy."
Judith O’Brien is the author of the romance novel “Ashton’s Bride.” In her review of the book, O’Brien gave insight into the plot of “Naked Joy.” "Enter the quirky, beguiling world of “Naked Joy” where an eccentric cast of characters is waiting to delight, charm and occasionally horrify..."
Steve Briglia is the Vienna Town Attorney and former Interim Mayor and Town Council Member. Briglia gave high praise to Baker when he reviewed her book: "Readers who grew up, live, or were ever stationed in the D.C. area will easily relate to Nan's life experiences.... those not familiar with the D.C. area would surely and incredulously say, ‘Oh yeah right.’ Sure, Nan worked as a surveillance agent... I especially loved the chapters of Nan's life in Vienna, as it is a quiet small town that occasionally makes international news."
TO FIND OUT why the book is named “Naked Joy,” prospective readers can meet the author on Friday, Sept. 8, 70 p.m. at Bards Alley, in Vienna at 110 Church Street. “Naked Joy” is available as a paperback ($14.95) and hardcover ($25.95). The book can also be purchased through Amazon.