Surprises popped up throughout the tour, naturally, and most of them were good.* I herein share four of them.
To set up for surprise #1, here is an excerpt from my blog way back on August 25, 2010: “A small spiral notebook in which I jotted ideas and thoughts before they were forgotten proved to be most helpful in the writing of the first two books. I outfitted such a notebook with tabs for characters and topics for Sunday by Sunday III, and for months prior to beginning III, scribbled many plot possibilities and bits of dialogue in it as they came to me. I lived in eager anticipation of utilizing them at the appropriate time in the writing process. Alas, in the midst of major redecorating of my house, I lost this wealth of time-saving, inspiring tidbits. The likely scenario is that I’ll find it the day after the book goes to press, of course. How lovely if I would find it sooner—like, say, tomorrow!”
I did not find it on that tomorrow, but rather on tour, shortly after publication. I was at my cousin’s, and he and I were chatting as I reorganized a carryall. I ripped open the Velcro on an outside pocket of the satchel and immediately recognized the small red notebook with a rose sketched on the front. I haven’t delved into it too much, for fear of regret at all the dynamite ideas and clever phrases lost. Oh, well. I’m still glad I found it.
Surprise # 2 came when my brother-in-law and sister agreed to act out a Sunday by Sunday skit with me for a Sunday morning event. They portrayed the characters Jim and Anita, and I asked them because my brother-in-law is an amiable smart aleck, just like Jim. I was pleasantly astounded when—after reviewing the script—they were up for it! In a phone conversation the day before the event, my bro-in-law joked that he’d practiced five hours so far and had a one-way ticket for Hollywood, leaving Sunday night. My crazy sister teased me right before performance that, “Oh, by the way, we’ve re-worked things a little. Jim and Anita are going to…oh,” she dismissed with a little wave, “you’ll see…” Just kidding. They were fabulous. Very fun, very cool.
I was on my way to Office Depot or someplace similar to have a new supply of bookmarks printed when Surprise # 3 hit. Seeing a storefront print shop, I wheeled in there to see if they could do it. Yes, indeed, and I met two delightful brothers working in this family-owned business. One of them was a voracious reader, and we had intense conversation about contemporary literature while they were turning out the job—and he wound up buying the whole set of my books in its lovely deluxe gift box. Yee-haw!
The owner of the bookstore in Woodstock told me on the day of my signing that a customer had been in a few days prior and was excited when she saw my exhibit, announcing that I would be speaking at their church in Indiana. Surprise # 4 was revealed a week later when the pastor of the church in Albion that was on my schedule told me that she was that person. She’d been visiting family in the area and stopped by Read Between the Lynes. Purely coincidental!
*For the not-so-good surprises, see the next entry, “Infrastructure Accidents and Incidents.”