Today, the Southern Half of Evelyn David spoke at the Grove Public Library, in Grove Oklahoma. Her presentation of "A Mystery Writer Shares Some Clues" was filmed by the local cable channel. She only hopes that her nose wasn't shiny and that she didn't use too many, "you knows" in the speech.
Personal Log – Star Date 20070719 (Yes, I was a big Star Trek fan)
Leaving Muskogee at 9:30 am for what most informed me would be a 90 minute drive to Grove, I felt confident I could arrive by noon – no problem. I got gas for my trusty old Ford Explorer, got a bacon/egg/cheese biscuit for me, and headed out.
Grove is a beautiful little lake town in the northeastern part of Oklahoma. Full time population is over 5000 with an increased number during the summer due to the proximity of nearby Grand Lake of the Cherokees. Fishing, boating, and other water sports abound, although this year's continued rains have limited access to the lake. Local campgrounds have been closed due to high water and flooding.
Driving north from Muskogee, I took the scenic route instead of the Cherokee Turnpike. This was a decision I made as the road divided and I had to choose without checking a map or giving it due consideration. As Robert Frost advised – "Take the road less traveled by." The trip along the old, two-lane Highway 412 was very beautiful – winding roads, lots of green trees and shrubs, bright blue water, and slow moving vehicles. Yes, slow-moving vehicles. I bet Robert Frost did most of his traveling by foot. Me? I was stuck behind a logging truck going 25 miles an hour for twenty minutes going on a year. Luckily, I had allowed an extra hour for the trip – I needed every minute of it.
I passed by a hand-printed sign – "Garlic – next right." Not too odd for Oklahoma. Lots of people are selling watermelons, corn, okra, and even peaches on the roadside this time of year. But garlic? Someone must have had a bumper crop! Of course maybe it wasn't someone trying to sell garlic. Maybe it was a warning to all the vampires that might be traveling down that highway? I know what you're thinking and yeah, I probably did sniff too many fumes from the logging truck.
Thanks to "Rose" a member of the Grove Friends of the Library and the detailed map she kindly mailed me a week or so ago, I arrived at the library with 10 minutes to spare. Well, not really to spare since I had to unload all my vital supplies (poster, easel, books, bookmarks, purse, and candy) and find a ladies room so I could tame my windblown hair.
The Grove Public Library is only about two years old. It's a beautiful, modern building that someone clearly took greats pains to get the design just right. A stuffed pelican in a glass case takes center stage in the main room. The inside of the library is airy, light, with open shelving, multiple computer stations for patrons, and even a boat with carpeted seating and plush nautical themed beanbag chairs for the kids. It's a very, very nice place to spend a few hours or days.
It was a full room for my presentation plus a reporter/cameraman from the local cable station. He videoed my entire speech and then interviewed me afterwards. That was quite a surprise! I was very nervous, but I'm learning to just jump in and pretend like I've done these unfamiliar things a million times. So far my acting ability has worked for me. Of course I never, ever, want to see the actual video – that would probably traumatize me so badly that I'd never be able to get up in front of a group again.
This group of readers was wonderful. They were very welcoming, asked great questions about the book, and laughed at my jokes. Many people were interested in the history of "Whiskey," Mac Sullivan's Irish Wolfhound. One gentleman asked how many current books are written by two authors – I told him I didn't have a clue but that I felt sure Marian and I were absolutely unique because of our internet method of writing! After the question and answer period, I sold quite a few books and everyone took a bookmark or two.
On the way home I drove through the Grove Dairy Queen for a hot dog and diet Pepsi. I've found I can't eat lunch before I speak but I'm starving afterward. The $1.99 hot dog deal at the DQ was great. Best hot dog I've had all year.
I took the turnpike home. It was a faster drive – but a lot less interesting. I'm still wondering about that garlic.
If you're ever in Grove, Oklahoma, check out the Grove Public Library. In addition to a stuffed pelican and a friendly staff, you'll find a copy of Murder Off the Books on the shelves.