It was late–within an hour or so of closing–and I overheard some customers in the children’s aisle talking about the National Book Festival. I had forgotten that the big book festival in DC was the same weekend the SFWA had me scheduled at their booth in Baltimore…but when America decides to have a Book Week, it’s inevitable that these things happen.
Things were slow in the store that night, so I turned to Kilian and said, “I’m going to be nosy,” and I went over to talk to this lovely, animated family. I hadn’t done any research on the DC book festival, so I didn’t know who was going to be there, but I’d been once before in the past. The authors are usually Very Big Names, and the queues for book signings are usually Very Long Lines.
So I went over to these folks to ask about who would be at the DC festival, who the adults and the children were looking forward to seeing, and…I’ll be honest…just to be excited about books in general. Sharing book love is never a bad thing.
In the main, I’m leery of telling customers that I’m an author. I don’t want them to feel pressured, or get the impression that I work at a bookstore just to sell copies of my book. You’d probably be shocked to know how many copies of AlphaOops I’ve sold without ever mentioning that I wrote it. I’m like Clark Kent, Secret Agent. (They’re all pre-signed, of course, with “Autographed by Author” stickers on them, so no worries in that department.)
The only reason I mentioned my writing to Kristin, once we got to talking, was because she had just told me about a local indie bookstore called One More Page that catered more to up-and-coming authors than the Big Shot Wonders of DC Book Festival caliber. I said that it sounded right up my alley, and then (since they asked) showed them one of the few copies of AlphaOops: H is for Halloween that we’ve been able to bring into the store.
I was telling Kristin about my sordid writing career, and she was telling me about her Coastal Conversations book blog, when 5-year-old Lorelei piped up and said, “Mommy, is that my book?”
Well, yes. Of COURSE it was! I signed it to her right then and there. She was so happy. I rang up their purchases and wished them well and sent them off to a good night’s rest before our respective days of Book Festival Adventure.
Lorelei totally made my night (even after some guy came in at the 11th hour and yelled at me because the computers won’t let anyone return a book without a receipt. Ah, the joys of retail).
The coolest part about this whole meeting–hooray for moms who keep blogs!–is that you can pop on over to Coastal Conversations and read Kristin & Lorelai’s account of what happened that night. There are also a couple of short video clips of Lorelei with her favorite new book.
I will treasure these forever. Thank goodness for the internet. And thank goodness for Lorelei! It is meeting people like her that make me remember why I do what I do, against all odds, to bring a little bit more sunshine into this world.
[Side Note: Many people ask me whether or not Candlewick will do an AlphaOops: Christmas book. Unfortunately, I know about as much as you do. If you or your children would like to email Candlewick and ask them yourselves, please do! bigbear (at) candlewick.com]