As a young girl living in a small, migrant town on the central coast, I wondered where my life would take me. Days would blend together as I pondered what the world was like; outside the verdant rolling hills, the manicured vineyards, the seemingly endless rows of cabbage and broccoli fields. Our small library and thrift store were my havens with books beckoning to faraway places; such as James Michener’s Hawaii, the English moors in Emily Bronte’s, Wuthering Heights, and my vast collection of Harlequin romance novels.
I thought of these things as I drove in the dreary rain, south, towards San Diego. Our destination: Mysterious Galaxy in Clairemont Mesa for a Kim Harrison book signing. Her new book, Ever After, released on 1/22/13 and after a feverish two days of consuming the contents of the book, my girlfriend and I were excited to meet one of our favorite authors. The genre of urban fantasy was introduced to our bookclub by this girlfriend; a stretch from my normal preferred repertoire of historical fiction or romance. I had a tough time with my first read. But as I continued to read the series I was hooked! So we made a day of it and another girlfriend joined in; just for fun.
I was a glutton; soaking immoderate amounts of good things. We enjoyed wine tasting at Ponte Winery in Temecula; having the time to truly converse sans kids. Amongst generous pours of: zinfandel, chardonnay and pinot griggio the sommelier taught us various ways to tie a scarf. Several hours later we headed south to Stone Brewing Co. for a late lunch of mushroom penne and Stone’s Vertical Epic Ale; a strong, dark and thick concoction with the earthy aroma of hops. I was able to enjoy great food and wine with great company.
As I drove past the cross on the hill near Pomerado Road, I thought of my friends who lived nearby. It was they who reminded me that I loved to read; a gift to a mom with three young boys whose husband was always deployed. Mysterious Galaxy was south of MCAS Miramar; a place where I spent a lot of time and finally found one of my dearest friends in a commissary. It was in San Diego that I discovered that, yes, I could do this parenting thing and retain who I was. I learned to make the time to read, amidst the burdens of raising young kids, and remembered the person I had been before marriage and motherhood.
So it was fitting that I found myself in a small, independent bookstore amongst a very diverse group of people; there to meet our beloved author. Our love of books, bibliophiles, and Kim Harrison bound us. As she read her book excerpt and answered questions I wonderingly sat; the shy, little girl from the small town. I listened to how she plotted her books and characters and the craft of world building. I follow her blog to understand what goes on in an author’s mind and to peek into her life to see where she finds inspiration. Signed books, in hand, we walked over to Starbucks and ordered the coffee the characters enjoy in her books: non-fat latte w/ a pump of raspberry, whipped cream and cinnamon sprinkled on top.
Fourteen hours later as I walked into my home and thought of my epicurean, bibliophilic experience I grinned. Priceless.