Only an Idiot Brings a Pen to a Gunfight
I don’t believe in taking credit for another writer’s work. Unless, of course, I can get away with it.
So we’re at the fantabulous Sunriver Books this weekend for a signing. It’s one of those terrific bookstores that sets Oregon off from so much of the rest of the country, where independent bookstores are rare or long gone. Katy King and I get there early to help set up. We’re wandering about when a young couple notices the display of books.
The guy says, “Are you the author?”
I lack the humility gene. “Yes I am!” I beam.
“Can you sign a copy? My dad would love that.”
“Of course!” I reach for my pen.
“He’s a huge fan of the show.”
Now, I’m a trained journalist. That makes me a keen observer of the world around me. Nothing escaped my attention. Not even Katy, turning crimson and laughing her ass off.
“Thanks!” I beam. The guy turns and hands me the book to sign.
“Any Other Name.” By Craig Johnson.
Craig is the creator of Longmire, who is the protagonist of the hit A&E network crime drama. And Craig’s coming to Sunriver Books, too.
First question: Have you met Craig? Big, studly looking guy. Favors cowboy boots and cowboy hats. He looks like … well, Longmire.
I freeze, staring at the book. And I consider just signing the damn thing. Hell, Craig Johnson sells a ton more books a year than I do! Why not?
Second question: Have you met me?
Katy, of course, realizes that it’s all good and well to impersonate another writer. So long as it’s not one who outweighs me and who regularly packs heat. She snares the elbow of the young woman in the couple and deftly guides her to the display of my books.
The upside: She bought my book. And the guy bought Craig’s book which, let’s be honest, is a terrific mystery novel. And I avoid a high-noon showdown on the 13th hole at Sunriver Golf Course.
But for just a split-second there: I had a hit TV series.
That was a nice split-second.
Come see Craig Johnson — no, the other one — at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 11, in Sunriver Books.