My debut book launch party for Consider on April 23, 2016 at Barnes & Noble in Dartmouth, Massachusetts was a phenomenal success thanks to the huge local outpouring of support. We sold out of 130 books. Yes, you heard that right. Then people placed more orders. Rumor has it the store has ordered 45 more copies. The line snaked around the store for 90 minutes. I have no idea how many books I actually signed because some people pre-ordered and brought those copies with them. Family, friends, colleagues, students, locals, strangers. People I haven't seen since elementary school. Old high school friends. Readers. Non-readers.I am completely overwhelmed and still in shock.
The whole experience is surreal. When I look at photos, it all seems like a fabulous, unbelievable dream. Well, it was! Not to mention all the local media attention--Fun 107 & WBSM radio, and newspapers, including this amazing Standard Times review by Lauren Daly. I am feeling the local love. Many wonderful people--family, friends, colleagues, librarians, book sellers, and students who I taught over the past fifteen years, pitched in and donated items, time, and talent to help pull off the event.Thank you to all who came out to show your support. Thank you to all those who couldn't come and messaged me with more support. You have no idea what it means to have the community behind me and my debut book as I start on an unpredictable publishing journey and a new phase in my creative life.I am so grateful to have good people in my life.
I'd like to share with you my most touching moment of the day. In order to fully appreciate the scope of this moment, first read my blog post about my "big sister" from the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization when I was a child. Okay. *deep breath* So a family approached the table and handed me a book to sign. As I signed my name, the father put his hands on his son's shoulders said, "This is Sid's grandson." Then he broke down crying. My brain didn't comprehend at first. Then I looked at the father's face. It was my Big Sister's adult son, maybe around 15 years older than I am. The last time I remember seeing him was when I was twelve. He added, "He never got to meet his grandmother. She died before he was born."
I experienced a complete, full circle moment. Here was the grandson of my childhood mentor, a phenomenal woman who fostered my love of books and brought me to the library for years. And here I was, handing her grandson a signed copy of my first young adult book. I felt the loss of her and the love of her and the love of her family all in one moment. Oh, the tears.
There's more. Her son explained that they didn't know about the book signing until that day. A newspaper that they don't subscribe to mysteriously appeared in their mailbox and fell open to my book launch article. You don't need explanations for serendipitous moments like that. As I slid my book over to her grandson, I knew that someday when he reads it, she'll be reading along with him.
It was a truly remarkable life moment to top off a wonderful dream. I feel blessed and truly honored. Thank you for sharing this day with me.