So I’ve been reflecting on this year’s Renaissance Festival book signing. Out of the many people I saw that day and especially among those who stopped to buy copies of my books, two memories in particular linger.
One group that stopped by consisted of five adults-- two couples, and an older woman in a wheel chair wearing dark glasses. One of the younger women asked me what my books were about. I told her they were historical romances set in the Middle Ages. She asked if they had wizards and witches and magic in them. Inwardly I sighed a bit, knowing how popular fantasy is these days, but told her no, my books were strictly historical. “How about vampires and werewolves? Do your books have those in them?” she asked. Again, I told her no, they were simply set during the reign of King Henry II of England. One of the men who was listening turned to the woman in the wheel chair and said, “Oh, Mother, these are just the kinds of books you like. The author will sign a copy for you and we’ll take turns reading the book to you.” They bought a copy of Loyalty’s Web, then took my picture with their mother. The man said his mother can’t see well enough to read anymore, so the four of them (the two couples) take turns reading books to her at night. I can’t express how touched I was to meet this sweet family caring so tenderly for their aging mother!
The other experience that lingers with me are the three young girls who stopped (separately) and bought copies of my books. One of the girls I know was 15, because her father told me. The other two looked very much around the same age. Sometimes I’ve seen parents initially discourage their daughters from my books as soon as they hear the word “romance”. I was prepared to reassure the parents that my romances are “clean”, but for some reason, this year none of the parents asked. They simply stood by with this great look of trust in their faces as their daughters read the backs of my books and made their own choices. I had the feeling that it never crossed these particular parents’ minds to even wonder whether the books were “appropriate” for their 15 year old daughters to be reading. Thankfully, I knew in my own mind that they were. As I autographed copies for each of these girls, I thought about the great weight of responsibility I have to provide wholesome reading material for them, but while thinking about “the weight of responsibility”, the actual feelings in my heart were very, very light. I have always been glad of the path I have chosen to write clean romances, but rarely have I felt quite so intensely grateful for the choice I have made. I have had young girls email me to tell me how much they appreciate my books. But actually looking into the sweet, fresh faces of these girls at the festival and knowing I was keeping a silent trust with their parents, a trust their parents didn’t even know I was keeping… I felt an approval stronger than I ever have before from my Heavenly Father. I pray I will keep this trust with my readers, young and old, for the rest of my life.