Originally published on 21 July 2011
A movie came out several years ago that features a scene in which an author boards a downtown commuter bus during peak hours and every single person on the bus is reading the author’s book. This would be a writer’s dream come true! Has it, or something similar ever happened to you? Today, as I visit the location where ‘Eliza of Fair Haven’ is set, something similar happened to me.
Those of you who follow my blog (first of all…Thank You!) know that I am on a ‘See The USA (and Canada) Tour’. This morning I left Montreal, the ancestral home of my grandmother. I arrived in Fair Haven, Vermont – home of The Colburn’s – this afternoon.
The Colburn’s of Vermont married into the Jenkins family near the outset of the Civil War. The stunningly beautiful Eliza Colburn met the mature, sophisticated Colonel Jenkins and a wedding followed as the Colonel followed Miss Colburn from the comforting warmth of Florida to Vermont’s winter to marry on the brides twenty-seventh birthday – December 9, 1858.
The details of their courtship are in the novel Eliza of Fair Haven; which I hope you will read.
[I've copied a link to the Amazon Page here]
One of the first things I did upon arriving Fair Haven was to wander into the Fair Haven Free Library. The postcard-perfect tan and white building houses the library established at the turn of the twentieth century. Upon entering the library I was asked the nature of my visit. I explained that I wanted to do some family history research. The circulation librarian turned me over to a very capable Head Librarian, who showed me to The Vermont Room. Being a ‘chatter’ I explained to the Head Librarian, Carol Scott, that I was on a road trip. I went on to detail that I had quite a bit of interest in the history of Fair Haven as I had been left family papers indicating that my ancestors had been involved in Fair Haven’s establishment as a township during the early 1800s. (I should mention that I just happened to have a copy of Jenkins: Confederate Blockade Runner under my arm.) At a certain moment in our ‘getting to know you’ exchange Ms. Scott glanced at my copy of Jenkins and exclaimed that she had bought “that” book. At that moment I congratulated myself for having published Jenkins with Lightning Source, the printing vendor of Ingram – source and supplier of books to libraries. I had made this decision to pursue publishing with Ingram because Jenkins had received such high praise as a history book. And, of course, it had been vetted by the Hernando County Historical Association of Brooksville, Florida.
“I’m the author!” or some such, was my reaction to Ms. Scott’s disclosure.
“It’s getting good reviews!” she went on.
Imagine! I am in a library over three thousand miles from my hometown and have just met a librarian who, on her own volition has added my novel to her library’s inventory. I am thrilled! Truly, it doesn’t get any better than this. A librarian! Likes my book! I’m doing head-trip cartwheels! Can she tell?
After we chatted for a few moments longer I settle down to my work and the afternoon advances into the pages of Vermont history. After a little while Ms. Scott came over with the library’s copy of Jenkins. The novel has, just that moment, been returned by a patron. While I am in the library! “Would you sign our copy?” I am asked. Ms. Scott shows me the check-out card. My novel has been checked out of the library … hmmm…seven times since May 11, 2011. “The reviews are very good,” she reminds me.
I have a new friend. Her name is Carol Scott. She has been the capable, wonderful, generous Head Librarian of the Fair Haven Free Library for the past fifteen years.
I will return to this sweet little town after this visit. How can I not?