I Love People Who Love Books

As I've mentioned previously, I had the great good fortune in January to attend the Ontario Library Association's Superconference this year to sign books in the Ontario Book Publisher Organization's pavilion. 

The theme of the conference was GET LOUD, and I can testify that the expo hall was buzzing with excitement. I met retired librarians who attended because they just loved the conference SO MUCH. (One with a Thunder Bay connection, because that's Thunder Bay.) I met people still working on degrees and certifications in book- and library-adjacent topics (publishing, library professions, database work, social work). 

The image on the cover of MAKING UP THE GODS,
based on an original collage by Erin Stewart.

I met people less directly related to the actual physical libraries themselves. Such as representatives of powerhouse university presses located thousands of miles away who attended because Ontario libraries have wide-ranging tastes and are interested in university press books. I met people who've worked supporting small libraries for decades, who are hanging on to provide services (but only barely, because some provincial governments really underestimate the value of public libraries in small communities and withhold support) (but I digress). 

One (possibly not the only) unifying factor? They were all a hoot to interact with--because they were all excited about books. And many were excited to meet authors. I certainly was! 

I've also had the privilege to attend a couple of in-person book clubs (book groups for you Americans). Okay, one was on Zoom, but it was like being in person because I know the people well and we've been meeting in person for decades. (Also: I'm very very open to attending book clubs/groups in person or on Zoom!)

I'm here to tell you, there's little in the world that's more exciting than sitting with people who've given your work the gift of their time and attention, and listening to them discuss it. Sometimes I was a fly on the wall while they talked through a question they had. Sometimes they turned to me for an answer, and while I try also to turn the question back to them ("what do you think?") sometimes it's fun to answer. 

I will say that when I started on this novel, I had no idea that someday my book would be proposed as evidence for the argument that the trajectory of human civilization is positive. I wouldn't have predicted mixed reactions to one character--a favourite, a least-favourite--who knew? 

In my wildest dreams I wouldn't have imagined I'd have the opportunity to encourage people (young and "older") to continue to love books and even spread their writing wings.      

I was nervous throughout much of 2023, as the publication of MAKING UP THE GODS drew near. What am I supposed to be doing in this limbo time? What if I missed a formatting error or typo--strike that; of course I did, so how will I feel about my book's imperfections when I see it in real life? What if people hate my characters? What if people READ it--or NOBODY reads it? How will I ever move on?

If 2023 was the year of nerves, then 2024 is the year of gratitude. I'm so grateful to be in touch with people who love books--love to read them (listening counts, though mine aren't in audiobook form yet!), love to write them, love to discuss them. Let's keep the creativity and conversations going!