It was more than I expected.
I began interning for AuthorYOU back in August, right in the middle of the last push for press releases, blog posts, and organizing for the very first induction for the Colorado Author’s Hall of Fame. For some reason or another, it never hit me just how massive and important this event was.
I saw the names of the inductees from Stephen King to Jerry Jenkins, Connie Willis to Clive Cussler, lesser-known to well-known, indie to traditional. It still didn’t hit me.
I learned that Judith was planning this event for a long time, and how the team here at AuthorYOU and The Book Shepherd were working on this for a lot longer than I have. From press releases to organizing the meals to making calls to newspapers, magazines, TV stations, weeklies. It still didn’t hit me.
I saw how we pushed that this was the very first event of its kind. That no other state had a Hall of Fame for authors. I found that astounding. No one else had one? Not one? California, Tennessee, Mississippi, Texas, Alabama, New York, Oregon, no one? In a country with so many great works of literature? It was utterly baffling. Even then, it didn’t hit me.
It wasn’t until I sat at my table after eating my dinner, as Dom Testa introduced all the inductees with a great sense of humor and always with respect and reverence, and as the inductees gave their speeches about the importance of books and how they got started writing that it finally dawned upon me how big this entire thing was.
Good times were had by all. Authors mingled with each other as they had their photos taken, old friends chatted and caught up, and the dinner was very tasty. Everyone was given an exclusive poster made by inductee John Fielder for the event, and everyone went home with a bunch of free books that were scattered on their dinner tables by all the authors. Louis L’Amour’s publisher sent five cases of his books to share with us all!
Of course, the big moment was the ceremony itself, where authors were honored, and speeches were given. Some of the inductees, like Jerry Jenkins, gave some sage advice for young writers like me. Others, like Marilyn Van Derbur, told powerful stories of the lives they led and the impact they had on the world.
But the highlight for me was right at the end, where Judith herself went up on stage and gave a surprise induction into the Hall of Fame to Dom Testa. As Dom went up on stage one more time, as an inductee and not an MC, he exclaimed “You sneaky b***.”
But here’s why I find this ceremony important.
Many of us read for a myriad of reasons. We read to be entertained, to be educated, to escape from the drudgery of our everyday lives, and to get lost in the words and the emotions of the characters we read about. We tend to take for granted the power of the books we read, of the stories we’re told. The power to create, to destroy, to unify, divide, and more importantly, the power to define who we are. They’re our history. And we need to honor that history when we can.
Now, it has hit me.
Ian Hatton is a student at Metropolitan State University and learning the highpoints (and low points) of publishing under his Internship with The Book Shepherd and AuthorYOU.
Note from the Hall: Inductions are held every other year on odd years. The next one will be on Saturday, September 18, 2021. Put it on your calendar. Be there.