And, if there’s one thing better than seeing a favorite author with fellow fans, it’s the opportunity to create a newly-minted fan. I had just this experience last week – what fun it was to introduce my BFF to the writing of Adriana Trigiani … and to the author herself!
The event was organized (magnificently!) by Robin Kall, aka “Reading with Robin,” who has hosted a book-based talk show on a Rhode Island radio station for over ten years. Several times a year, Robin hosts author events at local halls and restaurants, allowing her listeners to see/hear the authors in person.
When I saw that Adriana Trigiani was going to be featured (and, in fact, that this was the closest Adriana would be to me in the Boston area), I knew that this was something special which called for a road trip. It also called for a VIP to ride shotgun with me, so I invited my friend Donna, telling her that I wanted to treat her for National Girlfriend’s Day (which, Donna informed me, is actually in August, not April, but she was willing to overlook my poorly organized calendar!).
We planned easy dinners and arranged rides for our kids (7 between the two of us) to and from hockey try-outs, band concerts, baseball practice and playdates, and hit the road around 4:30 last Thursday afternoon.
The event was at West Valley Inn in West Warwick, Rhode Island; about an hour and a half south, without traffic. To get an idea of how nonsensical that phrase, “without traffic,” was at 4:30 on Rte. 128/95 that afternoon, know that one of my tweets read something like “I’ll never get used to the breakdown lane being open for driving during rush hour. #scary.”
Donna packed a picnic dinner for our drive – those drinks are a smoothie concoction of cucumber, apples, and pineapples (and you thought I was drinking another Shamrock Shake, didn’t you!?); we also enjoyed cheese and crackers, sliced apples, and champagne grapes. Classy stuff for a swagger-wagon! Time flies while you’re having fun … and chatting, which is what we did for 75 miles (and again on the ride home!). We made it to the event in good time, and even saw a rainbow on the drive down … go ahead, say it, “how cool is that?!”
The hall was packed! P-A-C-K-E-D packed! We were seated auditorium style, and, while I didn’t count heads, I would guess there were 400-450 people in the room. The event opened with Robin introducing herself and telling a bit about Adriana’s most recent novel, The Shoemaker’s Wife. In essence, this is the fictionalized account of her grandparents’ story, from their days in Italy to their lives in Little Italy – no spoilers!
Then Adriana walked into the room – she is a rock star! Everyone was up on their feet, clapping and waving … she was waving right back … and hugging … and chatting. She must have know half the people in the room, and made the other half feel just as welcome.
Now, during the intro, Robin had indicated that their could be no photography or videography during Adriana’s performance. Performance? I thought she was going to do the typical author event – talk about the new novel, read an excerpt or two, take questions, etc. No. It was a performance! Not a scripted song and dance, but a wonderful time (almost two hours!) listening to Adriana talk about her Italian-American heritage and family dynamics, hearing her personal stories, nodding along in recognition, laughing, and laughing, and laughing.
We broke for coffee and dessert, and walked over to where Adriana was talking with some people from the audience. I overheard enough snippets of conversation to cement my earlier impression – half the people in the room had met her at a previous event, the other half was made to feel as if they had met before – she is so warm and welcoming!
Donna and I made our way to the front to say hello; I introduced myself (and the blog name) and was rewarded with an instant wide smile and ‘of course, Dawn, I thought I recognized you!’ Adriana went on to explain to the women standing behind us what a blog is, what bloggers do, and how we can connect with others over books even from a distance.
Thank you, Adriana – for writing the novels that keep us coming back for more … and bringing our friends along for the ride! Thank you, Robin – for organizing such a fun event; the energy in that function hall was incredible! And thank you, Donna – for putting up with my crazy schemes for 40+ years, here’s to many more adventures!