There are times in the life you cross the finish line of a race and are so completely spent that you think you have nothing else to give. Even though you think you are exhausted beyond the point of exhaustion, you feel an overwhelming sense of excitement and accomplishment. A smile breaks out across your face that you can’t erase, even if you wanted to. You accomplished your goal and it’s your moment to bask in the glory.
On Saturday I had the good fortune to attend the Suffolk Mystery Authors Festival in
Suffolk Virginia. This was unique as it is an event specifically designed to bring authors and readers together of a specific genera. While I‘m not primarily a mystery author, there are always elements of mystery to my work and that’s what makes this venue interesting. Also, I feel there’s a lot of crossover between people who read mystery and those who read dark fantasy and horror.
It’s literally about six hours of me talking about my books. A topic, I’ve been told, is one of my favorites. But what really got me was the chance to meet new fans. We talked and laughed about all things under the sun. People walked away with some new books to read. This made me smile.
But what really broadened my lips and exposed my pearly whites was the chance to talk with a couple of teens. The first girl, see photo below, read the back of No Name and a few pages in the front. She made a preliminary sweep through the room, selecting her choices and marking them down on a piece of paper. When her mother arrived, she dragged her to various tables with her choices for the day. And then she came back to me with a huge grin on her face. They bought both books.
Another boy, maybe thirteen, came to our table and we talked about his desire to be a writer. I believe in telling what I know. Granted, I’m not Stephen King, Dean Koontz, or John Grisham but I’ve learned a few things. So I told him what I could, but I also encouraged him to get active and work on his writing skills. I told him that creativity was something built on a life of experience and he needed to build that to give himself a good base. He was a sponge, taking up what I would give him. He bought No Name.
Talking to those young people was definitely the highlight of the show for me. I sold well, but that wasn’t the point overall. It was the interactions I had which made this show so incredibly special to me. More importantly, it left me exhausted, but thirsting for more. It was a taste of another world for me. A wonderful world where I came to take something away, but ended up willingly leaving a part of myself there too.
For those of you who’ve never done an event like this, I highly encourage you to do so. I guarantee you will walkway with more than just a few extra book sales. It’s a deeply satisfying experience, in many ways.
Overall the event was pretty amazing. I got to meet lots of people and talk with many other authors. It was a great experience. You can bet that I’ll be back at the SMAF next year.
-Your Humble Servant,
P.S. Special thanks to my wonderful wife Tanya Nowak for helping out. I couldn’t have done it without you honey!