Last week was a whirlwind in the best of ways. I gave a speech, visited three schools, attended two book signing parties, and wound up the weekend with the South Carolina Book Festival. The best part of it all was that I ran into so many friends along the way!
First stop: Speaking at the Georgia Young Authors Awards in Clarkesville Georgia! Georgia Young Authors is a wonderful program that recognizes young authors from kindergarten through twelfth grade. I was able to stay with my University of Georgia college roommate, Joy Purcell, while visiting — a fabulous perk.
Next stop: Level Grove Elementary where I talked about the ideas behind my books and answered questions for a select group of girls who had read and enjoyed THE BOY PROJECT. One of those girls recommended that we visit her mom’s cupcake shop, Sugartopia, since THE BOY PROBLEM has a cupcake theme. (We couldn’t resist, and I’m glad! We had the best key lime cupcakes ever there.)
An hour later I was speaking to kindergarten through fifth graders at Hazel Grove Elementary. With the younger students, we discussed how authors use details to create character. Luckily, I had some willing models for my discussion. (Could this little girl be any cuter? I let her keep the clown nose, not thinking it a good idea to have different kids putting something on their noses. Then noticed immediately after the presentation that kids were lining up to try on the nose from her. Oh well!)
The next morning it was off to Greenville, SC, where my family and I lived for four happy years, and to Stone Academy where my own children used to go to school! It isn’t uncommon for students to ask about author pay. I usually answer with an example using tens, without, of course, speaking to the actual dollar amount I have earned with my books. So I said something like “If an a book costs ten dollars, and the author gets ten percent of that amount, how much money does he or she earn after 10,000 books are sold?” To which someone shouted “A hundred thousand dollars!” All I could think to say was, “How I wish your calculations were correct.” 🙂 This entrepreneurial group also wanted to know how big my house was, if I am famous enough to be recognized in stores by strangers (no!), and if, since I wouldn’t tell them the actual amount I have earned, if I could at least share the amount of my BIGGEST check.
I got other great questions from them too, but they aren’t as entertaining to share!
From there I headed to my former neighbor and Nerdy Chick Nancy Kennedy’s house to ice red velvet cupcakes for the book signing parties. I must be getting pretty good at icing cupcakes because someone at the first event, held at the best-titled bookstore around (Fiction Addiction) asked me if the cupcakes were real.
I remember once hearing New York Times Best Selling author Bret Lott say that he didn’t like book signings. He told a story about a time his publisher flew him around the country, and even then sometimes no one came to the signings, and once he was even asked to hold someone’s dog. So when our former pediatrician came in with her dog, I had to pose with it in the hopes that holding a dog in a bookstore at a book signing event might bring me one step closer to Bret Lott’s success.
At this point both my camera and phone batteries were dead, so I go NO pics of the wine and cheese party hosted by Nancy later that night that many of my good friends from my Greenville days attended. But it was so much fun! Nancy even found Red Velvet (Cupcake brand) wine to go with the red velvet cupcakes.
When I woke up the next morning it was Thursday. Where had the time gone? So I packed up, stopped to visit a few more friends, and headed to Camden SC where, after dinner with my brother and his family, I prepared for The South Carolina Book Festival. But it looks like that will have to be a separate blog post! Too much information to share at once.
Takeaway from last week: Visiting schools always introduces me to new perspectives that make me happy! Visiting with long-time friends makes me happy! So being an author makes me happy! Great week!