The Saints and Saintly Party
I stayed with old friends from our days of living in Lexington. Another weekend without a hotel; I’m getting spoiled by this life of mooching. Wednesday I spent the day at Mary Queen of the Holy Rosary School in Lexington, where my own children used to go to school. Now the building is new and I hardly recognized the end of the town where we used to live. I saw fourth and fifth grades Wednesday, and Thursday I visited the upper grades, 6-8. What a wonderful time! The school ......
Friday I drove around Lexington visiting libraries, private schools, academies, and the ice arena with an eye to my next release, Cracks in the Ice, that has ice skating as the plot line. My friend and angel hostess, Mary Jo Votruba, listed all my stops chronologically by neighborhood, and with the help of my dear GPS traveling companion, I slipped around town like I actually knew where I was. Mary Jo and I even had time to visit the botanical garden later that afternoon. We enjoyed the wonderful gardens decorated for Halloween.
On Saturday and Sunday I left at dawn for Perryille for the Civil War reenactment. This reenactment has been named one of the top ten events in America. But it was exciting for me for a different reason. A fourth grade girl saw my table display with the Avery books, and exclaimed, “Those are my favorite books! I love them. At our library we’re going to have a Halloween party. It’s called Saints and Saintly Party. You can dress up as a saint, or you can dress up as your favorite book character. But he has to be saintly; he can’t be evil or mean or ugly and no bullies can come. I’m going as Claire!” I wasn’t sure if she meant Saint Clare, or if she meant my Claire, Claire McDougal from the Avery books. But, she continued, and then I knew. “I’ve got some curly red hair and I’m wearing my mom’s old nursing cap. We made me a apron out of a pillow case and we’re putting hamburger juice on it. Then I’ll be the saintly nurse Claire!” She was jumping up and down with excitement. Me too. I was jumping for joy inside my skin. I hadn’t set out to sell a million books. But I had set out to create saintly characters kids would love and want to emulate.
I wondered where she’d gotten the Avery books; I hadn’t thought to ask her. This was my first trip to Perryville. But on my drive home I relived that scene and realized her dad stood behind her. On the breast pocket of his shirt was a logo that said Powell County Youth Soccer Association. Last March I’d attended the Powell County, Kentucky, School Book Fair. (Blogpost, Sept 19, 2013, School Days) I’d been so impressed that the schools in Powell County had done such an amazing job. So, this girl lived in Powell County. One never knows. Most authors I know would never have accepted that invitation to Powell County. It was a long drive, it was one evening only, a “local” event, in a poor county and not much chance to make money. One never knows. And that’s why I always try to accept every invitation I receive. My marketing advice is don’t ever discount the importance of an inquiry. Treat everyone as if it’s going to land you a movie contract.