Jul 082022

If you know me at all, it comes as no surprise that I love books, reading, writing and promoting them. I also have a son who goes by “Wild Willie” for his book review YouTube channel. Nova Scotia is also our home.

So… volunteering for River John, Nova Scotia’s Read by the Sea Literary Festival which promotes Canadian authors, books and readers of all ages with free events for everyone, was a natural fit. For me, it was no question that I would do all I could within my schedule to promote, attend meetings, decorate tables, hang banners and yes, interview a couple of the amazing authors in attendance who impress me greatly. To say I was nervous about that part would be an understatement. At one point, my son came up to me and asked “Are you up next?” just minutes before I was, in fact, up.

Which brings me to another amazing point. Not only did I volunteer and fight through exhaustion of life to put on a smile, take photos, ensure people were comfortable (sorry about the size, Morgan Murray), my son, my 12 year old son in the first week of his summer vacation, tagged along. But tagged alone is also an understatement. He was up and at em, eager to do whatever needed to be done and fought through his exhaustion to sell swag, carry boxes and chairs, hang banners and yes, network. He was schmoozing with so many beloved authors, some he isn’t quite old enough to read yet, and even declined ice cream when he got home – saying he just didn’t want to move.

Why am I sharing this? Get to the point already? Here’s a few:

*My son is a superstar on and off the stage (he made friends, fans and is still working on his fortune, but soon after was contacted by a radio host to chat about his BookTube channel – which, by the way, is just under 250 subscribers as I write this)
*I would never have been as brave and cavalier as my son meeting famous authors like Lisa Harrington, Lawrence Hill, Gail Francis, Morgan Murray and Jon Tattrie. I’m still not.
*Fight through the exhaustion. If you are doing something you love, it’s entirely worth it to feel like a zombie at the end of the day and skip the ice cream.
*The volunteers of any event work tirelessly on their feet, use their skills to take it all in stride and ensure things go well despite the hoops and are amazing people.
*Lisa Harrington, her daughter Alexandra Hill, Lawrence Hill, Gail Francis, Morgan Murray and Jon Tattrie are amazing people you should support, always.
*Be brave. While I was busy not talking about myself, others were talking about me. That’s ok, it was all good, at least the bits I heard. And being in front of a crowd next to people you look up to – completely daunting but entirely invigorating!
*Lana Shupe is as amazing in person as she is online. Such a truly authentic kind hearted soul. And her husband is pretty awesome, too.
*I finally understand the caveat commonly used for Oscar or Grammy speeches of: I’m sure I’m forgetting someone and will regret it for ages, won’t keep you any longer. I’ll thank them when I see them.
*Get out and live – I met so many Facebook friends in person, finally, and loved being surrounded by good people with the same love of Canadian authors as me!

^And yes, for Wild Willie to gain his fortune, I have included some Amazon Affiliate Links throughout this post.

Oh, and all the while I was chatting books and authors, the ARC of my newest novel Gaining It At 41 awaited me. It was the perfect way to end an amazing and unforgettable weekend at Read by the Sea.

It’s every year so I hope to see you there next year.

Thanks for reading (by the sea),

Sarah Butland

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