Originally this pet please was going to be “when your expectations are exceeded.” But then I realized that this isn’t about me–it’s about a man named Steve Wiegenstein.
Steve is a professor at Columbia College in Columbia, Missouri. Last year, he sent a completed manuscript of a novel he had written to my publishing company for consideration.
The novel started slowly, but once it got moving, we realized that we had stumbled upon an immensely talented writer and storyteller. Much to our delight, after we accepted him as our 2011 author, we also discovered that he was extremely open to revisions (the novel now starts as late into the story as it possibly can, which is key–keep that in mind if you’re a writer) and that he fully embraced the idea of self-promotion. He’s been a pleasure to work with.
Today was Steve’s first-ever book reading and signing. Subterranean Books, an independent bookstore on the Loop here in St. Louis, hosted the event. As the clock ticked closer and closer to the start time, we realized that we were serving a packed house. There were about 30 people–maybe even more–crowding into the upper level of the store.
Before Steve spoke (turns out that he’s also an excellent speaker), my co-founder Kristy and myself had a really nice moment with Steve. We asked him how he was feeling, and he said that he was a little nervous, but that it was also sinking in that this was all really happening. He was now a published novelist about to speak in front of a packed house. One of his long-time dreams was coming true.
After Steve climbed the stairs and began greeting people, Kristy turned to me and said, “It feels like we’re giving birth.” I don’t think she was talking about the pain and agony of going into labor; rather, she was saying that we were giving life to something that was about to take on a life of its own. And that feels pretty darn great.
Steve is really going places with this novel. In all seriousness, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s shortlisted for a number of literary awards this year, and this is for a book that is page turner. If you want to be a part of this man’s dream, you can buy Slant of Light here in a variety of formats. If you do, and if you write a review of the book on Amazon, I will write a public love letter on this blog to anything you want, no matter how outlandish it is. Except sauerkraut. I can’t even pretend that I like sauerkraut. It is the devil’s toejam.
Also, a special shoutout to Katy and Jasmin, two readers of this blog, who took time out of their night to drop by the bookstore tonight for the reading. That meant a lot to me.