Now, most people would be horrified if they found a picture of themselves online, looking like that. Not me. I think it’s the coolest thing ever, especially since it was taken during a book signing. You see, I’ve always felt uncomfortable at book signings, including ones that have multiple authors at it. Don’t get me wrong, I love attending them and have met some wonderful people and authors at these events, including the Author Alley. It’s just that I always end up feeling like something of an outsider at these things, usually because people don’t know what to make of me.
Put it this way; sandwiched between novels, collections of poetry, and children’s books, you’ll find me–the weirdo who believes in ghosts and likes to run through the woods looking for Bigfoot.
On top of that, all the other authors are so professional, telling people who stop by what the inspiration for their book was and handing out professionally-printed press kits and business cards. Sure, I have business cards and flyers. But if someone comes to my table, I’m more interested in finding out if they’ve ever seen the Loveland Frog or if they’ve yet to see the Collection of Swallowed Objects at the Allen County Museum in Lima, Ohio. Most of the time, I don’t even mention my books. The way I see it, the books are there on the table. If people are interested, they’ll pick one up. If not, no biggie. I’m really just there to share my stories and talk about weird stuff.
Which brings me back to that picture. While I certainly get that since I’m a “published author”, there are certain preconceived notions around how I should appear and act, let’s face it; people are already bummed when they find out that Weird Willis doesn’t drive around in a hearse or live in a haunted house. I think if they were to meet me for the first time and I was just sitting there quietly, they’d be really disappointed. And so would I.
Oh and for the record, my pose was the inspiration of my daughter, Courtney. Prior to leaving me to check out all the Larchmere Festival had to offer, Courtney gave me her traditional kiss and hug, along with her mini-pep talk to “go talk to the big kids about ghosts.” When I asked Courtney what I should do when the adults came to talk to me, she responded “be scary” and then proceeded to show me how to do just that. For the record, I think I nailed it.
You can read the entire Cleveland.com article, complete with aforementioned Weird Willis photo, by clicking here.