Stories have arcs. Characters have arcs. Writers have arcs. We write, we get better at our craft. We read, we get better at our craft. We interact with other writers and our readers, we get better at our craft. Whether you are a professional writer or just starting out. Hobby or career. We are all in this together. Welcome.

Contact: Elena Hartwell - elenahartwell@gmail.com and visit me on the web at www.elenahartwell.com

My First Year With Eddie Shoes

Chronicling my first year as a published novelist. 
Such an exciting adventure. Scroll down for earlier events.

The Official Launch Party Rocked Stop Gap Theatre at Bellevue College

Joined onstage by Bradetta Vines and Karen Jo Fairbrook as readers. 


I also had singer/songwriters Marty Ofsowitz and Sophia Federighi. 

Like any party, I wondered... would anyone come? 

The audience was amazing! Almost fifty people turned out.

So many people helped out - Dave Hastings (my longtime friend and collaborator) and BC student Joe Hart made the stage look so pretty! 

Dave also took great photos. My yogis brought coffee and Mom helped bake cupcakes. With the help of Tammi Doyle, Chair of the Theatre Department at BC, and the support of friends, family, fellow faculty, and students, Eddie Shoes was launched into the world in a fabulous way. 

Can't wait for the next event! U Bookstore, Bellevue, on June 13th at 6pm 
with author Bharti Kirchner!

My first month as a published author continues to be full of epic events. After appearing at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego, I feared everything else would be a let down.

But the readings at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park and King's Bookstore in Tacomawere amazing.
Two wonderful bookstores

If I've learned anything after twenty years in the theater, it's to surround myself with great people. I got to join Jack Remick and Robert J. Ray at Third Place Books for a reader's-theater style performance from each of our most recent books. (Well, my only book, the guys are very prolific).

The audience overflowed The Den, the wonderful staff found extra chairs, and we were off! So much fun to read with these two remarkable writers.

On May 22nd, I got to read with a longtime mentor, colleague, and friend, Marilyn Bennett. Our Friday rehearsal was approved by Herbert, one of the resident critics, so I knew we were ready to go.
Herbert the cat

We started with a monologue performed by Marilyn, then did two scenes from the book together, and ended with me, reading the opening of the novel.

Such a great audience! They stayed and asked questions, had a little bubbly, and I got to sign books. So pleased to be able to engage with readers and support a local, independent bookstore.

It's been an emotional couple of weeks. Fear, that no one would come or that people would come, then the reading would fail. Elation, as audiences arrived and the readings go well. Anxiety about whether or not people enjoy my book. As an artist, it's very hard to know how your work is experienced. We often downplay the compliments, thinking "they are just being nice," and obsess about the negatives, taking even a simple, offhand comment and spinning it into "they hate my work!" But the high from people laughing and applauding at the end of the readings helped allay the fear.

Which is good, because I'm hard at work on book two, and the confidence their responses gave me helps me leave my inner critic at the door.

Next up! The official launch party on Saturday May 28th at 2pm! Click here for information about the event.

First Bookstore Event... the bar was set high!

The very first bookstore event I attended as a published author was on May 7th, for the Mysterious Galaxy's Birthday Bash. Located in my hometown of San Diego, Mysterious Galaxy celebrated their 23rd year as the premiere bookstore dedicated to a passion for books of “Martians, Murder, Magic and Mayhem.”

Arriving early (theater people know arriving on time means you're late), I found the bookstore full of people and a writers' panel going full swing.

It was hard to believe in just a short time, I'd be up there too.          Having taught at the university level for almost twenty years, I've done a lot of public speaking in my time. At writers conferences and writers workshops, I've stood in front of thousands of people. But this was the first time someone could hear me speak, and then be able to go and buy my novel. I'd waited a long time for this moment.

My panel included authors Kelley ArmstrongDaryl Wood GerberKwei Quartey, and Gavin Scott. They had each written a number of books (Kelley Armstrong has almost 40 titles alone!). It felt humbling to be sitting next to these prolific, award winning authors.
Our panel went great. It was so fun to see the audience. Though I did wonder, would anyone buy my book?
Regardless, it was a real kick to see my novel on the shelf.

The signing was equally amazing. I had decided no matter what happened, I was going to be happy just to be there. I ended up sitting at a table with Kelley. The line for her signature snaked around the bookshelves, people carrying stacks of her books, while my line was a wee bit thin. It was a delight to sign books for friends and family. I felt like a real "author." Then it happened. The moment I'd been hoping for. A person who didn't know me and did not have the last name Hartwell, came up to where I sat. She carried a book. My book. She asked me for an autograph. It was a moment I'll never forget. I'd arrived.

But where had I arrived? I knew it was just a single spot to stop for a moment on the author's road I'm traveling. But it was an important stopping place. 

For the moment, I just sat back and enjoyed the view. 

1 comment:

  1. I love your zest for life. Makes me happy just reading your blog. Thank you. donna