Yeah, by now some of you are thinking I was living the fairy tale. Right? And in some ways, I suppose I was. I did sell my first book—twice! I know many writers with loads of talent who worked for many years and many books before they sold a book. I wrote one novel in 1981 and another in 1982, sold them in 1983, and saw them both published in early 1984.
Boise was much smaller then than it is today. A local girl (a native, no less) having her first book published was news. A reporter came out to interview me. The photographer took pictures of me sitting in front of the typewriter I had bought about six months before. They did a half-page spread about me and my upcoming book signing. Heady, unbelievable experiences.
The Saturday of my first ever book signing arrived, along with an ice storm that had TV reporters saying people should stay home if at all possible. Off I went, along with my mother and a good friend. The bookstore had punch and cookies. My mom and friend sat with me. (Wow, things were so different back when there were all those independent booksellers!) The store had 200 copies of my books. I didn’t know how unusual that was for a first time author. And besides, I was scared no one would come due to the weather.
I was wonderfully wrong. They came. Family came. Co-workers came. Old friends and new friends came. Women from my mom’s Bible study group came. (Mom kept patting hands and saying, “Ignore the cover. It’s a nice, clean book.”) Even my first grade teacher came. The store sold 150 copies of my book. I have had some good signings in my career, but none were ever quite as thrilling as that first one.
Yeah, I was living the fairy tale.