Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Making Some Memories

With the release of Murder at Honeychurch Hall in May, I’ve spent the last few weeks traveling around the country and doing everything I can to promote my book. Does it make a difference? Honestly … I don’t know … but I’ve certainly made a lot of new friends and—as they say in LA, “made some memories.”

The last time I went to Clues Unlimited in Tucson, Arizona I was a new author out touting my first book, A Vicky Hill Exclusive! It was six years ago in 2008. I was young, green and very enthusiastic. The owner, Chris Acevado, was so sweet and knew I was nervous so she suggested I team up with Sophie who was having a birthday and was incredibly popular with her readers. To say I was thrilled was putting it mildly. It meant people would come.

By then, I’d done a handful of book signings and grown rather discouraged at the sparse amount of attendees who of course, had never heard of me. I duly spent all my hard-earned dollars on a round-trip flight to Tucson and when the day came, the store was packed with people. I was excited! A real book event at last! So you can imagine my astonishment when I discovered that the Sophie in question wasn’t another author. It wasn’t even another person.

Sophie was the store mascot and she was a huge pot-bellied pig!

Chris was right. Sophie indeed, attracted a gazillion fans. Photos were taken. Autographs were signed … but I didn't sell a single book and spent most of my time directing people to the bathroom. The icing on the cake was that Chris thought a photograph of her "stars" was in order. We posed—at least I did—but just as the camera flashed … Sophie turned around and presented her spectacular, hairy bottom for posterity.

So it was with some trepidation that I returned last Friday to the very same bookstore with my new series—and a pound of delicious acorns. But, much to my disappointment, Sophie had passed away in 2012 at the age of 12. Fortunately, there was still a good turnout tempted by the yummy cupcakes (I ate four) and iced tea that Chris so thoughtfully provided. Of course, the added incentive was the presence of Kate Carlisle and Jenn McKinlay. The three of us really had a lot of fun. 

In an age where independent bookstores are diminishing by the day, I feel it’s important for authors to lend their support regardless of mascots or cupcakes. I love meeting readers (and pot-bellied pigs). One very kind reader (thank you Jennifer Cannon Doorenbos) treated Kate, Jenn and me each to an “Egee” (a sort of slushy, Tucson-style) for our 140-mile drive back to Phoenix airport.

You can’t beat the personal touch. Ever. It’s not the same as interacting on Facebook or via email. … although I’m not sure what to do with all these acorns.  
If you're interested in donating to the Ironwood Pot-bellied Pig Sanctuary, here is the link. Cute, aren't they? 


Donis Casey said...

I'm heading down to Clues next month. I've been there many times. Sometimes I have a big crowd and sometimes I feel like I'm just down there for the change of scenery, but Chris (who is now Chris Burke, BTW) has always been very supportive of me and authors in general and I'd never willingly miss the opportunity to go down. I've never done a program with the pig, but I've shared the stage with a couple of rescued racing Greyhounds.

Hannah Dennison said...

Yes - there was a greyhound there last Friday - I think her name is Bosco. Such a dear dog ... hope you have a great book signing ... and definitely cupcakes! Thanks for the heads up on Chris (as I mentioned ... it had been a rather long time ago!)

Eileen Goudge said...

I think all writers have a book-signing-from-hell story. I have many. Suffice it to say, the worst wasn't the one where no one showed up. It helps to have a sense of humor, which you clearly do, Vicky. As for Sophie the pig, may she rest in peace.