Being invited to participate in events as an author is one of those surreal moments (you want ME to be there??). I recently was a "featured author" at the Safe Voices Grown Up Book Fair and I sold a lot of books. But truthfully, being at these events is about more than selling books. It's about meeting a wide range of interesting people.
Here are the highlights of my time at the Safe Voices Grown Up Book Fair:
Four members of a book club come to my table and all start complaining about the spinning wheel they use to choose their next book. They decided to "go rogue" and buy my book. I am so looking forward to hearing from them so I can visit with their book club.
A woman picks up my book and sees my family/birth name is Lafreniere. "Huh, my father's best man was named Lafreniere," she says. I just sat there in shock. The last time I saw this woman, she was a toddler and I was her babysitter, because her father and mother were close friends of my older brother. Lisa Legendre, thanks for the memories :)
Two young women come to look at my book display and somehow we get talking about St. Dom's, where I taught for many years. One woman and I go back and forth on if our paths crossed as student and teacher, and they did not. The other woman asks me if by any chance I know her stepmother, Ann Dehetre. "Yes, I've known Ann since my elementary school days at Holy Cross....and I know your father....and I know your mother...your uncles...your cousins...." We talked for so long that she actually forgot to pay me for the book - and CAME BACK.
The Turner Public Library had a beautiful display, featuring lots of blind date books. If you don't know what these are, go visit Courtney at Quiet City Books in Lewiston. She usually has a display going of these as well. Anyway, Cassandra, a trustee of the library, was so much fun to talk to and we bonded over a beautiful handmade journal she bought from another vendor. Have you seen the Turner Public Library tee -shirts that say "I got carded...."? I'm hoping to get one when I give a book talk there in March.
Chris Davis, author of Worthy, kept walking by, looking for an opportunity to talk. Finally, towards the end of the night, we connected again in person. Chris used to work at a bookstore where I did my first ever book signing, and she was so kind and welcoming that I will forever hold a place in my heart for her. Now, she's on an incredible journey with her new book, Worthy: The Memoir of an Ex-Mormon Lesbian.
A young woman approaches my table very quietly, takes her time perusing my display after giving me a shy hello. She decides to buy my book and proceeds to open her pocketbook, which is an actual vintage Beauty and the Beast book cover repurposed as the coolest pocketbook I've ever seen. These are all over the internet....so please, google away and enjoy my newest obsession.
Reviewing these highlights, I can't stop smiling. Being a writer can be a very isolating career, but now I see that selling books is the real prize. Not because I make a sale, but because I make a new connection. The world is full of gracious, funny, interesting people.