You see, I'm two distinct people. One wants to stay at home and write. Just write. She is a "don't-bother-me-go- away-I’m-busy" recluse. She could live in a cave above the Rio Grande and be perfectly happy. That is, of course, if someone brought food and drinking water. And coffee. The other woman wants to travel all over and speak to people and spend time with friends. Yeah, I live with both of them and a head full of characters.
The Event began with a reception at the Limpia Hotel. The people, the sun-filled room, the food, and the wine made magic. I didn't drink wine because I didn't want to risk being too talkative and spilling everything to my library audience later. “Elizabeth A. Garcia, Author” needs to have a few secrets.
I was privileged to meet a few wonderful Facebook friends in person, some of the charming Limpia staff, and I made many new friends. The surprise of the evening was a couple who recognized my name from years ago when I ran Big Bend River Tours in Lajitas. They lived there! But here is the best part. They used to go to our family restaurant, Garcia’s, in Paso Lajitas, Mexico.
They went on about a young man who had met them at the river in his truck and showed them around the pueblito before taking them to the restaurant. He changed their views on Mexico and Mexicans. They didn’t talk long before I recognized the young man, and I said, "That was my son, Manuel!" Those two happy, caring people transported me back in time 30 years. What an unexpected treat.
Of course they asked about Manuel, and I had to say that he died 6 years ago. Instead of a stab of pain, I felt joyous. Joyous that he had lived and that his kindness and enthusiasm for life had touched so many. And joy that he had been mine for a few magical years. It was as if he came and sat down with me and I could see him smiling. How could an event go wrong that started like that? And I reminded myself that if I stayed at home all the time none of that would've happened.
After the reception, we moved to the library where people were waiting to hear me speak. OMG, the pressure—the stage fright! Once I'm "onstage" that settles down a little. It’s fun to talk about my writing and hear readers’ various takes on it. Do you know that when you say, “I love Deputy Ricos!” you are speaking to my heart? Ditto if you say you love Jed or any of my other characters.
Speaking of Jed, someone asked about The Reluctant Cowboy and I spoke briefly about it. I wish I’d said that it’s my favorite book. I wish I’d said more than “It’s a coming of age story about a young bull rider who also happens to be gay.” That is such a cop-out answer. I wish I had said that I love Jed more than any of my other characters because he is strong, he’s beautiful, and he’s innocent and wise at the same time. He knows who he is and stays true to who he is in the face of some terrible things. The question caught me off-guard and I botched it. I wish Jed could have been there to talk to you. Then it would be clear. Anyway, thank you for asking the question because almost no one ever does.
“I know who all your characters are,” a reader said. I think (hope) she meant to say that the people in my books seem real. I wish I’d said that although not one character could’ve walked into the library with you, you can sit down with them anytime you wish.
Someone asked about my new novel (coming soon), The Trail of a Rattler. I also wish I’d been a little more forthcoming about that. I said, “It’s about a policeman in Ojinaga, Mexico.” Wow. Way to sell your next book, Beth Garcia. I have a mind and heart full of things to tell you about him, for he is much, much more than a policeman in Mexico. I’ll reveal some of those things in my next blog post.
When I published my first book, One Bloody Shirt at a Time, it was a tentative step into the world of sharing my work and putting my heart and soul “out there” for anyone to see. It was frightening, but it was also the beginning of a great adventure whose gifts continue to be revealed to me, one person at a time; or sometimes a whole roomful of people at a time.