Sep 082015

Whew! The Decatur Book Festival is over, and it lived up to expectations. Not only was it both fun and interesting, but it was great to hobnob with other authors. It honestly didn’t feel like work, it was just a good time all around. Here’s what I did.

My panel at the 2015 Decatur Book Festival.

Saturday afternoon I went to see a panel so I could know what it would be like. It looked easier than being interviewed by yourself, which was a relief. Then I went to the VIP area and got a free sandwich and beer. And it was good beer! One thing I can say about DBF is that they like to keep a drink in your hand. Then I walked around to the Atlanta Writer’s Club tent, checked out quite a few more tents, and headed home to collect my wife for the VIP party that night.

The party was more fun than I expected. There was some interesting music, including a cello ensemble called Celli and a costumed, undead looking singing quintet called Sleepy Hollow. The best part was meeting two new friends from Australia, Simon Groth and Paddy O’Reilly. Well, and the party crasher who told us his name was Rod Cocker. They were all hilarious.

Sunday I preached in the morning and got in the car at about three to drive to Decatur. We arrived in time to walk around a little and get an official DBF t-shirt before I had to start prepping for my panel at five o’clock. I met the moderator, Evan Guilford-Blake, and the other two panelists, Angela Hester and Audrey Blake (no relation).We got to know one another for a little while, sat down, and before I knew it, the panel had begun.

Virtually every time I’m interviewed there’s one question that surprises me. This time it was a question about what it was like going from writing fiction to writing nonfiction. My answer was that nonfiction is harder because you have to be correct. The writer is describing something that was real, and so the description must not only be interesting, it has to be accurate. The other two panelists had written similar works, but they were both interesting, and I enjoyed listening to them as much as I enjoyed speaking.

Then it was time to sign books.

Signing books at the Decatur Book Festival.

Signing books at the Decatur Book Festival.

We were guided out a doorway and into a big room with tables full of books. Folks bought them, turned around, and brought them over to be signed. I was flattered that two of the volunteers helping with the panel bought books. They must hear about a lot of books, and their keen interest in mine was affirming.

And then it was over, but no one told us. The other authors and I waited for more people to bring us books, or for someone to come tell us we were done, but neither happened. We just got up and left, and I did so pleased with the number of books that sold. It wasn’t earth shattering, but it was definitely worth the time and effort.

The family and I went out for our usual Sunday night dinner only this time it was at the Brick Store Pub, where I had a Flanders Red Ale for the first time. Great restaurant, and a fascinating beer.

Finally, after a long and fantastic couple of days, I settled into to bed to watch the last two episodes of the latest season of Orange Is the New Black on the new TV I mounted on the bedroom wall. I would have liked to have gone to see some more speakers, but the weekend had been so tiring that we had to stop halfway through the season finale. I was just too tired.

Thanks to all who came, and to those who couldn’t make it, there are still several chances to see me and more to come.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a novel to finish.