Monday, 9 July 2018

A Gift of Story

I can't believe this! This was supposed to be posted in May! Was looking for something else on my computer, when I stumbled upon it. Here I pride myself on doing a half decent job of promoting my book. I guess life gets too busy at times and things get forgotten. Or else I was too excited about my trip to Pennsylvania. Oh well. here it is now, better late than never:

May is special, as it happens to be the month when my book, Hutterite Diaries got its wings. In the past three years, it’s found a home in many homes and schools in Canada, the United States and Europe. I know many Hutterites and non-Hutterites are enjoying it, but there are many more who still haven’t seen it. What I’ve noticed since its release, is that many Hutterite moms and grandmas love reading it. So much so, that they want their own copy. On that note, I decided to do a Hutterite Diaries newsletter-post, just in time for Mother’s Day. (And here's it's July and the thing was still stuck in a file on my computer, until I rescued it today.)

I always chuckle when I hear authors mentioning their boxes of books sitting in a closet. Now I’m one of them. No, I don’t really have boxes full sitting around, for I don’t order that many at the time. I do have some, though, and there are more at Herald Press. I’d be delighted to put them into the hands of readers – for example, your mom or grandma, if she doesn’t have one yet. 

I got a heartwarming phone call from a sweet Hutterite grandma in Alberta, Canada, shortly after my book was released. She was reading my book and wanted me to know how much she enjoyed it. I’ve never met this Oma, which made her call extra sweet:  "Linda, you’re such a good storyteller! I just finished your book and loved every story. I just had to call you.” After I swallowed the lump in my throat, I thanked her for taking time to call. “Where did you get my book?” I asked
 "I was at our school and saw one of our teachers with it," she replied. "I told him right away that I would love to read it and he kindly lent it to me." I got the feeling, while talking with her, that she was also fascinated with the idea of a Hutterite publishing a book.

Like this teacher, there have been many people who’ve shared Hutterite Diaries with others. One Manitoba School Division bought a copy for all its schools, plus the people working in the Division Office. This happened after one of their Hutterite teachers shared my book at one of their meetings, and read a chapter to the attendees. I have so many heartwarming stories in connection with Hutterite Diaries, I could probably start another book. 

One day I received a sweet email from another teacher in that same School Division. He wrote, “I love the rich Hutterian culture just oozing out of every single sentence. I think my students immediately recognized and connected with the 'Hutterite-ism' as soon as I started reading it to them. I was planning on initially using it just to introduce a writing composition called "A day in the Life of ..." Now they insist I keep reading the diaries to them because they are so rich in culture, dialogue, and just plain old colony life that all Hutterites can relate to. Even though this book is about Elm River, there is a character just like "that" in every community, that instantly comes to mind when reading. Well done, very well done!” 

So wonderful to see that he chose to use my book to introduce an ELA lesson! And yes, my hat’s off to his students for insisting he read the entire book! 

Amelia Earhart once said, 'A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees." Last spring, I visited a cherry orchard, which was in full bloom - a magnificent sight! When I think of all the people who have kindly helped spread the word about Hutterite Diaries over the past three years, I envision this orchard in all its splendor. Indeed, they've helped 'make new trees', and I’m so grateful.
About a month after my book was released I did a book launch at the Portage Library. Public speaking is not my forte, thus, I never enjoy being in front of an audience. I’m much more comfortable penning stories in front of my computer. However, I do enjoy sharing my book with people, so from time to time I agree to speak about it publicly. 

One such day was a book launch at McNally Robinson in Winnipeg. While we were planning the event, the organizer asked me how many people I’m expecting.  To which, of course, I responded, “I have no idea.”  I knew McNally Robinson publicized the day, and I spread the word about it as well. However, I didn’t know how many would take the time to come. With more than seventy people in attendance, the organizer deemed it a “great turn out”. It was beyond anything I could have dreamed. Hutterite Diaries stayed on their bestseller list for three consecutive weeks after that event. That too, was unexpected, and to borrow a line from Chief Dan George, “my heart soared”.   
Besides Amazon, Hutterite Diaries is also available in Manitoba at:
·         HB Book Centre at Baker Colony
·         James Valley Book Shop
·         McNally Robinson in Winnipeg
·         Portage and District Art Center Gift Shop in Portage la Prairie
·         In Saskatchewan it’s available at the Book Shop at Hodgeville Colony. 

I have books available as well, if you happen to want a signed copy and are willing to add shipping to the price of the book. If you live in my area, or any Hutterite colony in Manitoba, I can arrange to have the book sent to you via Hutterite Express, which wouldn't cost you anything.  

Enjoy spring (and summer) – watch the earth bursting with colour and life and “make new trees”.

In case you're wondering what Hutterite Express is: We have this unique way of shipping parcels, because there's a lot of travel opportunities from colony to colony: either for visits or business. For example: A teacher from Marble Ridge Colony (about 2 hours from my colony) ordered a copy of my book last year. I told her I'd send it via Hutterite Express. As it worked out, a Marble Ridge truck happened to pick something up here a day later, and the teacher got her book in record time. Canada Post couldn't have done it faster. 

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