|Me & Sherrilyn Kenyon|
Yes. I read romance novels. So do tons of women across the country, so I'm in great company. Once a year Southern Magic, my local chapter of the Romance Writers of America, puts on a luncheon and invites local authors to come down to meet and mingle with their readers. They also have a "headliner." A major author is invited to speak and sign books. This year that author was Sherrilyn Kenyon.
To say Sherrilyn Kenyon was amazing would not do her justice. She was inspirational because she was real, true, kind, and appreciative. She overcame what, statistically, should have been impossible odds and became a multi-bestselling author with a stable, loving home life. Her motto, which I will be emblazoning across my work bulletin board as soon as I can find someone with better handwriting than me, is "over, under, around, or through." She went on to say "There is no obstacle you can throw at me that I can't overcome. I am the mighty cockroach." And while this may sound cocky (rather than cockroachy), you have to have heard the preface to that, where she grew up in rural Appalachia to a single mother. How she had eight older brothers and a younger sister with Cerebral Palsy. That she had to wear her brother's hand-me-downs and was constantly ridiculed for it. That "romance novels saved [her] life" because they showed her a world where women could pursue their dreams, have jobs, and make lives for themselves. She worked three jobs to put herself through college. She raised a family while writing her bestsellers. So when she says "over, under, around, or through" I believe her.
Kenyon is also known for her devotion to her fans (though I didn't know it - another author who did know told me). Whenever possible (which means whenever she has any control over it) she will sign books until there is no one left in line. Even if that means signing books until 1am or later. At this luncheon there were less than 200 present, so she didn't have to stay that late. It was while waiting in line myself that I saw her kindness and appreciation. She looked into the eyes of each fan who got a book signed. She shook their hands (with her making that first move toward contact, mind you). If someone gave her a gift, she rejoiced. If she saw a camera she jumped up without having to be asked by the fan if she would take a picture with them. She chatted. She appeared to be in no hurry and she never looked at the line to see how long it was or moved her gaze to the next person in line until that person had moved up to the front of her signing table. It was amazing to watch. I became a hard and fast fan that day. I became one of Kenyon's Menyons.