Last night I hung out with a great bunch of girls in a beautiful home built in 1893. Girl Scout Troop #6493 invited friends, moms, teachers, and a dad to join us in that grand house atop the hill for an evening of book talk, bookmark making, and cookies and lemonade.
I’ve always loved talking with readers. In the past, it was through my role as an editor of the books they’d loved. Now, I get to talk to them about the book I’d written. They thanked me for coming, but the the biggest thanks were from me to them, for inviting me. I don’t think they know just how cool it is to have people excited about your book. Well, for now they don’t–I wouldn’t be surprised if some day some of these girls were writing books of their own. They were a bright and creative group.
Before I walked in their door, they’d made bookmarks for themselves and for me. And they had a homemade poster on the wall, featuring Honk If You Hate Me‘s cover, surrounded by their favorite bumper sticker sayings from the book: On the Other Hand . . . You Have Different Fingers; Be the Change You Wish to See in the World; Control Your Destiny or Someone Else Will; I Got Out of Bed For This? And they’d hunted down the actual bumper sticker for Well-behaved Women Rarely Make History, plus two more: Literary Diva and Got Triplets? They were wonderful hosts.
Of course the feature topic for the evening was Honk If You Hate Me, which they’d all read, but they also wanted to know about bookmaking and storytelling, too. Where had I gotten the ideas for things in Honk? What role did the editor play in the final book? Who came up with the cover? How was a book made? And my favorite topic: How could they become writers or editors themselves one day?
Ultimately, that’s what talking with readers comes down to for me, encouraging the love of reading, writing, storytelling. Important people did that for me, and I want to do that for others. As a friend of mine wrote about in her famous book, it’s a great and humble thing to be able to “Pay it Forward.”