~~Here I am with fellow writers, Allie Pleiter and Ginny Smith practicing our smiles before the Southern Kentucky Book Fest last April. We’ll be practicing again this Friday as we get ready to sign books for readers coming up Saturday. The Southern Kentucky Book Fest is always a fun event with a lot of writers and readers getting the chance to talk. The Book Fest has panels and speakers all day to give readers a chance to learn more about how the books they enjoy came into being. I’m on a panel at 2 p.m. called “Travel in Time” featuring historical fiction writers. Other authors on the panel with me are Mary Calhoun Brown, Roger Brucker, Brigid Pasulka, and Patti Lacy. Ginny and Allie are on a panel at 1 p.m. called “Valentines in April” along with Jan Watson, Teresa Medeiros and Trish Milburn. We’ll all have fun answering questions and talking about our books. Of course you can come right up to our signing tables for one on one talk. The Book Fest is at the WKU Carroll Knicely Conference Center in Bowling Green, KY April 17 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (CST) If you’ve got kids, you can bring them out to meet Laura Numeroff, the author of “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.”
~~This has been a busy week for me. Monday I was in WV for the Ohio River Festival of Books and while I was there I talked to three groups of kids at my grandkids’ school. My seven-year-old granddaughter was so excited to have grandma at her school. She was better than a cockerspaniel puppy at making me feel loved. She’s a sweetheart. To her class I wasn’t Ann Gabhart. I was “Ashley’s grandma.” Her first grade class and the kindergarten class combined to listen and all the kids sat quietly and listened before eagerly asking questions. The same was true for the 2nd through 6th grade students later in the day. For me, the best part of visiting schools is always the kids’ questions. One of their favorites, asked several times, was what was the longest book I ever wrote. Of course I didn’t really know. I just said 375 pages. That might be close.
~~Then one of the older kids asked “What is the best moment you feel as a writer?” You know that’s a great question and one I wasn’t quick to answer. My first answer was the moment when you first hold that published book in your hands and open it up to see the printed words. That’s a good feeling for sure. Then I thought maybe it’s when I write “The End” after seeing my characters through their story. But what about when that needed extra character just sort of appears out of nowhere to make your story work? And don’t forget those moments when a reader tells you he/she couldn’t put your book down and sat up to the wee hours of the morn to find out what happened or that something you wrote brought tears to his eyes or made her smile. So if you’re a writer, what is the best moment you feel as a writer? I think I might still have to go with the holding the printed book in my hands and knowing all that other has happened or may be going to happen.
~~So I loved the questions the kids asked and I wished I’d thought to take my camera in to snap a picture of their bright, eager faces to share with you. But instead I’ll just have to share the picture in words. Just imagine two hundred or so kids waving their arms in the air to try to get their question answered. I could have answered questions until the cows came home.
~~If you’re in the Bowling Green area Saturday, come out to the Book Fest and please stop by my table to say hello. And ask a question if you want to. I won’t even make you hold up your hand.