Monday, May 6, 2013

You Can't Put A Price On Everything

It goes without saying that "the best things in life are free," and that's true with being an author. There are a lot of perks to writing that I hadn't couldn't on. While the money I've made so far is somewhere between working as a child laborer in China and working at the lowest entry job at Walmart, the rewards are endless. Here's a few from the last month. On April 12th, I had a fantastic time at Deseret Book for Ladies Night. I signed a stack of books for customers and looked like a real author. The next week I had a launch party with my friend Cami Checketts at the Book Table in Logan. There I signed a   pre-paid book for one of my high school English teachers Melodee Lambert, one of the people who contributed to my becoming an author. She started a class at Orem High where we chose our own subjects and created our own units on the subject. Writing and reading were big parts of the class. Then she would write comments all over our papers. Stuff like, "way to go," "love this," "keep it up" and so on. I haven't seen her in about thirty-five years. The book was mailed to her. I hope to see her in person soon.

Last month, I also drove down to Ogden and had dinner with three older sisters originally from Grouse Creek. Two of the three had an experience that I used as a springboard for my book Sun Tunnels and Secrets. After Dinner, we went to a book club. Most of these delightful women were of a certain age. Besides one or two I was the youngest there. Each and everyone of the women had read Sun Tunnels and loved it. I got to sign copies for them at the end. I got to hear the real story that started my mind churning from the women who had lived it. It was fun to hear the sisters quibble about the details and it reminded me of the fictional characters in my book. All of them wanted to read my other books. I received a beautiful hand-crocheted bookmark from the hostess. The women made me feel like the book was one of their favorites of all time.
 Then on April 19th, I had a slightly uncomfortable experience which ended up being pretty great. I arrived at a bookstore in SLC for a signing, only to find out that they did not realize I was coming, had not ordered the books, and I had tweeted and put it on Facebook. My editor hurried and brought me some books. It was fun to visit her. And I got to see my kids who hurried up with dinner so they could see me at the store. Then I only had one person come from my advertising and that one person was worth the trip and the humiliation. I taught junior high for one year in Pleasant Grove. Rebecca Liddle Smith was one of my students and recently found me on Facebook. We've exchanged a few letters and she showed up at my signing and bought Poaching Daisies. It's been so much fun to meet her, all grown up, talented, and beautiful. I had to admit to her that I only remembered one student's name from that difficult year and that was the name of a student who had given me trouble. I remember saying to him, "I'll never forget you," and I haven't. I guess the moral of that story is to be exceptional if you want a teacher to remember you. Either be exceptionally rowdy or exceptionally good. Funny though, that year I only remembered one disruptive student. After the one person signing, we went out for ice cream with our son's family.
 Then last but not least, about ten years ago I began a book club. The group has changed some faces over the years, but some have been with me from the very start. They are a sensational group of smart and interesting women and for the most part of similar political bent. For a while, I was the youngest in the group, but then we invited my cousin and she is five years younger. Anyway today we met to discuss my book. It was fun to hear how much they enjoyed the characters, the setting (Yellowstone) and the twists in the story. My cousin read me an email her mother Emma Lou Thayne. "Dear Carole, You make me very proud. Last night I read until 2 am to finish your powerful story of believable people in Yellowstone in on high adventure. What an accomplishment, dear talented niece, to bring them into settings so real and obviously intimately known to you where they become characters we care about and root for even as we turn from page to page to find what in their wild world is going to draw them into what. To manage such tension as well as inviting caring for 300 plus pages is a praiseworthy feat. I send happy congratulations to you and hope for more, more. I wish we ever had a chance to really talk. My love to you and "old Aunt Lou" wishes for great success in your obviously well grounded and more than promising career as a fine writer. Emma Lou. I've received letters over the years from people who have read my books and believe me that writers really appreciate letters from readers. This one means a lot to me because Aunt Emma Lou is 87 and is one of the best writers on the planet, plus she's just one great woman and I've pleased to share her name if not her genetics (she's married to my dad's brother.) Last year she spoke to my group and it was so good. One of the best times our group has ever had. This photo is missing a few. Sometimes, I think life couldn't get any better. 

1 comment:

Josi said...

Such great things, and such a fabulous perspective. Writing is more about the journey it takes us on, regardless of how it affects our bank account. I appreciate the reminder to see these parts as equally valuable.