Posted by: jeannineatkins | October 17, 2007

Yay Northshire Bookstore! Yay Jo Knowles!

So once upon a time, for some twenty years, Jane Yolen led an SCBWI group in the basement of the Hatfield library, where all kinds of stars, stars-to-be and random writers read over the crank and huff of the dehumidifier, breathing the slightly musty (despite that formidable dehumidifier) scent of old books. Sometimes a beautiful young woman quietly took out her manuscript, read softly, eyes downcast, and we all said: Whoa!

Then, mostly, keep doing what you’re doing.

Okay, Jo Knowles jbknowles probably remembers a few picky things said, too, but this is my memory. Since Jo moved to the next state, sometimes I’ve seen her at conferences or lunches – and thank goodness for email. Today I got to meet her and Debbi Michiko Florence d_michiko_f at the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, VT. At a long wooden table, I ate my Little Mermaid sandwich (big fat tuna fish), they had their lunches, while we caught up. Then we passed through the book-lined passages to the subject of our quest. Lessons from a Dead Girl was beautifully stacked face-out. Debbi took photos from various angles while we gushed, and Debbi made enough sweet noises that Jeanette came from behind the counter and asked Jo and I to sign books. (okay, book singular in my case).

We had fun playing “Have you read…?” from their impressive teen section, mostly, then went to buy our books. I’d ordered Linda Urban’s lurban A Crooked Kind of Perfect, had asked to have it signed at her recent visit. The bookseller was chagrined that this hadn’t been done, apologized, ran to get me a signed copy, tried to page someone who knows Linda (what he planned to do if this person had been there, he didn’t say), apologized again. It’s okay, it’s okay, I said. Then when Jo was buying her books he said, “I’d like to give you twenty percent off for your trouble.”

“But it wasn’t my book that wasn’t signed!” Jo protested.

He shrugged and I laughed. We hadn’t said anything, but I think he guessed it was Jo’s day.

Now I can’t wait to brew (more) cinnamon-apple tea, get on my p.j.s, and start reading Lessons from a Dead Girl.



  1. Wonderful story. Congrats to Jo! 🙂

  2. Jeannine, it was a pleasure and a treat to meet you and to have lunch with you! Thank you for signing your book for me! I’m so happy! I hope to chat more with you on Friday 🙂

  3. Thanks so much for sharing this story. I’m so happy for Jo and it was nice getting this peek into her earlier writing days.

  4. Jeannine,
    You’ve made me cry.
    Thank you so much for every every every thing.
    I’m so happy we met in the dank yet strangely cozy basement all those years ago. How different my life would be if I’d never seen that flyer on the library bulletin board. If I’d never met you.

  5. Well, Rats! I didn’t realize you were going to have a book personalized. Jeanne, how far do you live from Northshire? I can get down there again soon and make things right.
    Sounds like you guys had a great day. Wish I could have been there to meet you!

  6. yes, what a great way and place to meet. I’ll look forward celebrating tomorrow. Just bought half a ton of cream cheese to make pumpkin cheesecake, am psyched for tonight’s kitchen smells!

  7. Thank YOU. Yes, Jo always has been, always will be, the best!

  8. MMmmm! Wish you could bottle that aroma!!! See you tomorrow!

  9. thank YOU
    I just told Peter what a little love fest we’ve got going on here today. He laughed, and after I read him your post, said, “Just make sure it’s lyrical, honey.”

  10. Hi, Linda — unfortunately I live 2 hours from Northshire and don’t get there nearly enough. Be assured they were reallly looking out for you, apologizing up the kazoo. We’ll meet one of these days I’m sure and you can add to your signature in my copy.
    (I just linked your lj name on my post, hope that’s okay)

  11. I’m about 2 hours away myself — but do let me know if ever you’re on your way there. I’m always game for a trip.
    Thanks for the link. 🙂

  12. Hey there! This is Rachel! I didn’t know you had LJ!
    We made Em make one a few years ago but she never really used it. 😛
    Anyway! I’m adding you! 😀

  13. Hey! So does this mean I’m cooler than Em? Don’t answer that. Thanks for reading! Now we’ve just got to get your mom on!

  14. haha!!
    Mom has one:
    She never updates though! She did just the other day after having it for like a year. 😛

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