Our whirlwind day takes us first to Hartford City, where hubby’s immediate objective is an excellent cup of coffee. Luckily he finds one in the town’s cozy little “Common Grounds” coffee shop, where you’re tempted to linger all day reading vintage Look Magazines and watching old movies. Adequately caffeinated at last, it’s off to Hartford City Public Library where we find a reception feast waiting … along with a full house, an amazing turnout at 11 AM, which is a tough time to schedule a talk. Former Library Director Vicki Cecil has popped back out of retirement just for my event.
Next, we head to Jay County Public Library in Portland, where I find another full house for my 3 PM talk. The library has sold dozens of books, and a big table of refreshments keeps everyone happy as they wait in line to get their books signed.
Another drive takes us to Muncie. Hubby and I check into the immensely comfortable McDowell-Nearing Guest House, where the bed is SO comfortable and the surroundings so soothing that we stretch out … and almost don’t wake up in time for my 6:30 talk at the Maring-Hunt Library. Jump in the car, where the GPS tells us it’s only a short drive, but we hit every red light. Halfway there, we get an anxious call from the library asking if we’re lost. As someone who HATES to be late for anything, I’m a little embarrassed to admit we’ll arrive only 5 minutes before my scheduled speech. But we do make it. (Thanks, Tom-Tom.)
And wow, another nice crowd is there to hear me. I’ve been speaking so much today that halfway through this speech, I actually forget if I’ve already told this audience an anecdote. OK, now I know why politicians on the road misspeak so often — they’re so tired they can’t remember what they just said. But I have a great time, and this audience seems to enjoy hearing about BONE GARDEN (which is the one book everyone seems to like the best.)
As a book tour veteran, I’ve spoken in big city bookstores and libraries, but there’s something really magical about the welcome I’ve received here in Indiana. It should make authors — and their publicists — reconsider whether big cities are really where authors should be visiting. Maybe we should be focusing instead on places we’ve ignored for far too long: smaller towns, in the heartland of America.