Monday, March 14, 2011

Reflections on my 2011 Renaissance Festival Book Signing


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. 

10 comments:

Rachelle said...

Wonderful post! Sounds like a great experience. Your books are fantastic and you do a wonderful job of writing clean romances. :)

marsha said...

What a neat thing to have happen to you and you shared it so well from your heart. There is a spirit that lives in the writings when we are faithful to the Lord and his counsel...Thanks for being an example to the rest of us who are writing and hopeful on our quests.

Gail Pallotta said...

Hi Joyce,
Thanks for sharing. It sounds as though you had a rewarding day. It's a good feeling when you have verification from your fans!

Taffy said...

Great post, Joyce! Thanks for sharing your positive experiences.

Nicole M. White- said...

What a great experience. Thanks for sharing.

I know the feeling of making the choice to keep what one is writing "clean". In my current WIP one main character (as he spoke in my head) would want to swear (where the words were coming from I don't know- I don't speak that way and no one around me does) but anyway- I'd have to find alternative words that got his feelings across in a similar way but that I wasn't embarrassed to write or read.

I'm looking forward to getting some of your books.

Renae W. Mackley said...

What a wonderful venue to sign your books. Just where was this? Having great people experiences is the icing on the cake. I'm glad for you.

Joyce DiPastena said...

Nicole, you'll definitely be glad someday that you taught your character a better way to express himself. LOL!

Ranae, I was at the Arizona Renaissance Festival. There's a very kind book shop owner named Ann Chamberlin who invites me to do a book signing there every spring.

Miss Mae said...

This is an excellent post, Joyce, and thanks for writing it.

Yep, I can imagine your sigh when asked if vampires/wizards/magic exist in your story. Don't we hear that so much? But what an awesome revelation to learn YOUR straight forward plot is exactly what they wanted! :)

And what a rewarding moment when those young girls purchased your books. It's great to have such "proof" that our responsible morals win out! :)

Maria Hoagland said...

What a great post! Thanks for your example and your words.

Jennifer K Clark said...

How exciting to have experiences like that. These are the best rewards that come from being an author.