Events, Journal

Why didn’t I ask Sherman Alexie to endorse my book?

When I showed my friend, Josh, Sherman Alexie’s new novel, War Dances,and explained the nationally recognized Native American author had signed his latest book for me at the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association Trade Show, Josh wanted to know if I asked him to endorse my book, I was amazed to realize the question never entered my mind.

Not then, not in October, 2009. But the truth is three years ago when I was finishing my novel, Sherman Alexie was the first writer I thought of to review it. I admired his work and had read it all. He is a master craftsman of  language, excelling in hauntingly vulnerable, funny, appealing characters, a unique, authentic writer who takes chances. Three years I checked out his website, looking for a way to reach him but got discouraged. There was no point in contacting him I decided, indulging in self-pity. He would not be interested in a white woman writing magical stories of prehistoric mysterious indigenous tribes entangled with hi-tech netcom capitalists.

Yet here I was at the NCIBA holding my novel as I forced myself to walk over to the long table where Sherman Alexie was signing copies of War Dances. There was a lady in front of me who had been at his overflow reading in an Oakland church the night before and was telling him how much she loved it. Sherman was smiling up at her. I was enjoying her too, imagining how exciting that experience had been and how great it was to hear such positive feedback.

When it was my turn, Sherman Alexie had already opened up one of his brand new bright blue hard cover books to sign. But I was holding out my book, bent on presenting it. I blurted how was a story of magic realism with a Native American theme, set in the Southwest of the ancient Anasazi and in post-9/11 Silicon Valley. I talked about my book cover, the electric digitalized shot of Fajada Butte in Chaco Canyon framed by two flying silhouettes. I talked about myself. I told him how much I admired his work.

He took up his pen.  “Good luck, Margaret, with your book,” he wrote. That was when I should have asked him to endorse it! But I was bemused with my own satisfaction. I’ll definitely ask Sherman Alexie for his endorsement to the prequel to I promise.

Published by Margaret C. Murray

Margaret C Murray is a bold Bay Area author whose works burst from an imagination brimming with magical realism. Her novels take place within poignant and vibrant historical contexts, telling stories that draw parallels between disparate worlds and times. She speaks to the enchantment of human existence. Margaret is the founder and director of Writewords Press.

6 thoughts on “Why didn’t I ask Sherman Alexie to endorse my book?”

  1. Nancy Webb says:

    I can easily imagine being overwhelmed in this situation. You are impressive in that you kept to your goal of telling him about your book – and not turning to quivering jelly and wide-eyed speechless fan.

    Maybe he will see this blog. Sure hope so. You gave him your book? When he reads it, I hope he’ll volunteer to endorse.

    Looking forward to your prequel too.

    1. Margaret says:

      Thanks, Nancy! Maybe he’ll see this blog–who knows! Sherman? Where are you? No, I didn’t give him–but he gave me War Dances. When you combine the titles, they make “Sundance”. Nice, eh?

  2. Susan "Backpack45" Alcorn says:

    Good going, Margaret. It took guts to do the “elevator” (the 30 second summary) talk! You’ll get there; enjoy the ride.

  3. Shelley Buck says:

    Check his schedule. Set a date. Go for it!

  4. Josh says:

    Well-told story, Margaret. “Hauntingly vulnerable”–I like that. So wounded they pierce the memory and make a little cell for themselves within it. Is it possible to heal oneself through reminiscing about a literary character, revisit the place of trauma so many times it becomes a kind of landmark unto itself, an orientation aid in a vaster geography.

    Looking forward to Sundagger 2.0.

    1. Margaret says:

      Ah, sounds like you’re talking about Chiron, the Wounded Healer, in the night sky. Yes, it’s possible, I think.

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