Saturday night was book signing night at BookPeople in Austin. What a thrill.
This was my fifth book signing, but it was special because of the location. Driving to the bookstore for the event I was reminded that much of the book takes place less than a mile from where the bookstore is located at 6th and Lamar, near where I lived from birth until I was about nine years old. That seems young, but I have many memories of the area, especially the time when we lived on West 9 1/2 Street. That's where our house backed up to the Clarksville area, which at the time was a Black neighborhood. In my novel, Where Love Once Lived, George McCullough, the 78-year old Black man, has my memories of the time when I lived there.
The book signing was also special because it was my first in Austin and I got to see some old friends. It was a rainy Saturday night so I didn't expect many people to venture out. I was surprised by the number who did. I only wish I had had more time to talk to some of the friends I hadn't seen in years.
I was paired with another local author, Jennifer Hritz, and we were given 15 to 20 minutes to talk about our book or read an excerpt. After that time, we met with the audience and signed books.
I spoke first and told about how the idea for the book first came to me while driving a bookmobile back in the 1960's, and how the story changed as I took writing classes. I then read the beginning of the book up to the point where Karen takes her class to the bookmobile for the first time. Next, I read the Great Chase scene. I was pleased the chase scene provoked some laughter because I meant it to be funny. Afterward, I told them the main reason for the chase scene was to knock some books to the floor, but I didn't tell them why.
BookPeople is the largest independent bookstore in Texas, and we had an audience of at least 30 people. Many well-known authors schedule stops there. Earlier in the day, Patton Oswalt had drawn a large crowd when he talked about his book, Zombie Spaceship. If you don't know who he is, perhaps you'll remember him as Spence in The King of Queens.
All in all it was a wonderful night.