Have you ever been asked what your weakness was in a job interview? It's the question you're supposed to answer with: I work too much or a similar humblebrag. The few times I've been asked that question, I wanted to be truthful and respond: I'm terrible at sending thank you notes.
It's true. No matter how grateful I am, no matter how substantial the "gift", it can take me weeks to write a note expressing my gratitude. So it's no surprise that I'm about two weeks late in getting this note out to thank everyone who was a part of this year's Napa Valley Book Fest.
First, thank you to all of you who attended. Without you dear readers, there'd be no reason for writers to tell stories.
And what amazing storytellers there were at the Book Fest. Beginning with our Book Fair participants:
J. M. Berry, aka Cheryl Velazquez who was a huge help untangling the garland!
Kelly E. Carter, who not only said yes, but invited two friends
Kimberley Lovato and Jill Robinson, who accepted Kelly's invite and came up from SF
Lisa Mattson, who brought wine and is donating proceeds from her book to Sonoma Family Meal
and Craig Smith, who is not only a writer but also has a vision for making downtown Napa more robust.
Also present at the Book Fair were both of Napa Valley's stellar book sellers, Copperfield's Books and Napa Bookmine and the St. Helena Library Friends & Foundation.
It was super exciting to have Steve Sando there with Rancho Gordo Press, a collection of the books he's publishing, all filled with delicious recipes (sign up for his emails for some tasty examples). And next year he's promised to bring something to sample!
I am beyond grateful to all of the Book Fair participants who were willing to spend their Saturday at this quasi-test event.
The storytelling kicked into full gear when Norma Quintana took the stage to be interviewed by Lisa Mattson. It was an emotional and inspiring conversation and I cannot express my gratitude enough to both of them for talking about their lives post-fire.
And then the afternoon picked up momentum with Lydia Kiesling talking about motherhood, Nicole Gulotta speaking with Sarah Scott about cooking and poetry, Robin Sloan giving a news scoop to Kelsey Reynolds (search the NYTimes for AI and novels), and finally with Ingrid Rojas Contreras charming the room as she discussed being funny across multi-cultures and her family's reaction to her book.
It was truly a line-up that sparkled from start to finish. But the day would not have been if it weren't for a lot of people who helped me in so many ways, including:
Naomi Chamblin for bringing a book culture to Napa,
Elayna Trucker for her early encouragement,
Dreanne Foust, who was a steadfast support at every step and the creative genius behind the book-themed decor,
Lisa Maass, my clever sister who is always there to help, including the day before the Book Fest, when she insisted we could fit the eight-foot tables in the six-foot elevator and thankfully she was right,
Josh Irby, who made every single paper airplane that became garland and helped carry one of those big tables up a flight of stairs with me,
Sarah Scott, for being the best writer's club anyone could ever dream of,
Andy Demsky, my literary friend,
Julia Scannell, for designing the Book Fest logo,
Ruth Souroujon, for her long-time support and for giving up her other plans to attend,
Rochelle Newbold, who offered advice during the planning stage,
Mary Grace and Lesley Russell, my fab neighbors who not only attended, but brought their daughters,
and Jack Irby, my ever-supportive husband who indulges my crazy ideas and ambitions.
And now with this thank you note sent, I feel a lot better. Why did it take me so long to write it....