What an amazing weekend I’ve had so far! This Friday I was invited to speak at TC Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia. Later I signed books at Hooray for Books in Alexandria. Have I mentioned how much I love Alexandria? Having people listen to me talk about my book is a beautiful bonus, but I would spend time in Alexandria any day of the year. Full of smart, interesting, engaged people, Alexandria is where you go when you want to talk to other bookie and smart people.
I began the day at the high school, talking to students about my book. What an honor! They have a diverse student body and I loved hearing their perspective on my book. Some had read it, several won it in a series of raffles the school did and everyone was attentive and respectful. One even emailed me later to ask me if Seventeen Ways to Say I’m Leaving, a song I made up for the book, is a real song. I can’t describe how wonderful it is to know people are reading the book. When I described the book I’m currently writing, two boys said, “That sounds so good. I want to read that now!” There is nothing better a writer can hear.
Later I went to the bookstore that arranged the whole thing, Hooray 4 Books, and had a chance to chat with the booksellers there. Besides walking away with a TON of book recommendations (they are encyclopedias of wonderfulness!) I also got to see what hand book-selling looks like first-hand. For anyone worried that Barnes and Noble or Amazon are going to kill independent bookstores, head on over to Hooray 4 Books in Alexandria to see why it’s never going to happen.
After a full day of happy busy-ness, it was fully my intention to take the four-hour drive home to NJ. But I had woken up at 3:00 a.m. the morning before, unable to go back to sleep, plus it started pouring about an hour into my drive. On the spur of the moment, I pulled over in Maryland and decided to spend the night rather than power through. What a gift! It ignited in me a great desire to travel around the country on back roads to see more of what makes America unique.
This morning I found myself in North East, Maryland, a beautiful little town I would have never found had I not been too exhausted to keep driving. I found myself meandering and talking to many of its wonderful people. I bought a little sea glass necklace that ties in beautifully to the theme of my second book. Then I found the restaurant that the locals recommended, the delish Steak and Main, and had an amazing crab and asparagus bisque, as well as a crab melt (hey, it was Maryland. Crab was in order). I had a long and leisurely lunch reading Imperfect Spiral by Debbie Levy, the book that was recommended to me at Hooray for Books. And I marveled at the life I now get to lead.