One of the great things that happened to me after the publication of Thai Twist is that I got to meet a lot of people I wouldn’t have otherwise met. Some of the owners of local bookstores have been sweet and helpful, for example. Even though I’d often been to their stores, I hadn’t stopped to talk to them before becoming published. I’ve met lots of authors as well. As winner of the Assent Publishing 2013 Great Romance Contest I was given a membership to RWA (Romance Writers of America) and through the local chapter, I’ve met a lot of local authors. It’s been a thrill to find out that one of the gals in the group, Roz Denny Fox, has written some 27 books and been translated into 13 languages! Now I know what I have to shoot for.
But some of my meetings have been even more surprising. A local bookstore agreed to carry Thai Twist on consignment. The acquisitions editor assured me that I could show up at Antigone’s Bookstore at any time; no matter who was at the cashier’s desk, that person would be able to help me fill out the necessary paperwork.
The bookstore isn’t that far away and the staff members have always been pleasant, yet I procrastinated. I was too tired to go over there after work. It was too hard to find parking. I didn’t feel like going. I had all these weird, stupid excuses for not dragging myself over to the bookstore.
Finally I made it, of course. And indeed, the woman behind the desk thought she would be able to find my paperwork.
“Your last name?”
“Ransdell!” shouted a customer who was nearby. “How do you spell that?”
Puzzled, I complied by spelling it for her.
She heartily shook my hand. “I’m a Ransdell too!” she exclaimed.
This was indeed rather surprising. There aren’t that many Ransdells around. The name is a bit more common than it used to be, but lots of times when I was traveling with my family, we would go into a new town and check the phonebook, just for fun. We hardly ever found Ransdells.
By then the woman had called over her husband, who was the real Ransdell. We compared notes. We had ancestors from the Midwest—mine were from Illinois and his were from Missouri. Mine were farmers. His were too. He’d hardly ever met Ransdells either. We laughed about the comparisons.
“I guess Ransdell is an English name. I never did any research on it,” I admitted.
“As far as I can tell, it means Raven’s Dell,” he told me.
This made perfect sense, but the truth was that I’d never ever thought about the etymology of the name. It had never crossed my mind. All these years, I’d been spending all my efforts simply trying to get people to spell it right. Ransdale is a favorite misspelling among my students, but over time I’ve also gotten Ransted, Rendell, and Ranndel. Evidently correctly putting three consonants together is just too much trouble.
The happiest part of the story is that my new Ransdell friends were so excited to see their name in print that they bought a copy of Thai Twist on the spot. As I left the bookstore, I pondered the beauty of having been in the right place at precisely the right time. What was the chance of that? If you put a coincidence like that in a novel, people complain you’re not being lifelike!
But as we all know, truth really is stranger than fiction. And sometimes procrastinating is exactly the right thing to do.
For more on THAI TWIST, please visit http://www-dr-ransdell.com