It's hard to describe the feeling I had all day on Tuesday, on the one hand it felt like the wait had been so long that it was hard to
believe it was finally here, on the other, I had the feeling that it had all happened too quickly. Was I ready? Would it do well? How would it feel to add "published author" to my evolving story?
I was worried and understandably so. Anyone who has ever seen a dream realized knows it is one thing to work and plan for something, it is a whole different thing to step into it and experience it with joy and acceptance. You see, I didn't just want to get through the book launch, I wanted to be present and to feel the enormity of the moment.
I did. And man was it intense!
The evening started with me arriving at the same time as my friend Jane and both of us looking at the window display FILLED with copies of The Last Bridge. Within
seconds, my friend Gwyn and my niece Cameron came up and snapped a picture of me in front of the bookstore. Please note the smile, this is a real one not one of my fake, I'm trying to be happy in spite of all the pressure I'm feeling smiles.
The Corner Bookstore is the kind of bookstore you wish was on...well...every corner. It's just big enough to hold enough books for you
to actually browse through and with a team that cares about the books and their customers you feel like someone has already whittled down your choices for you. I am happy to say that although the bookstore is the perfect size for books, it was almost too small to hold all the well wishers who came to christen the launch of the book.
Chairs were setup in two columns with an aisle down the middle, and although I was a few minutes early the seats were already filling up. Lenny, the owner of the bookstore, walked me through the evening and asked me if everyone I was expecting was there. I looked out into the room and saw so many friends and colleagues from work, fellow writers
from workshops and writing groups who read hundreds of versions of the book, friends (or sisters!) of friends from high school, my agent and the full JVNLA support team!, my editors, publicist and marketing peeps from Random House and my large extended family!
Lenny introduced me and as I stood in front of the mic I felt all my worry slip away. The expression, "you are among friends," was never more true than standing in front of that crowd. Honestly, if you could bottle that support we could change the world by dinner on Sunday.
For the launch I decided I wanted to read one of my favorite scenes from the book, the dinner visit with the Igby's. I love it because I think it sums up Cat's real nature, her drinking, her humor and her difficulty assimilating her past, and I love Ruth Igby as she is truly a nosy neighbor.
Central casting couldn't have filled the room with a better crowd, they laughed at all the right spots (some I didn't even realize were funny) and sighed at the end when a critical piece of information is revealed.
The questions were fun. I was asked if I thought about making The Last Bridge into a movie and I joked that there was no way I would consider it. I was also asked about the editorial process, where I got the story from and what I was currently working on.
Lenny wrapped up the reading portion of the reception and asked everyone to fold up their chairs so we could mingle and then the book signing began. I have to admit that I was so excited that I had to ask a lot of people, people I have known for many, many years to spell their names for me before I signed their book. I was so afraid I would spell it wrong (and hope I didn't!)
In case you need more proof of how great my supporters are, this will seal the deal. Many, many people bought more than one copy of the book. In fact, they bought every single copy of The
Last Bridge in the store, including the ones that were on display in the front window. Including my own author copy I brought to read from!!
As the evening was winding down, I looked up from signing to see a tall handsome man come into the store. He looked a lot like my brother, Patrick but I knew it couldn't have been him, as he was in Michigan that day at a board meeting, still this man looked A LOT like my brother. I looked at my sister, my friends Gina and Donna and from the look on their faces I knew it was him. Although he would not go into detail about how he managed it, he left his meeting in Michigan and got to the event with minutes to spare. In an evening of highlights, that was a major high point! (Okay I'll admit it, it made me cry.)
Lenny helped us coordinate getting a table at a nearby restaurant to continue the celebration (what other bookstore do you know will do that for you????) I landed home late in the evening and had a hard time falling asleep (okay I'm still pretty high from the whole thing!)
It is not possible to fully describe the emotion of the evening except to say this, I cannot imagine a first book getting more love than The Last Bridge did and well, as a published author now, I'm pretty sure that spells success.
(That's Mom, bro-in-law Giuseppe, niece Sophia, sister Tami, yours truly and brother Patrick.)
There are no pictures of my friend Catherine as she was the one who took all these great photos (check out the slide show to the right for the full set!)