It’s hard to even express how awesome my launch party was, but because this is a blog I’m going to try. And plus, that’s what writers do— we attempt to describe the indescribable.
I exchanged a volley of emails with an English teacher at the Washington School for the Deaf over the last five or six months. Because my main character is a deaf teen, I wanted to honor the deaf community and have my launch party with them. Since this was the only real world launch party I was going to have, I went all out. I picked up a cake from the fabulous Beaverton Bakery (It had my cover on it!), and bought tons of Starbucks cards and Barnes and Noble cards to give away. I also raffled off my five books.
After my best, most awesome friend in the world, Ann, set up the table, (it was gorgeous!) and teacher, Shauna Bilyeu introduced me, I was live in front of a group of about 50 deaf teens.
And they rocked.
The teachers had set up a computer and projected my book trailer up onto a big screen. I then read a passage of the book, talked about my own high school years and took questions. And did they have some questions! Of course, it always helps to sweeten the deal by promising to chuck chocolate lips at those who asked one. They got a huge laugh at my non-existent throwing arm. I think I actually bounced one off one kid’s chest. The students were so interested in the flying chocolate and asking questions, the teacher had to step in and tell us we only had time for one more. After the raffle, it was time for CAKE!
Teri's name in sign language!
The students couldn’t believe I had thrown the entire party for them. Shauna came up and introduced me to a special girl, the amazing Olivia, who read my book in less than a day and adored it. I had one book left to my name and I gave it to her. Another young man came up and told me he was too embarrassed to admit in front of his friends that he was working on a book. He wanted to know what I did when I had writer’s block. We spoke for several minutes about writing and I told him to get in touch with me via email and I could send him the names of several books that could help. Another girl, Cassandra, came up and, through the Interpreter, told me that only a deaf person can give a hearing person a sign name. She then gave me mine: the t sign combined a sign that meant flicking through the pages of a book. TeriAuthor.
Teri and Cassandra!
The teachers were wonderful, the interpreters were fabulous and there aren’t enough adjectives in the world to tell how welcoming and fantastic those teens were. You know, I’ll probably do future presentations in schools, but I will never forget the time I spent with those kids.