Writers are supposed be curmudgeons. They wear tweed jackets. They work at prestigious universities and live in lonely houses with too many cats (a fantastic, brilliant and hilarious parody of this is Michael Chabon's Wonder Boys). Most of all, they despise when ordinary mortals bother them...all of which, in 92.9 percent of the cases is absolutely not true. Writers write for readers. Emailing authors on their websites to extend an invitation to come to your book group isn't rude, it's a compliment. If that doesn't work, try the publicist of their publishing house. In cases of long distance, it can be tricky or expensive to work out a visit (yet another reason to support regional writers), but you never know. At the very least, you may just get the most exquisitely penned thank-you note you've read.