“I read Lost on the Prairie to my grandsons when we were camping. We read by candlelight and it added such atmosphere to the story.”
I get chills when I hear anecdotes like that from people who have bought my book. Last week I did three presentations about Lost on the Prairie in Steinbach and left each event on a high because of the responses people gave me about the novel. Thanks to vaccine and masking protocols I was able to meet some of the folks who have enjoyed Lost on the Prairie in person.
On Wednesday evening at the Steinbach Mennonite Heritage Village Museum, I shared the stage with two former teaching colleagues of mine Andrew Unger, whose book Once Removed won a Manitoba Book Award, and Mark Reimer who recently published his novel The Four Horseman.
We each talked a little bit about our books and read a passage from them and then answered some questions posed by the audience. My favorite part of the evening was signing copies of the novel later and hearing people tell me what they had enjoyed about the book and who they had shared it with.
One woman had four copies in hand for me to sign, gifts for her nieces and nephews. Many had plans to read the books to grandchildren or had already done so. Some had gifted Lost on the Prairie to their elderly parents. A number of people had already read the book twice.
I received so many positive comments about the book. Nita Wiebe the wonderful manager of the museum gift shop who organized the evening had placed her fourth order for Lost on the Prairie just before the author night and many more copies were sold that evening. I can’t thank Nita enough for selling my book in the museum store.
On Thursday I met with two Steinbach book clubs one from Grace Mennonite Church in the afternoon and another from the United Church in the evening. I was appreciative of the way both groups made sure to follow provincial health guidelines.
At the book clubs, I heard great stories about the reactions of people’s grandchildren with whom the book had been shared including the lovely one that opened this post. One grandmother said months after her grandson had listened to his mother read the book to him he was still making references to it. One had gifted the book to great-nieces and nephews. Another had read the book to two grandchildren at their family cottage over the summer. One woman told me she had read the book twice and loved it. Her father had been a stationmaster in rural Saskatchewan for most of his life and the book brought back great memories for her.
At one book club, I talked about a tie clip and cufflink box I had received that belonged to my grandfather and the participants all shared something they owned that had belonged to a grandparent, dinnerware sets, dolls, chairs, and one woman still planted seeds in her garden that came from plants originally planted by her grandmother.
Writing a book is very hard, getting it published is even harder, but talking in person with people who have read it well that’s just pure pleasure and joy and more than enough reward for all the work.