Alabama Authors, Literary Festivals, and Catfish

Yesterday felt like the first nice Saturday in 2018. Every weekend forecast since January has been rain, rain, and more rain, but yesterday was gorgeous with sunshine and warm temperatures.

As a result, very few people visited the Athens-Limestone Public Library, where a group of Alabama authors (and one Pennsylvania author on book tour) gathered for the Fourth Annual Catfish Literary Festival. While we sat around our book tables and spoke on panel discussions, the public gathered at outdoor events: Panoply in downtown Huntsville and Cars & Bikes on the Square in Athens.

Also, we had no catfish. Or food trucks of any kind.

I met a few people, though. One man wanted to know how I published my books. He’s another aspiring writer who’s thinking about taking the plunge into the world of self-publishing, and I gave him as much advice as I could while two young children circled him.

Another man came around with his daughter. She looked to be someone who was in my target audience, but she wasn’t making eye-contact. She didn’t like my books; she probably thought they were uncool. She probably thought I was uncool. Her discomfort made me uncomfortable. Two introverts sharing the same space are no good. You can practically hear the pop as we snap our heads into our turtle shells. It’s not ideal for selling books.

Another woman asked about my books for her daughters. She described them to me, how old they are, and what kind of grades they get in school. Since my books are about issues, we talked about whether the subjects were appropriate or not.

“Their father would kill me if I brought home a book about that,” she said.

The Future Unborn is about teen pregnancy.

“It happens,” I said. “Even with girls you wouldn’t expect.”

“I know.”

I don’t hold it against the woman for not wanting to talk about teen pregnancy or not wanting to give her daughter a book about the subject. I only find it curious because this happens whenever someone asks about that book at literary festivals. Is it because we’re in Alabama? Or would that happen anywhere? Is it just a parent thing that we don’t want to think about our girls growing up too soon?

Ah, well. Let’s not talk about that. Might as well pack up and go outside. Check out the car show. Eat some barbeque.