I admit it: I unreservedly, unabashedly LOVE books. This seems the perfect time for this admission, as the sun sets on this year’s Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.
It was a phenomenal weekend. I had my annual Milford-Haven Novels booth. But this year, I had Advance Reader Copies of my beautiful new novel What the Heart Knows. I wasn’t there to sell this time. I was there to give this pre-publication edition to advance readers in exchange for their comments.
How do I know I really love books? How do I know a book lover when I “read” one?
First, I know because after standing in the blazing sun for two days in a row, my devoted team shares with me the glow (and sunburn) of survivors’ triumph.
Next, I know I love books because I got that warm fuzzy feeling every time I walked by a booth where authors or publishers were sharing—I mean really sharing—about their book: hearts ablaze, eyes alight, voices resonating with passion. I knew the hours they’d spent writing, the months they’d spent waiting for an agent’s reply, the years they’d spent dreaming of completing their story.
I’m filled with gratitude: for the long line of women who joined us in the hot sun to wait for their signed book; for the videographers Dianemarie and Doug Collins who captured these amazing moments on video (check my website soon to watch!); for Mary Helsaple the amazing artist who paints my cover art, and who painted her beautiful watercolors in my booth for the delight of all our visitors; for Katy Sullivan and Bill Berkuta, Monica Fay and Lorien Goodman, who handed out postcards and spoke to scores of festivalites; for the beautiful USC campus and for the heavenly shade trees that gave us some respite; for the L.A. Times for making this festival the largest in the country.
But most important of all, I know I love books because I see them for what they truly are: little doors that open into other worlds. And this weekend, I not only got to be surrounded by thousands of these little doors, each vibrating with the secrets they hold. I also got to open the door of my own new book to scores of new readers.
These new readers . . . how beautiful their faces were when they glimpsed the possibilities lurking behind the door of my gorgeous new book cover. How thrilled I was to hear their question: what’s the book about? And how extraordinary to feel that special connection when I could answer: the book is about you. Because it’s about a woman who begins to listen to her heart, a woman who’s beginning to believe in herself, a woman who’s getting around to doing those things that, in her heart of hearts, she’s always wanted to do.
For more information on the changes that are taking place with The Milford Haven Novels, please read my newsletter. If you have not subscribed, visit www.MaraPurl.com to have my newsletter sent to your mailbox every month.