Part of being an author is promoting your book. Sure the publisher does some promotion, but they have other books that they are also promoting. If you want your book to sell, you have to be out there selling it too. That can lead to some interesting adventures, not the least of which are book talks.
I don't live in a big city, although at around 30,000 people, Laramie is one of the bigger towns in Wyoming. I can only promote my book so much in a town that size. That means I have to go on the road to do so. That often involves an over-night stay, and a motel.
I have had a few interesting motel adventures. This one involved an evening book talk at a fort. My plan was to get to town around five, get a motel room, and then go on over to the fort. On this particular day, there was not a room to be had at the chain motels. We finally located a small, Mom and Pop type place. (We includes my husband, who sometimes accompanies me.)The lady running it was very sweet, but it was obvious that the place had seen better days. She showed us to our room and gave us the key. (Yes, you read that right, a good, old-fashioned key.) She then explained that if the air conditioner was running the bathroom window had to be open, or else the room door would vapor lock. There was something about the television too, but I don't recall what now. It goes without saying that there was no internet access. She went back to her office/apartment, and we went on to the fort.
I gave my talk, signed some books, and we went back to the motel, we thought for the night. It didn't take long to discover there was no ice machine, no complimentary drinking glasses, no bar soap, and only one small bath towel for my husband and I. No washcloths or hand towels were available, either. The roll of toilet tissue sat on the edge of the bathtub. Off we went, found a Safeway, and bought soap, plastic cups, and ice. We finally settled in, and turned on the very noisy air-conditioner. My husband opened the bathroom window, only to find there was no screen. Fortunately, the insect population wasn't too overwhelming. (I will say despite the lack of amenities it was a very clean, quiet motel.It was not the worst I have stayed in either, but that is another story!)
Just when I thought it couldn't get anymore interesting, my cell phone rang. (Mind you, this was getting close to 10 p.m.) It was someone calling from the fort. A person who had attended the book talk had lost their keys, and thought I might have accidentally picked them up. I was quite sure I hadn't, but I said I would look through my things. I take a number of artifacts with me to pass around as I talk about the life of laundresses. I sorted through the tote, and checked the box of books. Nope, no keys. I called back, and assured them I did not have the keys. I thought that was the end of the matter. Little did I know!
The next morning, my phone rang around 7:30. We were just getting ready to leave. It was the person who had lost the keys. Apparently, this was the only set of keys to the car, the car was locked, and the person was positive I had rolled the keys up with my table cloth. I politely explained that I didn't have a table cloth. Was I sure? Well then what was covering the table where I signed books? I said I didn't recall, but I was almost sure it was a plain table top. Then the person asked if they could come look through my things! I explained that I had done so last night. They were insistent. I finally agreed, mostly to settle the matter, and explained where we were. The person came, searched, and found that I did not have their keys.
My big fear was that I would get home, and actually find the keys in my car or something. Fortunately, that did not happen. I heard later that the keys were on the floor of the person's car.
It was just another day in the adventure of being an author. Maybe when I get to be famous, I will get some "people." Then my people can contact your people, make motel bookings, schedule signings, and best of all, deal with people who lose their keys!
#author #book #writer #speaking
Jennie Lawrence is the author of Soap Suds Row - The Bold Lives of Army Laundresses 1802 -1876. She also writes a regular column for African Violet Magazine, and has done freelance work. She has started to dabble in children's literature as well.