A book tour to remember…
With the release of To Follow Her Heart, book #3 in The Southold Chronicles series, I was thrilled to travel to some of my favorite places (Hood River, Mowsley, Long Island!) to promote the book! On September 2nd, I joined my friend and fellow author, Jane Kirkpatrick, where we both signed our latest (Jane’s is The Road We Traveled) at Waucoma Bookstore, in Hood River, Oregon. I first met Jane when she was signing copies there of her nonfiction book,
Aurora, An American Experience in Quilt, Community, and Craft. I bought three (gifts!) and I brought along my copy of A Gathering of Finches–the first novel of Jane’s I’d read, and a favorite! It has become a tradition to join each other at Waucoma since my debut novel, A Place in His Heart. She truly is a gracious friend! And now I was on to Mowsley!
On September 10th, Hubs and I flew off to England for a mini-tour! I attended the Christian Resources Together in Swanwick and signed books with author
Julie Klassen. Anne Rogers, a sales manager with Lion Hudson in England, arranged for my book signing with Julie during CRT, which is similar to the International Christian Retail Show here in the states. It was fun, inspirational (Rico Tice spoke), and we signed a lot of books (Julie signed The Painter’s Daughter)! Back in Market Harborough, I found myself in a radio interview with Harborough FM broadcaster, Richard Oliff, I felt like a Rock Star . . . I mean Book Star :o) Richard’s energy and
smooth, well-modulated voice come across on the airwaves, and if you listen carefully you’ll hear his charming smile, too, and he put me at ease with his questions and easy style. My hubby, Tom, got to join in the interview, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. I do have the tape, and once edited I will post it!
It was in Market Harborough we decided to wander the shops. and what did we find? My favorite kind of store, Christine’s Book Cabin–filled with well-
loved books! It was Malcolm Noble who greeted us, and we found later that Christine is his lovely wife. Malcolm, it turned out not only loves books, but he is an author himself AND a genealogy nut – truly a person after my own heart! It is Malcolm who put us through to Richard at the radio station – Christine works at HFM 102.3 and snagged the interview for me!
And then it happened. I was in Mowsley, standing in the 13th century church where my ancestors, Mary and Barnabas Horton would have come to worship. Barnabas would have been baptized in the font that still stands in the church–and possibly Mary! It was the church they left as a married couple in the
1630’s during the Great Migration. Now, Reverend Liz Bickley had arranged for me to speak at St. Nicholas and as I stood there, ready to share my faith and writer’s journey, the lights went out and the enormity of that moment in the ancient church gripped me. Here I was, speaking by candlelight and the connection to my past took my breath and warmed my heart. I felt the Hortons had come full circle, and I was blessed to be a part of it. Liz did so much to spread the word about my author talk, and I appreciate everything she did to prepare for me!
The people we met in the village of Mowsley were warm and welcoming, the streets pristine and the homes well-cared for. We enjoyed the hospitality of Erica H., and she left us with the key to the church so Tom and I could explore it at our own pace. The town historian, John, and his wife Vine, had us to their home (on the road to Saddington!) several times for a lovely lunch and tea, and served as our guide on a village walk.
It is still a tiny village, with the same street names that date from when the Hortons owned 3/4 of the village. The mill stone that was last in use is implanted in the sidewalk on the main road. Many of the houses and buildings date from the 1700’s, including the Horton House, which belonged to a Mary Horton. Of course, Barnabas and Mary were gone by then, but she must have been a cousin :o)
Today, Horton House is owned by Paul H. and his lovely wife, and they graciously offered it for our use when the lights went out! If we’d been totally in the dark,we’d have taken them up on the offer!
The last of the Hortons left Mowsley over thirty years ago, but two of the residents can remember them. His name was Eddie and his daughter’s, Rosemary. Janet S. brought me a newspaper with a picture of Rosemary’s daughters, Jennifer and Anne. Roy H. told me he thought I looked like Eddie, and I believe him. I do take after the Horton side of the family!
From Mowsley, U.K. to Southold, L.I. within a week! The journey for Barnabas and Mary was much longer and arduous, so I’ll not complain here of the jet lag :o) Southold has always held a special place in my heart. To return for a third book event and sign copies of To Follow Her Heart was wonderful, and I had a good time at Burton’s Bookstore during the Maritime Festival. Meeting the people who come through for the event is such fun, and I always enjoy
the occasional distant Horton cousin that stops to chat. It was such a thrill to meet Gene Horton for the first time – a descendant of Barnabas and Mary through their son Jonathan! How I’ve never met him before this, I don’t know! It was John and Vine who asked if I knew him, for he’d been to Mowsley a couple of times. When I finally met Gene in Southold we had lunch at Founder’s Tavern (so appropriate!) and he gave me a tour of the Jeremiah Vail House, which dates from 1657.
So here’s to friends and family, old and new, far and near! I have more pictures and more tales of my travels, but this is long and I will divide and present them over the next few weeks. I’ve been blessed by my travels, blessed by the stories I’ve heard, and though I miss everyone, I treasure the memories.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11