Here’s to the lazy days of summer. Plenty of time to get outside, relax with a good book and escape into another world for just a little while. And that is just how one Elfster group will be spending its summer as they celebrate the author they love by exchanging creative and inspired gifts based on the main character of her latest novel, as “broken” as she may be.
According to Elfster exchange organizer Serena Knautz, the exchange participants are avid fans of Tarryn Fisher, who is the author of 7 novels and has made both the New York Times and USA Today bestseller list multiple times. “Between Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, she has close to 50,000 followers,” Serena explains. “She has a very devoted fan base and in a conversation with some of her readers, she called them Passionate Little Nutcases and from there, her readers took the name and ran with it. They made t-shirts and started calling themselves ‘Tarryn Fisher’s Passionate Little Nutcases.’ Our Facebook group, Tarryn Fisher’s Passionate Little Nutcases, was started almost a year ago as a place for her fans to gather, discuss her books and interact with her on a more personal level. To date, we have 3,000 members and continue to receive daily requests for fans to join the group. Within the group, I have started an Elfster event and we have 500 members who have joined that event and have or are currently participating in the exchanges.”
And for these book lovers, it’s all about creativity inspired by the author in this gift exchange. “When she was in Australia for a signing, [Tarryn Fisher] came across wrapped books at a bookstore and on the outside, they gave clues to the book inside,” Serena says. “It’s known as a ‘blind date with a book.’ She loved the idea and wanted to do something similar in her fan group, so I started the first exchange and had people choose their favorite book and send to their elf. It was such a hit that we have started doing exchanges every couple of months.”
“Elfster has made it so easy and fun for us to do these exchanges,” she adds. “The current one is based on her new book, Marrow. We try to theme the exchanges and this one is all things Margo (the main character) and things from the book. With each exchange, the creativity of the wrapping and gifts increases and it is so much fun to participate and also see what everyone is getting.”
According to Serena, Tarryn’s first trilogy (The Opportunist, Dirty Red and Thief) is considered Contemporary Romance, while her more recent novels, Mud Vein and Marrow, are considered Suspense/Psychological Thrillers. Tarryn is also co-writing the Never Never series of romantic suspense novels with Colleen Hoover.
“Tarryn has a dark writing style that is beautiful and unique,” she says. “Her words are poetic and they make you feel what the characters feel. She draws you in from the first page and you are hooked you can’t put the book down until you are finished reading it. Then you sleep on it, wake up and start reading it all over again.”
“Most of her readers have read each of her books multiple times. She writes in a way that everything has meaning and when you read the book again, you pick up on things you might have missed the first time around,” Serena adds. “She has readers who have tattooed her words on their body. Readers can relate because she writes characters who are real and broken. Her fans will tell you that her books hurt, but in a good way. We keep coming back for more because there are not many authors out there like her and as soon as she releases a book, we stop whatever we are doing and read it.”
And Serena encourages her group members to be committed to sending out their packages on time and to take advantage of Elfster’s messaging features to help them get to know each other better. “We ask that those who participate use the anonymous question features to ask questions and get to know their elf, as well update their wish list to give their elf an idea of things that they might like or want to receive.”
“We love the anonymous question/message feature because it makes it easy to connect with our person without giving our identity away until we send out our gift,” Serena says. “I also love that I can click on my current pick for an exchange and see questions she has answered in the past, so I already know a few things about her and can surprise her with a gift that might not be related to the exchange.”
“As a group, we love participating in the Elfster exchanges,” she says. “People are posting daily in the Facebook group about the gifts they buying or having made for their person. Everyone puts so much time and love into their gifts. By doing these exchanges, we are starting to get to know each other a little better. Most of us have never met but we talk daily in the Facebook group.”
Serena says Tarryn “genuinely loves her readers and enjoys getting to know them. She encourages giving back and when someone in the group needs a pick-me-up, she might randomly send them a gift in the mail or a message on Facebook to let them know that she is thinking about them.”
“When one of our members mentioned she wanted to go to a signing to meet Tarryn, but didn’t think she was going to be able to go, as a group, we raised money to pay for her airfare and she is now going to get to meet Tarryn in person,” Serena adds. “We are there for one another and we lift each other up. And we are all there because we all love Tarryn and her books. It sounds crazy, but we are one big PLN family. Tarryn inspires each of us and it shows on a daily basis in the group.”
The elves at Elfster look forward to seeing these Passionate Little Nutcases for their next exchange to celebrate their favorite author with another creative theme.
Are you a part of a group with a passion for creativity? We would love to hear how your group is using Elfster, too. You can reach us via Facebook here. Tweet us @elfster or catch us on Instagram at #elfstergram.