July 15, 2012
Wy'East Books is a gem tucked at the foot of Mount Hood National Forest
Thrilling to see my book among these other titles
Pacific Northwest authors, represent!
Store owner Sandra Palmer made it feel like I was giving a fireside chat
Just to be clear, those are my books, but not my paintings
Many of the folks at the reading belong to the book club that meets at the store
I felt like a total celebrity, complete with paparazzi. Or at least one paparazza!
The reading and discussion went nearly two full hours! Though the days are long here in July, it was dark by the time I left.
The store is in such a beautiful location--great for hiking and camping or just a nice stop between Portland and Bend.
Wy'East is what the Multnomah tribe called beautiful Mount Hood.
Wy'East is also the perfect name for the bookstore in Welches, Oregon, nestled in the Mount Hood National Forest. A friend of mine told me she stops at this store whenever she is driving to Central Oregon, and the owner spends 20 or 30 minutes with her, helping her find books she likes based on what she's read and enjoyed in the past. "I always walk out with a stack of books, and they're always great," she said.
I watched it happen while I was there, with locals and with visitors. Sandra Palmer, the owner, took me out to dinner at the wonderful Rendezvous Cafe next door (unbelievably fresh salmon, deliciously prepared, and paired with a perfect handcrafted cocktail--a small one, because of course I was reading afterwards . . .). All through dinner, people kept asking Sandy whether she had in that book they wanted, or told her they'd be stopping in to place an order. She knows how to find the right book whatever your taste is. That is so rare and wonderful, and it means as much to an author as it does to each reader.
At a typical bookstore event, I read a couple of short sections from the novel and speak for about 30 minutes, then answer questions for another 20-25 minutes. This group was so excited and engaged, they got me to read an extra passage "off the cuff." And their questions and comments fed a conversation that lasted nearly two hours total. They asked me about everything from George Washington to Barack Obama. Because I'm a teacher as well as a writer, it really means a lot to me whenever I can have these kinds of exchanges with readers. What a treasure this store is.