Friday, December 20, 2013

Death of an Author

Some days your feet hit the floor and the left foot leads. No matter what you do, you are out of step the rest of the day. This has been one of those days. The skies hang low with dark, menacing clouds. The forecast says rain turning to ice for tonight. After a quarter of inch of ice, then snow might or might not add to the mix later. DH had to be in the next town very early for a little procedure which was then canceled. After his being under the weather all night long, he did not want to wait for stores to open for my short shopping list. So we returned home. Things just got out of step and stayed.

After hunting for two hours for my old copy of SHANE,  I gave up and went to the library for a copy. It was there that I heard Janet Dailey had died. I must have been the last to know. What a shock to lose this vibrant gal so early at 69 years. In this season of remembering those no longer with us, I had to add another recall past times and experiences of which there will be no more.

I don't remember the year, but the author was at a peak in her career. She had been in Branson for only a short while when I suggested to the local Friends of the Library we ask for her help in fundraising. Our library operated on a shoestring. No one thought it possible...said I couldn't do it...said they knew she was too busy at best! They dropped the matter, but I didn't.

I came home and wrote a letter explaining our need to raise money to help the library. I asked what she would charge for a personal appearance or if she could at least donate some autographed books for a raffle if nothing else. I figured "nothing ventured, nothing gained". I came home from work one afternoon to a voice message. It was Bill Dailey saying he was in charge of his wife's PR schedule and to call him at a given number. When I did, he said she would be glad to come, would sign books, and there would be no charge from them so any ticket sales could result in all funds going to the library. Great! Oh, but now I had to tell the board it was a done deal and Janet Dailey was on her way!

My husband and I along with a couple of others ate supper with the Daileys that night before her speaking engagement. They were lovely people. Bill was animated and full of tales of his own. Janet was a gracious woman, eager to help, share her stories, and endure questions. She made no mistake of having a super ego. She wrote romance and her fans kept her going. When she spoke from the high school auditorium stage, she made a crowd of women feel she talked to each of them individually. It was one great night and a wonderful boost for our local library.

I am so sorry that Janet the person is gone now and that Janet the author will not pen another story with a sexy cowboy or Levi-packed heroine dashing through the pages. Thanks, Janet, for all you gave the world. We will miss 'ya!


Susan said...

May she rest in peace, Claudia.

Your house looks lovely. The tree is very regal. Sooooo pretty. Got caught up on your posts.

Weather here is warming up! We are supposed to be near 60! YIKES. Weird. It's Christmas! But then it's going to drop again, too. Keep us hopping. Susan

BECKY said...

What a wonderful experience for you, Claudia! I'm glad you have those memories of Janet and her husband. (I hadn't heard of her, I guess because I don't read romance novels.)

Tracy said...

I read of Janet Dailey's death in the newspaper and right away remembered her visit to Carthage. Don't remember the year though I'm sure it's somewhere in my daily activity journals. Whenever I look up and see my Maya Angelou poem, I remember how persuasive your letters can be.

Marylin Warner said...

Claudia, you and I BOTH must be the last two Dailey readers to learn of her passing! I had no idea.

Your story about meeting her, having dinner, and her generosity helping with the fundraiser is the best tribute for a wonderful author. Well done.