Recently, I did a book talk with a twist. Rather than spend the whole time talking about my newest book Gold Nuggets, we used the book as a kickoff for a discussion of the setting, Denali National Park and Preserve. I started the event by explaining how the park (then Mt. McKinley National Park) was founded and how I used that information in my novel. My husband, Mark Lovegreen, spoke about the wildlife. Nancy Bale of the Denali Citizens Council shared information about the conservation issues of the park. Together, we made a good team. Not only was it interesting to broaden the conversation, it was fun for me to have my husband as one of the panelists.
My husband drove tour and shuttle buses in the park for seven summer seasons. He knows the park road like the back of his hand, and he has seen some amazing things over the years. As he told stories about caribou, wolves and moose, I watched him, my chest filling with pride. He’s a good speaker, and the audience enjoyed it. It was great to see him shine.
Mark was a math and science teacher; I taught English and a little Social Studies. Mark is a talker; I’m more of a listener. Mark taught our daughter about critters; I taught her about books. We’ve always complemented each other well. But this is the first time we’ve been able to practice it in a public speaking event. It was a cool thing to share with him. This author gig has given me many opportunities, but for me, this was one of the most rewarding on a personal level.
Thanks to Rachel Epstein at the UAA Bookstore for coordinating and asking thoughtful questions, Nancy Bale for speaking eloquently about conservation, and my husband for his stories. It was truly a pleasure to be part of the team.