Yesterday, I partnered up with my wonderfully extroverted friend, Marion, at the mall in the nearby community of Port Hardy. We rented adjacent tables, and she sold her beautiful, handcrafted scarfs and hats, and I sold my book.
What an experience. I wish you could meet Marion. She knows everyone there is to know in Port Hardy. She called people over to the table and introduced, “her writer friend, Fran.” She told everyone she was reading the book, and it was fantastic. People she regularly has coffee with at a local diner, gathered around to talk and even buy a book.
I heard all about a new phenomenon in Port Hardy – wind mill guys (but there are also gals). A large wind farm is being installed on Knob Hill, near Cape Scott on the Northern tip of Vancouver Island. The project employs a lot of people from far and wide. Marion’s friend pointed a few of them out to me as they cruised through the mall on their way to the local grocery store. She nodded knowingly and said, “Wind mill guys”. She told of a fellow who showed up at the local Legion’s turkey dinner wearing a pair of $3000.00 shoes. She gave another sage nod. “A wind mill guy.”
(One of the windmill blades being moved across the highway outside of Port Hardy on route to the site)
My writer’s imagination went wild with thoughts of a book about what happens to a small community when an influx of wind mill guys blow into town.
I chatted with a woman who is writing her own book with surprisingly similar themes. Thank the stars I have read widely because I was able to talk knowledgeably about various books people mentioned that they were currently reading. I had a chance to catch up with a woman I have known forever. She was in the mall with her oldest daughter and two adorable grandchildren. She bought a book and then her daughter bought one, as well.
People stopped and talked about health concerns, the local council, and the previous night’s very wild and crazy event at a local pub that featured a Newfoundland band.
I also heard a captivating story about some guys someone had once met who had been hauling a load of bathtubs across the prairies. They had some engine trouble and ended up stranded in a small town waiting for a part. One thing led to the other, and they were still there three days later. There was a heat wave going on, and a local blues festival had the camp grounds overloaded. The enterprising men had unloaded the bathtubs and set them up in a row by the river. They were filling them up and selling baths. According to the storyteller, people had lined up around the bend, dropping their towels by the open-air tubs and hopping right in. Only on the Canadians prairies, you might well conclude that. Once again my imagination was working overtime thinking about how I could work that story into a book sometime.
For my first public appearance to promote and sell my book, it went exceptionally well. I was thrilled with the way the book looked, copies of it stacked on the table. I enjoyed talking about the fact that I had written a novel and what it was about. I loved watching and interacting with “the locals” – remembering that I am a North Islander, too. It was delightful to ask people, “Did you want me to sign your copy?” And having them respond, “Of course.”
One comment about my photos for the event – I brought my camera with every intention of getting all kinds of terrific candid shots. I only took two pictures, and those were when we were setting up. If you want pictures of any event, don’t imagine you will have the time to take them yourself. Make sure you assign the task of taking photos to someone else. Lesson learned and noted.
Thank you, Marion and thank you Port Hardy for a great day!
(Photo of me on Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles, enjoying the best ever Margarita. I felt this happy last night. I offer up a toast to everyone who made me first book outing so great.)