Christmas of 2007, my grandma gave me a book called The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale. I fell in love with the book and begged for the rest of the series. The second book, Enna Burning, is still my favorite book to this day.
Over the years I’ve had to buy newer versions of The Goose Girl and Enna Burning because they’ve been worn down and destroyed in my backpack and purse. The original 2007 copy of The Goose Girl got destroyed by a leaky water bottle too, so in 2011 my grandma bought me a new hardback copy that I’ve somehow managed to keep in perfect condition.
Enna Burning got lost along the way when I left for college,
and I couldn’t find it anywhere. It was heartbreaking to lose my favorite book, so my grandma bought me a new hardback copy of that one too, completing my collection (because the last two I originally owned in hardback). Eventually my original copy was found (one of my sisters borrowed it and didn’t return it), so I have two copies of it.
In the summer of 2009, Shannon Hale was doing a book signing in Southern California on my birthday. It was supposed to be the coolest thing ever. I was going to go and get all my books signed for my birthday. Except we had a family reunion 7 hours north of where she would be, and I had to miss it. Worst birthday ever.
That year was a horrible year for me. Bad thing after bad thing wore me down. I was betrayed and abandoned by two of my close friends. My best friend (the one who helped me overcome the betrayal) moved far away and we’ve lived 6+ hours apart since she moved. My other closest friends (some kids I used to babysit who were a big part of my life when I was in high school) moved across the country so not only did I lose some people I loved to talk to, I lost people who inspired my writing and I lost my job.
And I hit my very lowest with depression. Reading and writing brought me back.
Fast forward to last week. My family is visiting for Thanksgiving, and my mother wants to go to a bookstore to look at some things. We go inside and look around. There is a desk in the middle of the store and a woman is signing books. One of the attendants informs us that there are more authors coming in later in the day, and the next ones to stop in are Shannon and Dean Hale for the release of the book they cowrote.
I don’t really remember much of what happened next. Husband of Mine drove me home so I could pick up all my nice copies of the Books of Bayern for her to sign. We stopped to get lunch because we still had time before Shannon would be there, then we went back to the store.
I stood there and got my books signed. All four of them. She asked me who was my favorite, and I answered Enna. I didn’t mention the part that I would read my favorite lines over and over again every day because it kept me sane when I was at my lowest. I didn’t tell her that her character inspired me to keep fighting to make my life better. And I failed to bring up how her writing inspired me to pursue my dream of becoming an author.
She borrowed my lotion. We talked more about her books. I got my picture taken with her too, thanks to my younger sister.