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Yesterday was a big day in the life of Oil and Marble.
Hudson Booksellers (you know, where you most likely buy your books and magazines when in an airport) included Oil and Marble on its Best Books of 2016 list. It was one of only 10 fiction books listed and the review said (in part), “Oil and Marble is a magnificent story brimming with an all-star cast of world famous artists conducted by the talent of author Stephanie Storey… An intriguing unforgettable classic piece of historical fiction.”
Classic historical fiction?! Who are they talking about???
After this list came out, my publisher wrote to tell me they are heading into a FOURTH printing of hardcovers. I keep waiting for them to call and tell me the paperback is on the way, but I guess when they’re still selling hardcovers…
Seriously? Fourth printing??? For a debut novel?
Then, yesterday afternoon, the Spanish translation (called Leonardo y Miguel Angel in Spanish) arrived in the mail. Someone (namely my Spanish-language publisher, Pamies, and translator Pedro Santamaria) decided to translate my novel into another language?!
And now, today, November 1st — National Author’s Day, when readers celebrate their favorite authors — is the eight month anniversary of March 1st, when Oil and Marble was first published (I guess I now have to add, in English). 8 Months. It feels like Oil and Marble has been around forever and yet, somehow, I still have a hard time accepting that I’m a novelist. I’ve only worked toward this since I was seven-years old. You’d think I would’ve embraced this life the moment I finally achieved it, and yet, eight months later I still find myself staring my book and thinking, “Is that really MINE?”
Maybe the problem is, it isn’t really mine.
Last weekend, from October 21 – 23, I attended the Gilmore Girls Fan Fest in Washington Depot, CT. My husband, Mike Gandolfi, played Andrew (Bookstore owner, townie, war-reenactor) on the original series and is reprising his role when the new episodes come out on Netflix later this month.
For one weekend, cast and crew members of the original series and fans descended on Washington Depot, the town that helped inspire Amy Sherman-Palladino’s vision of Stars Hollow. The fan fest was not coordinated in conjunction with WB or Netflix or the show’s creators — it was done by and for its fans.
It was a fun, crazy weekend. Even though it was raining and cold, fans and media lined up to meet cast and crew or see them speak on panels…
And we even had lines out the door to come to my book signing at the Hickory Stick Bookshop (alongside my husband and the inimitable Liz Torres).
The entire town crackled with energy. Mothers and daughters laughed through events. Fans cheered and smiled and hugged, all excited just to be a part of this moment when Stars Hollow came to life.
All weekend, I kept thinking how Gilmore Girls doesn’t really belong to the actors or creators or staff and crew anymore…
It belongs to the fans.
They’ve taken over — and physically invaded — this world. They are the ones who keep it alive and breathing and demanding its return 10 years after it went off the air. Without these (sweet, earnest, excited) fans, Gilmore Girls would not be alive. It would be just another show in the annals of television history.
That’s how I feel about Oil and Marble. Without the readers who continue to come to signings and buy it in hardcover or kindle or audible (or even in Spanish) and write reviews on Amazon or Goodreads or tell their friends/family/book clubs/art museums about it, I wouldn’t be going on this ride. None of this fun stuff is really because of me. It’s because of my readers.
I know, I know, I need to embrace my author self. I did write the story everyone is reading, I get that, and I’m writing another one now, hoping to take the reader on another journey through the tumultuous history of art…
But I also know that I wouldn’t be experiencing any of these cool things (more news of exciting things for Oil and Marble coming soon, by the way…) if it weren’t for my readers — the people who have supported this book all along and who continue to talk about it and share it and pass it forward.
So, to you, dear readers, I thank you. Every celebration is thanks to you. And I promise to learn to embrace this novelist-life and write many, many more books in the years to come.
I love hearing from readers, even when I don’t have time to respond.
Know that I read and cherish every comment, social media tag, email and
snail mail note (yes, I still get those!)
(Featured photo by Gilmore Girls Costume Designer Valerie Campbell)