In a whirlwind trip, I meet some extraordinary women both in Mississippi and in Atlanta. Out to dinner with 7 lovely southern ladies – honestly there’s no other way to describe these women! – one of them – oh, her name fills the air – Camille – leans in to ask me if there’s anything else interesting about my life – other than medical speech pathology – and because we are in a social rather than business setting – I tell them I’m a novelist. And the curiosity is sparked – several women want to know what I write. Odd to me that the word novelist does not conjure thoughts of fiction in people’s minds – not just these southern lady minds, but minds everywhere. I hear the same question, “Do you make your books up?” In my head, I hear, “Yes, they’re fiction.” Of course, I’m more polite and say, “Yes, I make up stories. I love to write.”
Camille and one particular lady promise to look up my books. Most times, these are idle promises but it’s still nice to imagine. And one never knows.
In Atlanta, I have a long unexpected layover. On the B concourse is BUCKHEAD BOOKS which includes the Intermezzo Cafe – very nice. I manage to procure a seat at a marble wraparound shelf with comfortable tall chairs with the waitstaff’s permission. Just as I am waiting for my menu, a woman approaches, puts her things down near me and promptly asks me if I need a menu. I nod; she walks to the cash register cubby. When she comes back, I ask, “Do you work here?” She says, “I’m the owner.”
Immediately – less than the time it takes for you to read this – I say, “I’m going to take a chance.” I reach into my handbag – which I only carry on trips – pull out both my Facebook card (courtesy of Moo.com) and my DooRFrame Books card (via Vistaprint). I tell her I’m a novelist, look around at her shelves full of new books and say, “But of course I’m self-published.” She says sometimes she carries self-published works. So, I hand her my cards. She also promises to “take a look at your books.”
Next, once Deb – the owner of BUCKHEAD BOOKS – leaves, I meet Charlie a woman from my hometown. We are both on the long layover. She also loves to write and promises to look up my books. She also gives me a story to tell but I give it back to her. I tell Charlie her story is one she needs to write.