The Lake and the Lost Girl was released June 6!!
Last week I had three book launch events — at Forever Books in St. Joseph, Schuler Books in Grand Rapids, and Bookbug in Kalamazoo — every one of them was rewarding and unexpectedly fun. Friends, bookshop staff, and visitors I had not met before were generous with their attention to my reading and my words about my writing. I am so, so grateful.
It was more moving than I could have imagined to receive the recognition from friends of just how long the road to publication (of a book) has been for me, and that they are proud of me for staying on it. Getting to a point of satisfaction with a work and/or publication is a long road for most authors. I am in good company with those who have postponed creative work for years, decades, as life demanded so much attention and energy that there wasn’t much left for writing, or any other in-depth, personal endeavors. In fact, at times pursuing writing seemed frivolous in light of life events. That made it difficult — and seemingly irrelevant — to believe in that aspect of myself.
But that aspect of myself did not go away. I connect to my core and to the seen and unseen worlds through writing, and attempting to ignore that fact does not change the truth of it.
So here I stand, a published novelist. And there I stood, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, with my beautiful book in hand (thank you Mark Nepo, Kevan Lyon, and Sourcebooks) sharing it with old and new friends.
At 20 years old when I was in college in Iowa City, if I had been told that it would take three+ decades to achieve this, I believe my mind would have been divided between encouragement that publication would in fact happen, and horror that it would take so long. Here in 2017, my view of life has become much less bound to Time, and I see that holding the lamp toward the unknown and continuing to step, step, step (step, step, step, step) … was most of what was required of me on the journey. And will continue to be.
Along with the blessings … of love and luck. 🙂
Schuler Books and Music in Grand Rapids hosted the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association April 19, inviting nine authors to tell several dozen booksellers about their most recent works. I was fortunate enough to be included, and spoke for a few minutes about The Lake and the Lost Girl, to be released in just a few weeks now!
This was my first public chat about my work, and I wasn’t sure where to begin. What to say that might enrich the book for others? I had made three pages of notes to get my thoughts straight, so I had plenty of options, but ended up speaking briefly about a few personal connections to the story: my love of Lake Michigan, the experience of emotional turbulence within a family, and the passion we can feel for another human being based only on little more than their written words.
How fortunate I felt to share the “stage” with novelists Renee Rosen, Augustus Rose, Wade Rouse and Karen Dionne. I shared a table (with our ARCs available to booksellers) with Pulitzer-nominated journalist Dan Egan, whose first book is The Death and Life of the Great Lakes. Three delightful children’s book authors rounded out the schedule. Executive Director of GLIBA, Deb Leonard, introduced each author with knowledgeable, brief book summaries and positive commentary, encouraging me (and I’m sure others) to feel welcome. So did the many other independent bookstore owners who stopped by my table to talk about my book and take an ARC… there was an abundance of intelligence, personality, and love of literature in that room!
What a beautiful, diverse and expansive book and music store Schuler’s is, with a restaurant-sized café. I hadn’t visited for many years, and it was such an inspiring surprise to find it at least as vital as I remembered it. Honestly, it’s a destination in
and of itself, and there were plenty of customers enjoying themselves throughout. It was easy to feel like books and bookstores are alive, well, and as magical as ever.
On a spring-like February day I’m having coffee at Crane’s in the City in Holland, Michigan. A Sourcebooks publicist has just confirmed that I am booked to participate at the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association meeting April 19. Half a dozen authors presenting to 50 or so booksellers! My ARCs are taking wing to dozens of potential reviewers and bookstores. The process of getting my book out into the world is happening…
Holland is a second home to me in many ways. Charming coastal city that was my home during the time I was revising the Lake and the Lost Girl into its final form. The inspiration of Lake Michigan and its warm sands, winds, grasses, storms, and birds was only a short hike up a hill or bike ride down the road from the house I shared with my partner Bob. I could walk the narrow road behind his house and into wooded dunes of the State Park, then up the Mt. Pisgah boardwalk for a long view of Lake Michigan and the channel that connects it to Lake Macatawa.
I am back here visiting today for the usual long drink of nostalgia, and another uplifting breath of Lake Michigan’s soul.