Like kids, the Big Apple never sleeps. Admit it—you fantasize about shopping at Jimmy Choo’s, followed by a power snacking at Magnolia Bakery, while you imagine Alicia Keys singing Empire State of Mind in the background.
I’ll admit that when I had attended BookExpo America, this visualization was a fleeting thought. For an author, BookExpo America is the equivalent of a child’s first trip to Disney World, seeing the Cinderella castle and cast of characters in real life.
After being published, the concept of having something in common with Nora Roberts, Stephen King and my idol, Harper Lee—in that at one time, like me, they were unpublished—hadn’t really sunk in, until I was invited to sign my novel at the autograph party. I sat at the same table that Carl Reiner had signed his book (yes, it’s a toupee and he’s proud of it), meeting people who had actually heard of me. Okay, so Mary Higgins Clark, Henry Winkler and Gloria Estafan had hundreds lined up for a copy of their best sellers and I had 10 to 20 people at a time, but who’s counting? As an author and avid reader, the experience of signing my book in the diamond capital of the publishing world was like a week’s worth of Christmas mornings, unwrapping Victoria’s Secret goodies.
A Broadway play producer (actually, she’s an off-Broadway producer) met with me to discuss the possibility of turning my first published book—Sabrina’s Destiny—into a play. Okay, so there were more than a few “offs” added to the off-Broadway, I still experienced what some may call an out of body episode. My lips formed the appropriate words, but my mind was in SoHo picking out a pair of strappy black Manolo Blahniks to go with my Vera Wang gown, for my red carpet walk at Radio City Music Hall for next year’s Tony awards. Did I mention fantasies are an author’s right of passage?¾mine can rival the Empire State of Mind, big time.
The highlight of my trip was meeting fellow author, Michelina Pagano, Manhattan native and author of “The Road to Jude.” After a year of communicating via telephone and email, we cemented our bond even tighter during my week’s stay in her city. We ventured to Brooklyn where we taped a radio interview, at the WNYE studios. A station that reaches nine million households in the tri-state area. We shared our musings about friendship, the art of writing and the common mystical themes in our work.
This trip was a new author’s paradise, and the collection of memories may show up in one of my books someday. You can be sure the heroine will be wearing trendy shoes and carrying sinfully expensive bottled water.
The education and friendships formed with authors from all over the world was worth every Atavan I popped for my intense fear of flying. I also learned that New Yorkers don’t really say, fuggetabout it, they’re not rude, and they don’t snicker or roll their eyes when asked for directions to the Christmas tree at Rockefeller center in mid-June.
I hope to someday return with my latest release; WHAT A GIRL WANTS.