On my final morning in Harrisburg, something very strange happened. I was in the hotel parking lot, taking a walk before the drive back to Maryland, when a 12-year-old boy approached me. He said, “Excuse me, but are you an author?” I was quite taken aback, since I had no clue who this boy was. I smiled and said, “Yes, I am.” The boy told me he wanted to be a writer, too, and he wondered if I had any advice for him. My head was still spinning, trying to figure out how this boy could possibly have known about my little self-published book. I’ve sold a few copies to friends and family, but so far – at least as far as I know – no one who doesn’t know me has bought one. In fact, no one who doesn’t know me knows anything about this book!
I started telling him about my own experiences with writing – I actually started when I was younger than he was. I was just getting to the part about how important it is to write all the time, even if you doubt anyone will ever read it, when his father walked up to join us. He told me how creative his son was, and how much he wanted to be a writer. Then he said, “I heard you were going on tour in Albany.” Obviously, I’m not going on tour anywhere. So the only explanation for this was they had me mixed up with someone else (a writer with a book tour scheduled, someone with a real publishing deal). I thought (for a few seconds, anyway) about telling the two of them that yes, I was going on tour in Albany. Why not? I’d certainly never see them again! But I didn’t. I told them that my book was self-published, and that it is on sale at Amazon, and that I have four more coming out soon – but I don’t have any book tours scheduled. Not yet, anyway.
I still had no clue how this boy and his father knew anything about my book. And then it occurred to me that they must have been in the hotel breakfast room that morning when I was talking about the book with some of the Cunningham family members. And it’s just possible that Dennis’s brother Greg, who is a big talker and loves to kid around about my sales potential (ha!), might have said something about scheduling a book tour in Albany. Maybe. Anyway, it’s the only thing that makes any sense.
But for those few minutes in the hotel parking lot I found out what it’s like to be “sort of famous” – well, that’s a bit of a stretch! But it was kind of fun to be asked for advice from a complete stranger. The things I told the boy (especially about writing all the time) were all true, but what I wish I had told him was this: Don’t wait until you’re 63 to get your first book out there! Because that’s my biggest regret.
So it was a very emotionally-charged few days, on many levels. I am blessed with a wonderful family, and great friends who support me. If they’re the only ones who ever read my book, I’ll still be very lucky.
Stay tuned for developments! And if I end up on tour in Albany, I’ll be sure to let you know!