I can’t say I was mobbed by fans at my book signing at Old Faithful Inn, but I did meet enough of them to confirm that the species exists. My favorite was a young man (about 15, I suppose) who asked, “Did you write this book? Can I get a picture with you?”
Second place goes to a guy a little older who said, “I started your book on the way up; it’s great. If I go and get it from my car, will you sign it.”
“Sure, I’ll be here all day,” I replied. The lobby emptied for the next eruption and I made my way up to the observation deck to watch Old Faithful play. When I returned, he was waiting at my table with a beat up copy of Adventures in Yellowstone. I signed it with a flourish. When I handed it back, he smiled and shoved it into his backpack.
“What’s the book about?” was the most common question I got (aside from “When does the geyser go off?”) The best answer seemed to be: “It’s a dozen first-person accounts of travel to Yellowstone Park in the Nineteenth Century.” Then I’d add: “real adventure stories—encounters with Indians, falling in geysers, watching bears fight.” If I held people’s attention for all that, I usually made a sale.
A lot of people asked: “Where did you get the stories?”
“Lot’s of places,” I’d say, “libraries, archives, magazines, books, the Internet; I have more that 300 of them and these are the twelve very best.” Sometimes that cinched a sale; sometimes people said they’d think about it, and, sometimes, they’d just walk away.
A couple of parents asked if they’re were stories they could read to their children. For adventure I suggested Ernest Thompson Seton’s tale about watching a momma black bear fight a grizzly, and for humor, The Earl of Dunraven’s hilarious description of how to pack a mule.
Some people didn’t need any arm twisting. One boy flipped open the table of contents and announced loudly: “It’s got Truman Everts’ story [about being lost alone in the park for 37 days]; I gotta have this book.”
A little later, a girl methodically sampled the book reading sections here and there. Then she put it back on the table and marched away. A few minutes later, she returned with her father in tow. “I never turned my daughter down when she wanted to buy a book,” I said. “Me neither,” he replied with a smile.
This girl was among the several people—mostly youngsters and teachers—that I handed my business card and asked to email me their reactions to my book. I hope I hear from them.