That said, let’s talk Blue Willow.
Blue Willow is my favorite Houston indie book store. It is small but mighty. Owner Valerie Koehler and her staff, including the indomitable Cathy Berner, are tireless and fearless champions of books and authors and readers. Houston is an enormous, spread out city. I live about 50 (no joke) miles from this store, so I don’t get there as often as I’d like. If I was closer, I’d hang out every day if I could. It’s just that warm and welcoming.
So here’s my Blue Willow story:
In June of ’09, a fresh ARC of my debut YA, Dreaming Anastasia in my hand, I trekked down to Blue Willow to say hi. I think I’d emailed first to introduce myself to Valerie, but even so, this was essentially one of those terrifying cold calls. You walk in clutching your book and hope that someone will at least take the darn thing from you and smile. Valerie was just in from her annual trip to New York to visit with publishers. She had a terrible head cold. And there I was – school teacher/mom with a dream debut author from a medium-sized publisher whose new YA imprint at that moment consisted of my book.
But I was lucky. DA resonated with Cathy Berner. I was asked to do a small after hours signing in October after the book came out. They let me sign the book wall and didn’t complain when I picked the spot right next to Lauren Conrad – who’d just been there and whose line was a lot longer than mine. A lot.
We stayed in touch. They hand-sold my books and supported me in ways for which I will always be profoundly grateful. As the release of book 2, Haunted, approached, they asked me if I would like to be a featured YA author at Houston Teen Book Con. I was giddy with excitement. Honored. Delighted. The event was beyond awesome!
The Dreaming Anastasia series has done very well – far exceeding everyone’s more modest expectations. I know that part of that success is because of the Blue Willow team.
If you’re reading this, please support Blue Willow this summer (and of course beyond) by stopping by and making a purchase. I know they stock DA and Haunted!
And in honor of them I’ll be giving away two signed books from one of my favorite author signings at that store: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins and Devil’s Kiss by Sarwat Chadda.
To be in the running, just comment on this blog about your favorite book store – indie or chain. Contest is open to US and Canada and will run through Monday June 6th.