It's been five years this week since the launch of my first novel in downtown Manhattan. Here I am again with the launch of my third children's book and the excitement is still just as grand. I love the feelings I get as I lead up to the big day a book comes out. The build-up to that moment when it's out there for the world to see. I've had many opening nights on stage and several book launches. The difference is the weird feeling from when a book is released, you're not totally sure when people are buying it or reading it. That's why I'm doubled thrilled to be launching Irving the Theater Nut! at the Drama Book Shop in NYC on the same day of the release. What a great way to share a book all about theater.
I love theater. It's been a part of my being since I was a child. I think since the moment I was on stage in kindergarten for the Christmas play, I was bitten by the performing bug. I can recall all the rehearsals as a child, the incredible friendships made during the process, and the letdowns when a show closed. For children that love theater like I always have, they can either embrace the term of theater-geek/nerd/nut or let it bother them. Hopefully this new children's book with amazing illustrations by the very talented Morgan Swofford will show kids that it's okay to be different. If you'd rather be at play practice than football practice - it's all good! Let your freak flag fly (to steal a phrase from Shrek!).
I'm lucky in my job as an arts center manager I've been able to see so many children experience that same joy I always have when I see the different groups rehearsing in the theater. There's no other thrill like it and one that theater people can bond on. It was at my current job two years ago when a squirrel got into the theater that I decided to write a story about a squirrel that wants to be a performer. He watches the children rehearsing and wishes he could do the same. There are many messages in the story about teamwork, following your dream and yes..even diversity as Gwen Ricks-Spencer pointed out in her Huffington Post article. These themes are not accompanied with a flashing neon sign, but definitely ones that parents and teachers can discuss when reading the book.
So here I am like an actor waiting in the wings until I walk out on the stage and the lights hit me. This time, it will be at a great bookstore where numerous theater people have shared their stories many times. I'm excited about Monday. I'm thrilled for those across the country to grab the book at an indie bookstore (ask for it!) or from their favorite online site (IndieBound Amazon BN.com). The time has come for little Irving to shine.