A Dinner in Lansing
We caught Lansing between snow storms. Rain had washed away what snow had fallen, but here, in the back room of the Troppo, we were warm. Warmer still was the welcome of booksellers from every corner of Michigan, carrying their ARCs and armed with questions. The depth and breadth of them astounded me, fascinating questions that sparked the conversations that lasted through the night. Again, I learn about my own book through the impressions of these very best of readers.
Over dinner, the table rang with raucous laughter, with great banter supplied by our host, national field sales director Mike Heuer, whom I am already looking forward to seeing again in Seattle. But the booksellers could match him, story for story, joke for joke. I left with another list of books that I ‘must read’. This chatting to booksellers is a dangerous habit, but I truly could have kept on talking and laughing, swapping stories and book chat, all night.
There was also heartfelt conversation, as the darker themes of the book emerged, and I am grateful for the honesty, clarity, and compassion of the booksellers present. It is terrifically humbling to find instances where the book has touched and is touching readers. And there were surprising moments of synchronicity. I found one bookseller, Bill Cusumano of Nicola’s, who had visited my family’s shop in South Pasadena. I even found a twin I did not know I had in Whitney, a girl whose interests and knowledge in cults surpasses even mine. I hope this is only the beginning of many new friendships.
If you should find yourself in Michigan in want of a book, you are in safe hands. Grateful thanks to these great independent bookstores in Michigan:
Schuler Books – with buyers and staff from all four stores: Thank you, Rhoda, Whitney, Jason, Tim, Kim, Mary Ellen, Carol and Emily!
Nicola’s – Thank you, Lynn and Bill!
And to local, independent book distributors:
Emery Pratt – Thank you, Kathi!
Partners – Thank you, Mick!