Serendipity on their Side.
What is better for an author than to do a book signing event?
Maybe a book signing half way across the world?
Or maybe… one in which you find yourself face to face with the opportunity you never dreamed remotely possible: to meet a kindred spirit and author friend who lives across the world.
When my new book publisher asked me to do a book signing at an historic book shop in some quaint little town within the state of Ohio, I didn’t hesitate for a second to agree. First, because I’d never set foot in the New World and I was so curious to find out if everything in North America is really ‘bigger than life’ as they say! But more importantly, because the bookshop where I’d been asked to do my signing could only have been a plan of pure serendipity or fate. It happened to be right down the street from my good friend’s home—an author with whom mutual admiration is shared and whom I’d never dreamed it would be possible to meet in real person!
Of all the bookshops all over the world I was about to walk into hers! Sweet Jen, who has supported my writing career with her un-curbed enthusiasm and whose unselfish attitude towards work and life has inspired and motivated me countless times. Talented, inspiring author and friend, Jennifer Campana Lopez!
So now, here I am at this very moment, nervous with excitement for the experience. I’m holding a red rose, searching among the myriad of busy Americans around me, for Jen and her red rose.
I know people do look a tad different when you meet them in person as apposed to their website or Twitter, so I’m hoping she’ll recognize me. We’re to meet for coffee first, here at this small and chic (I am impressed) coffee place right next to the bookshop. It feels like I’ve stepped into a world of times past. The coffee shop is one that’s been there for a very long time and has that old vintage feel. I see large windows at the back of the cafe- there are people looking down. I remember then, Jen saying the bookshop and café sat right atop a waterfall. I could hear it now—despite the bustle. Wow. This was definitely not what I imagined the U.S.A. to be like. Maybe because we aren’t in a large city.
And yes, I’ll answer your question before you even speak; we decided to meet like this for the fun of it! Is there a more exciting way for two writers to meet, I’m asking you?
There she is. We walk toward each other unable to contain our smiles and laughter.
Jen hugs me tight and says,
“Finally a real hug instead of a virtual hug! You are so precious Pat.”
We tap our roses together and chuckle.
“Come on Pat, I’ve gotten us a table. The café will be clearing out soon- as the afternoon rush is over.”
The waiter sets down our two cups of expresso.
PAT: Ahhhh… It’s chilly here so this is perfect Jen. We’ve wanted to chat about so many things, but with our kids, family and writing, well—we just never have the time. I love your humanitarian efforts and you know it’s something we both feel passionate about. I’ll never forget when your Middle School ESL students read my book HAPPY FRIENDS and how they responded. It felt so great to hear that my little book had been appreciated in such a way.
JEN: Pat, it was so awesome to experience. Then, when your book JOYFUL TROUBLE came out, it spoke on such a deep level to both kids and adults alike. Ella and I were thrilled to write our endorsement for the cover. Are you so excited to be signing today for all your special animal stories?
My coffee’s gone cold, or is this the second cup already? We’re too engrossed in discussion to notice.
PAT: I can’t even begin to express my happiness Jen. Talking about JOYFUL TROUBLE is so fun—maybe because it is based on a true family story. Also it really seems to appeal to young and adults alike. I think it’s his human nature that makes the dog such a huge success. Through his sheer size, he commands respect. He reveres his sailor friends and has a loyalty towards them that is unsurpassed. The things he does…well, dogs do have this rare quality about them, to sense when they are needed. But Joyful Trouble is also a peaceful dog, a contrasting quality with his size.
Perhaps the fact that there is no self-interest in Joyful Trouble’s actions—yet they leave the reader astounded. I am grateful for its positive impact.
JEN: It sure does have a positive impact, Pat. Animal stories reach into the hearts of readers because of the unconditional love and tenderness their actions express. They themselves are lessons we humans can learn a lot from.
I smile, appreciating Jen’s understanding.
PAT: How did you develop such a tremendous love of Culture, Jen? I’ve always seen & admired it—so I have to ask.
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