October is a very busy month! I’m on a blog tour and two book tours! Squuee. Last Friday night was a big one for me. It was like going to a new school, in a way. I had never talked about my writing to a group of teens and parents before. But, the West Linn library couldn’t have been more welcoming.
I was so nervous that morning that my friends Bonnie and Sheylain, who hostess and waitress at the Portland Holiday Inn at PDX, where I live right now, gave me a big pep talk and told me I’d be fine. Evan Charles, the hotel general manager, put a smile on my face when he told me I’d be great. I stood and practiced my little ten to fifteen minute talk about “The magic of magical realism” in front of my full length mirror in our home/hotel room. Over. And over. The afternoon before our talk with the teens at the West Linn Library we set up our booth at Wordstock. I’ve never gone to a show as an exhibitor before, so it was nice to set-up with fast-friends, Angela Carlie and Stacey Wallace Benefiel, who I’d only known online before that day. All was quiet at the Portland Convention Center the day before Wordstock. Setting up the booth was fun and fast. Angela’s extra table came in handy. Lisa Nowak made up posters for us too, which looked awesome! I said I’d pick up some cookies in the morning to have on hand for the show.
On my way back home to The Holiday Inn to get ready for the talk at the library, in addition to getting all turned around and lost in Portland, there was something about ripping off the hose at a gas pump at a gas station. Woops! I was not myself at all. And I was even more nervous. And before I knew it, Angela was picking me up to go to the library just as my husband was flying into town to be a friendly face in the audience. But when I got to the library Elaine, a librarian, and Rebecca, the event coordinator, were so interested in all of us and the stories we tell. Right off the bat they offered us some fun swag!
And it happened. I calmed down. Immediately. Something about Elaine’s sweet smile and relaxed attitude washed all my worries away. Our talk was at 6:30 and when it came and went and there were a few teens roaming the halls outside our meeting space Elaine said, “We’re on West Linn time.” Which we all laughed about. We thought if no one came, then we’d just go down the road to a restaurant and hang out. You see, we were speaking after the library had closed and the night of the local high school’s Homecoming dance. We knew the turnout might be light. But, one by one lots of teens came. And not only did they come, they had lots of wonderful questions. I was the last to speak and other than a case of serious, epic Sahara dry mouth I did fine. In fact, afterwards I sold many copies of 13 on Halloween and got to talk with so many great teens, which was the highlight of my night. We laughed about Roxie’s special language and they shared some of their stories with me. It was wonderful. I loved meeting their moms too. And I think the icing on the cake was when Elaine came up to me and said, “You’ve found your calling.” I will always remember Elaine’s kind words and the special night I had here at the West Linn Library as part of such a wonderful program called First Fridays For Teens. I love happy endings.