I remember the first time I read "The House of Sand and Fog" and aside from being completely captivated and emotional, I wanted to know how an author even came to create such a novel. I wanted to know his process and upon reading an article online, I discovered that not only did he live in the same town I did (at the time) but that he had recently written a memoir about growing up in Haverhill Massachusetts-where I spent my early childhood.
This weekend up in Newburyport, Massachusetts where i was attending a literary festival, I not only got to hear him speak and interview Ann Hood, but I had the pleasure of attending a party at the home that he built by hand! I wasn't feeling great that evening, but I was intent on meeting him. As I was heading out, he was on the front porch and suddenly I heard his rugged voice bellow "Well who are YOU?" I introduced myself, explained that i wrote for children when he asked if i was an author (also said not to say so apologetically) I then told him what a super fan I was of his work and then went on to explain that I recognized so many places he mentioned in "Townie: A memoir". He thought I was too young, but I explained that I was a child with a strong memory.
He was such a lively, warm man and joked about the fact that there should be a phrase for those moments leading up to a photograph (my boyfriend was taking a picture of us) where two people are waiting...cuddling? Canoodling? We laughed and he kept hugging me the whole time. I was so delighted that this man was so generous, welcoming and kind to each person that climbed those stairs to his house. A brilliant mind and also an all around great guy!