At James River Writers’ 2011 conference, I had the honor of sponsoring author Robert Goolrick whose first novel, The Reliable Wife, had reached blockbuster status. JRW was test-driving the author sponsorship concept and I was their first donor-sponsor. Lucky me.
With his impeccable Southern manners, Robert Goolrick went beyond the role of gracious sponsored author and, instead, became my conference weekend BFF. We box-lunched together on the Library of Virginia steps; we snuck off at break-time for smokes (I’ve quit now, I promise); and we compared notes on growing up Southern and working in New York. (If you’ve ever wondered who wrote the famous line, “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk,” I can now reveal that it was my close-personal-friend, Robert Goolrick.) We continued our conversation at a lovely dinner party hosted by Ginny Pye and John Ravenal for speakers and sponsors. And we chatted again at Saturday’s conference wrap-party. A week later, I received a lovely handwritten note in the mail. Robert Goolrick, it turns out, is the kind of blockbuster novelist who still finds time to send handwritten notes.
Last month, I saw Robbie at Fountain Books when he read from his new novel, Heading out to Wonderful. And I still marvel at his thoughtfulness and the fun we had together that weekend.
As our 10th Anniversary Conference lineup is finalized, I encourage JRW supporters to consider sponsoring an author. It’s a wonderful way to connect directly to the conference mission — and meet an author in the process. Thank you, Robbie, for being JRW’s inaugural sponsored author. You’ve set the bar high for our sponsored authors of 2012.
Contact Kristi Austin for more information about sponsoring an author at our upcoming conference.
— Constance Costas, JRW Advisory Board Member