Friday, November 27, 2015
Each autumn I anxiously look forward to the Authors and Illustrators Dinner here in our hometown - it's a formal fundraiser benefiting our local library. Recent keynote speakers have included: Nicholas Sparks, Judy Schachner, and Diana Gabaldon.
The afternoon of this year's fundraiser, the plane carrying the keynote speaker - British thriller novelist Lee Child - was grounded in poor weather on the East Coast; he would be unable to make it to the event in time. With only a few hours to find a worthy replacement, the Fort Vancouver Regional Library was on pins and needles with what to do.
Then they contacted the New York Times best selling novelist, Chelsea Cain in Portland, Oregon, and she agreed to speak. The fundraiser would go on. While you would expect a seasoned author like Chelsea Cain to be able to pinch-hit, it was the way in which she did it that was so amazing. She hit a home run. She stepped up to the podium and right from her first comment, "Hi, I'm Lee Child," she had the audience hanging on every one of her hilarious words and amazing anecdotes. And her effort didn't stop there. Since she had only learned about the event a couple of hours before she had to be at the hotel, she was only able to bring a small handful of her books. (They had stacks of books by Lee Child!) That didn't stop Chelsea. She stayed after the event speaking with people in the foyer as they purchased the books by Lee Child. She even posed for several photos, and then signed my book: Lee Child and Chelsea Cain. She said, "I know Lee Child; he won't mind." What a character!
Chelsea spent several minutes with me; when she learned that I'm a new author, she said, "Go for it. This business is full of people that had the guts to go for it. Don't listen to the voice of reason saying you'll never make it. If I'd listened to those voices I wouldn't be here now."
There are several lessons I learned that night, not the least of which is that there really are silver linings in life. As people were departing the Hilton, we heard comments like: "She's one of the best speakers we've ever heard." They were right. She's also a very special human being. She turned what could have been a disaster, into a delightful and extraordinary evening. An evening that I know I'll always remember.
This Thanksgiving weekend I'm grateful for my family, friends, and so many other blessings. I'm reminded that a blessing can often be found from a bad situation if we only keep our hearts and minds open to it.
Have a safe and joyous weekend!