September 11, 2012

"I am not the real Dread Pirate Roberts"

Oh how my grandmother would have smiled had she been here. I am told that she was the sort of person who would go grocery shopping, strike up a conversation with a total stranger, and then invite them back to her house for tea (and possibly oreos). I am not an extrovert, in that respect I do not take after my Grandma Gwen. However, venturing out upon this adventure I have taken into the realm of publishing is a quest which requires an extroverted personality. I'd like to tell you a story, a delightful story and real-life quest, that I got to be a part of recently.

"Regarding your grandmother. Dear Mme. Schmidt."

This was the beginning of an email I received a few months ago.

"People don't talk that way anymore, Ben."
"No, but they think that way." (National Treasure)

I was intrigued by the subject line, though I didn't recognize the email address. I opened the email and read further. The email was from a gentleman who had read a short story back in 1958, written by a Gwen Walker. The short story, titled "The Ordeal of Lady Godiva," had so charmed him when he first read it, that he kept an eye out for other works by this author. So it was, that when I had He Whistles for the Cricket published this past Christmas, he noticed and was led a merry chase around the interwebs until he happened across my blog, the story of how I had typed up and published my grandma's book for her, as well as my email address.

Hoping to find more information about an author he admired, as well as charmed by the idea of my family working together to publish a book (my typing up my grandma's book, my sister-in-law painting the cover art) he emailed me. He inquired whether or not  this was the same Gwen Walker who had written "The Ordeal of Lady Godiva" and, if so, whether I could provide him with more information about her, why she hadn't written more, and if I could send him copies of her book. He also wanted a copy of my book so that he could compare writing styles.

Having never heard of "Lady Godiva" I did a little more research (asked around my family members) and emailed him back, regretfully informing him that my grandmother was not, in fact, the author he was looking for. I figured that was the end of it.

However, this gentleman is a great lover of the written word (he owns over 2000 books... and I thought my 400+ books was a vast collection!) He is also in the possession of two books by friends who are unable to publish their own works - thus my story of how I had published my grandmother's book intrigued him beyond idle curiosity. He purchased a copy of He Whistles for the Cricket, and asked for my book as well, which I gladly sent to him. In return, he sent me a copy of the short story that had started him on this quest: "The Ordeal of Lady Godiva."

After reading this delightful short story, I am convinced that the Gwen Walker who wrote this story and my own Grandma Gwen could have been "kindred spirits" as Anne would say. It is sweet and funny and I enjoyed it greatly! I can see why it would send a person on a quest to find more stories by the same author. Anyone who has ever read a truly fantastic story can understand the desire to read more from the same author, even if the next story is not about the same characters.

Hope you enjoyed today's post!

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