I set my alarm for 5:45 a.m. Saturday morning, September 7th. I picked my friend up at 7:45 a.m. to travel 161 miles to Walker, Michigan [near Grand Rapids, on the western side of the state]. Susan Branch was coming to town for a book signing of her newest book, A Fine Romance.
The book signing began at 11:00 a.m. at Schuler's Book Store on Alpine Avenue.
We pulled into the parking lot at 10:00 a.m., and went into the store to get our signing ticket number, before going next door to a women's fashion store while waiting for the book signing to begin. I was #33 and my friend was #34.
As we walked to my car to deposit my friend's purchases, I visually scanned the parking lot in search of Susan's 'Fine Romance' van, and found it. There was time for a picture, so we walked over never dreaming Susan and Joe would be sitting inside. They were just getting ready to exit to go inside the store, so we got to be their 'unofficial' greeters! [Actually I think they had already been in the store earlier and left to get a bite to eat, so we really weren't the first ones to greet them.] Susan said it was her first time to visit Michigan, and Grand Rapids was the only Michigan stop on her cross-country book tour.
Below is Joe re-parking the 'Fine Romance' van in a front-row parking space.
What a cool van! You could never forget where you parked!
Everything was set-up for the book signing in a conference area of the book store.
Petey came to the book signing too!
Before Susan started signing books there was a question and answer time.
Not everyone could fit inside the area, but it was an open-concept design, so those outside could still see and hear Susan.
Joe graciously allowed me to take his picture during the question and answer period.
I don't know how many books Susan signed, but it was enough to give her writer's cramp!
My turn to get my book signed.
Many attendees wanted their picture taken with Susan, including me! Susan and I are the same age. She just lost 20 lbs., and makes me want to do likewise. Discipline! Discipline! I need to make her Gazpacho recipe instead of my scone recipe!
For all of you tea lovers, Susan is coming out with an adorable tea tin and her two favorite blends of tea soon. Read about it on her blog here.
When we left Grand Rapids we headed for East Lansing in hopes of going to Wanderer's Teahouse and Cafe on Grand River Avenue across from the Michigan State University campus. All the parking lots were full due to a Michigan State football game, so we had to park on a side street and walk to the teahouse. We were disappointed to discover it had closed because the owner took a job in Texas. We ended up at a near-by Taco Bell instead. The fast-food establishment was a definite contrast to a tranquil tea establishment!
Once at home, I excitedly began reading my new book until my eyes got heavy. What a wonderful day meeting Susan Branch and Joe Hall [she goes by the professional name she began her career with] and acquiring her new book. If you don't have it, go to her website and order one today. You won't be disappointed. It's perfect reading with a cup of tea!
[Photo courtesy of Detroit Tea Examiner]