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May 7, 2018

Lisa Wingate: A Book Release to Cherish

Lisa Wingate is the award-winning, bestselling author of over 20 novels, including her most recent, BEFORE WE WERE YOURS, which was a Bets On pick when it released last year. One of her fondest bookish memories revolves around her second novel, GOOD HOPE ROAD. Lisa was the mother of two young boys at the time, and when three advance copies of the book arrived in their mailbox, it led to a reading experience that, to this day, she holds very close to her heart.


One of my fondest memories related to reading --- other than being a horse crazy girl and begging my mother to endlessly read pony books to me on the theory that the purchase of a real pony couldn’t be far behind --- hails from the era of my second book release. Those were the young-mother times for me, when workdays ended with the squeal of school bus brakes and a puff of white caliche dust swirling down the ranch road.

Directly after exiting the bus, my two little fellows always checked the mailbox, argued over who would carry the mail, and, if it was trash day, paused to survey the neighbors’ rubbish heap for potential treasures before finally dragging their weary bodies up the long gravel drive to the house. On this particular day, the day that would inadvertently birth my favorite reading memory, three advance copies arrived in an envelope triumphantly toted by the victor of the daily mail-carrying argument.

When I opened the package, inside were three early copies of GOOD HOPE ROAD, along with a congratulatory note from my editor. Any author will tell you that it’s a special moment when this thing you’ve imagined is finally a book you can hold in your hands.

The boys were also excited. Perhaps they took that cue from me. Clearly, it wasn’t trash day, or they would have had bigger fish to fry, but as it was, there were three books and three of us. They asked if they could each have one and so I obliged, while settling down on the sofa with the remaining copy. The boys wiggled in on either side of me, and there we sat, thumbing through the pages, three readers with three books. The fifth grader read silently, because that’s what big boys do. The first grader whispered aloud, trailing the words one-by-one with a fingertip as he worked at sounding them out.

I rested my chin on a downy little head and closed my eyes and let the moment sink down deep where it could find a hiding place and stay. And it has, from then until now. From those chaotic, noisy, raucous days to these quieter times of empty houses and phone calls from fully-fledged man children, there’s a moment that lingers, that comes back now and then, with all its sounds and scents --- whispered words and caliche dust, bony elbows and squeaky tennis shoe soles, sweaty little bodies and hints of bubble gum-scented shampoo. Paper and ink.

Another page turning, as pages always do and will.