First, let me start with the day before. My dear friend and critique partner, Dana Rodgers and I headed to Boonsboro, Maryland, where Nora Roberts husband's bookstore is located. What a drive. It was gorgeous, the storms from the night before were fading away. And in the midst of my celebrating, let's all remember the families of those who lost so much. Such a tragic thing.
But this trip had been planned for a long time, so we arrived in Boonsboro. Turn the Page is a small, quaint bookstore owned by Bruce Wilder, Nora's husband. Across the street is Inn Boonsboro, Nora's gorgeous Inn, with each room named after the characters from a great story. It was incredible. The rooms, the décor…the toilets. They did everything from open by themselves to drying your nether regions, after washing them of course, and I’m not kidding. The Inn was gorgeous. The picture above is the back of the Inn. The front is so near the street, they don't really use the doors.
Inside our room, the Jane and Rochester, there was a copy of Awaken the HighlandWarrior waiting, with a letter asking if I could please take a moment to sign it for the Inn's library. "Oh, I think so, Nora." And there was a bag of heather-scented bath goodies for me. We roamed the inn, checking out the library and dining room before heading outside. I've never seen a place like Boonsboro. It was a cute, small town. I've seen cute, small towns before, but no matter what store we entered, they treated us with amazing hospitality. That evening, we met some wonderful fans who were staying at the Inn. They had flown in from Florida and Chicago just to meet Nora. We spent some time together laughing and talking, and now they're fans of mine as well as beta readers.
On the day of the signing, a short, adorable woman popped into the dining room with the
announcement that, "They kissed. It's done." We had no idea what she was talking about until she mentioned the royal wedding. Dana and I were already living a fairytale. We also had no idea that the woman was Shauna Summers of Bantam Dell. People make all kinds of crazy excuses to get an audience with editors, and there we were, alone in the dining room chatting with her and didn't even know who she was. We watched people lining up outside the bookstore, some waiting for hours to get inside. I honestly expected that it would be awkward because I'm unknown. I figured I would only sell a few copies, but I knew I would have fun anyway since it would be a great experience.
I was shocked to see people coming through the line with Awaken the Highland Warrior in their hand, asking me to autograph it, autograph their tote bags, even store paper bags, and some wanted photos with me. I can't even explain the feeling of stopping everything so I could stand up and take a picture with a fan. Incredibly amazing. There were so many wonderful readers and all those great writers, like Alix Rickloff, next to me.
Needless to say, I was stunned when the books in front of me disappeared. I still can’t believe I sold out. Apparently Nora Roberts' table was quite excited about it. I heard she was surprised but pleased because debut authors never sell out at these booksignings. The bookstore manager was shocked as well. She scrambled to see if she could locate more copies elsewhere in the store, but couldn’t. It didn’t hurt that Dana was there with me. They let her sit next to me. She chatted people up and I’m sure a few bought books just because she sold them on how great she thought the story was. I’m telling you, all writers need a Dana. And an agent like Christine. I wouldn’t be here without her.
Then a reporter from Hagerstown MD showed up asking who was Anita Clenney. Me, he was looking for ME!!! He interviewed me and even quoted me in the article. Well, he quoted other people too, but hey, I’m a debut author and he mentioned me first! And how totally cool that when they did the author photo shoot, there was yours truly between Nora Roberts and Sherrilyn Kenyon, with Kristan Higgins behind Nora. A little nobody like me can’t ask for more than that. All in all, it was a fairytale booksigning. And just in time for the release of Awaken the Highland Warrior. It's out!!!! All the hard work has paid off and now it's here. I'll give away a copy to one commenter. Comment on anything. Nora, books, Inns, toilets. I don't care.