It’s not often that I post for the Sunday Salon. This week it’s a must. I was able to do something literary this week beyond reading – I drove to Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, VA to attend their Simon Van Booy event. Being able to visit Fountain Bookstore is a treat in and of itself. Kelly, the marvelous owner, grew up with my husband (small world) and Rebecca from The Book Lady’s Blog is the store’s official book blogger. Most of all, it’s a unique environment in which to browse for your next read. The first time I visited, Kelly wasn’t in. The second time, Rebecca wasn’t in. This time, both women would be together and I knew that would equal magic.
I took a half day off from work and made the three hour drive to the store. It was a hot, hot day. The thermometer in my car read 100 degrees. Thankfully the parking lot was only a couple doors down from the store. After saying hello to everyone, Rebecca and I left to eat dinner across the street. It was so nice to get the chance to sit down with her and talk. It’s been almost two years since we first met in person and it was just darn nice to have some blogger to blogger time. Had I been thinking, which clearly I wasn’t, I would have had a picture taken. Trust me, we both looked undeniably gorgeous. That’s all you need to know.
After dinner, it was almost time for Simon Van Booy to arrive. There are author events happening at Fountain Bookstore all of the time. I chose this particular event because I was reading Everything Beautiful Began After at the time I saw the announcement and the writing was gorgeous. Rarely do I stop make notes when reading on my Kindle. I had no fewer than 14 passages marked by the time I finished. It was that good. The fact that he is a good looking man played no role whatsoever in my decision. Right.
I found out after I arrived that I was actually going to help with the event. It was a Book Club Giveaway Frenzy and we were all, including Simon, going to discuss some books that would make good choices for book clubs. The books I got to giveaway were The Raising by Laura Kasischke and the brand new Kristina Riggle novel, Things We Didn’t Say. Quite randomly, they were both written by Michigan authors, so it was meant to be. If ever there was a person to sell those books, it was me. True, they were giveaways, so no actual selling was involved, but I was able to find them a home. When thinking back on The Raising, I listed some of the themes. I came up with “sorority malfeasance.” God, I wish I had written that into my review.
On to Simon…
I have to say that he is every bit as charming as his writing would lead you to believe. After walking into a group of people he’s mostly never met before, he was warm and friendly, eager to take part in whatever came his way. He is a gentleman to a fault. After I turned down a new bottled water he received, he opened it, poured half into his other bottle and then handed it to me. Very nice. He has a wonderful sense of humor as well. We also have children in common. As it turns out, his daughter is just a week older than Allison. It was nice to have something in like that to talk about.
The store was packed for the event. It was a beautiful site. After all of the books were given away, Simon talked about writing Everything Beautiful Began After. This book is very meaningful to him. He said that if it never sold a copy he wouldn’t chance a single word. It helped him become able to move on in his life. He also praised writers who continue to write day after day and never get published. They write because it is their passion, not for any fame or audience. He also answered questions from the group. There were many questions and Simon answered them all with stories and humor. What struck me the most is that he speaks very much the way that he writes.
Along the way, we discovered that the character Rebecca was named after our Rebecca (LOL!) and a young woman who caught his eye in college. Also, the man in Everything Beautiful Began After who did nothing but boil towels had his origins in his first childhood encounter with a girl who had Down Syndrome.
When the talk was over, Simon signed books. Everyone without exception, I believe, bought a copy of Everything Beautiful Began After. In fact, all of the copies sold out, so I was not able to pick up a copy for a giveaway (trust me, I was thinking about you!).
It was a wonderful evening that ended with a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Sigh.
After we left for the night, and I was driving back to Roanoke, I was so glad I made the trip. I knew I would be tired the next day (I was), but to be able to spend some time at a great bookstore, eat dinner with one of my favorite bloggers and meet an author I admire on an ordinary day of the week was a true delight.