Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Selling books in a hockey arena - when worlds collide

A couple of weeks ago, I hopped in my car and drove out to Kitchener-Waterloo to go to a hockey tournament THAT NONE OF MY KIDS WAS PLAYING IN. But I did have a couple of boxes full of Hockey Girls in the back seat, and they are sort of my babies, so I guess it's the same thing, right?

The Aud was home to the Kitchener Lady Rangers annual FallFest tournament. Hundreds of girls in various levels and divisions from all over Ontario streamed past our little table with its nice big poster advertising Hockey Girl, a new novel by Natalie Hyde. Even better, Natalie was there to sign copies!

And of course, because she knows me so well, Natalie brought fudge. Homemade, no less!

We had a wonderful day together, sold plenty of books, and got to talk to some great hockey girls and their parents, grandparents, coaches, trainers and team managers. One older gentleman asked Natalie if she had heard about the Preston Rivulettes! We were pretty excited because they were part of Natalie's inspiration to write Hockey Girl.

Another exciting moment came when Jan Dolby, the illustrator of Gabby, stopped by the table. Her daughter was about to play her second of three games that day. (Whew!) I just so happened to have a hot-off-the-press copy of Gabby in my briefcase. How wonderful it was to be there the moment that an illustrator sees a copy of her book for the very first time! And, even better, her whole family - including in-laws - was there to see it, too!

Unfortunately, I had to take it back to the office with me since we only had a handful of advance copies and I'd sort of snuck this one out on a weekend pass. Gabby will officially pub in January, so keep an eye out for it then.

But back to Hockey Girl.

Hockey Girl by Natalie Hyde
One of the best parts about being able to show off this book was seeing the response to it from the families of so many hockey girls. This story is about teenaged girls who are fighting for an equal opportunity to play hockey - they aren't just chasing the guys who play hockey, or trying to sort out the best cheer-leading outfits to wear when they go watch hockey. And as my own teenaged daughter will verify, there is real hockey in the book. The rules, the positions, the plays: they are authentic. The girl on the cover is a former Willowdale Red Wing Bantam AA player. And of course, the story is a lot of fun. There's a website featured at the end of the book that looks at various issues in womens' hockey and how girls' teams have fought for equal access to ice times, and highlights a few groundbreaking female hockey players.

And since I promised a book giveaway or two, I'll give away a signed copy of Hockey Girl to a random person who comments on this post or shares it on Twitter or Facebook. How about that? SCORE!