Sunday, September 12, 2010

BookMarks Festival

A couple of friends and I attended the BookMarks Festival of Books in Winston-Salem yesterday (Sept. 11). My only complaint is that there were too many wonderful speakers and too little time.

The main reason I wanted to go was to see and hear one of my favorite authors, Diana Gabaldon (that's her in the photo). If you haven't heard of her enormous success with her Outlander series ... well, where have you been? I was hooked on the first one. Who knew you could mix paranormal, history and romance in one big volume?

I was fortunate to be able to attend two appearances. She gave a book talk right after lunch. I knew the seats would be taken early, so I hurried my companion to the tent where she was to speak. But -- on the way I had to stop and look at a book stall, and then again to talk to a writer who was handing out his cards to passersby. By the time we got there, there were no seats left under the tent, so we took two just outside.

Then it started to rain. I thought about my umbrella, still in my car -- in Monroe. I thought of getting up and seeking shelter. No way. I come all this distance, and I wasn't budging. My friend put the program over her head and hunkered down. I used my program to protect my camera.

It was totally worth getting damp. Ms. Gabaldon is delightful. She talked about writing her first novel in secret , even from her husband. She told how she landed an agent without having completed the first book. And shared that there might be one or two or even three more in the series. Everyone gave a cheer at that. Then she read a bit from her last book with a wicked grin. (For those of you who have read it, it was the passage wherein Jamie confronts Lord John after that gentleman and Claire comforted each other following Jamie's supposed demise and I won't go any further.)

Later on, she particpated in a panel discussion. I felt sorry for the other two presenters. Almost all the questions in the audience were directed at Ms. Gabaldon. And no wonder: her answers were candid and witty. Not that theirs might not have been, if they were given the chance.
There is something inspirational about seeing and hearing an author you admire. I am more determined than ever to finish my historical novel. It won't be nearly as good as hers, but it will be as good as I can make it.

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