I wrote this on the occasion of my first book a bajillion years ago (at least that’s how it feels), so this is old, old news. So old, in fact, that I hesitated posting it here until I realized it reminded me of a few important things: how lucky I am, how much I missed my mom, how much I love all the Dixie readers and fans… So, why not? Also, it first appeared on DearReader.com‘s book blog, which is a site every book-lover should join immediately.
July 13, 2013 (from DearReader.com)
First of all I want to thank Suzanne for inviting me here today. Anyone who’s ever met her knows what I know — she’s an angel on Earth. Plus she has a bubble-machine. Anyone who has their own bubble machine is at the top of the human pyramid as far as I’m concerned.
Suzanne assured me I could write about anything I wanted, so I’ll start with the truth: I’m exhausted. There are a couple of reasons. First of all, it’s hot. “Hot as blue blazes,” my mother liked to say. Even as I write this I’m fighting with the dog for space on the floor in front of the AC. I don’t mean to be dramatic but I can barely take it, and yet I was born on the hottest, most humid day on record in the history of Beaumont, Texas.
It’s hard to believe now, but in those days, fathers weren’t allowed in the delivery room in most hospitals. They were banished to a waiting area down the hall, where they chewed on their fingernails and the corners of the morning newspaper. My father waited with another father-to-be, a sun-wizened farmer in sweaty overalls, cowboy hat pulled down low over his eyes, who every minute or so would nod and mutter, “It ain’t the heat, it’s the hum-ditty.” After mine hours of hearing “it’s the hum-ditty” over and over again, my father left convinced he’d been saying it wrong his entire life. Anyway, you’d think coming into the world as I did on a day as hot as hell in August, I could handle a measly Northeast summer with a little less whining.
Secondly, my first book came out just a few weeks ago — an astonishingly exhausting and surreal experience in and of itself — but made all the more surreal because it’s a Dixie Hemingway Mystery. Before my mother passed away (exactly two years ago this month) she asked if I would continue her series of adventures about an ex-deputy turned pet sitter. If there’s anything I know, it’s that things go better when you say yes to your mother. So I said yes, even though I was terrified by the idea, and sometimes I wonder if she truly believed I would pull it off.
I hope wherever she is that she can see it. Book number eight! The little world my mother created lives on… It feels like such a huge tribute to her, and I’m pretty sure everyone in my family feels the same way. My older brother emailed me just the other day to say he still hasn’t read it — every time he opens the book and turns to the first page he bursts into tears and has to stop. Apparently I’m not the only one in the family with a penchant for drama.