Keeper James and company relish in recent book signing turnout – OBX Today

Keeper James and company relish in recent book signing turnout - OBX Today
[Submitted/Keeper James]

Keeper James and wife Linda had a wonderful local book signing week. His book is Shipwrecks of the Outer Banks: Dramatic Rescues and Fantastic Wrecks in the Graveyard of the Atlantic, Globe Pequot Press. It just sold out of its first run and currently is only available “on-demand.” That means it is doing very well.

The first book signing event was at the Island Convenience in Rodanthe. “This is near my home, which is why I love going there. The owners, Martha, Myra and Joey are so pleasant to be around, and it is a really neat store.” 

Kerry and Gladys from Fork Union, VA., were vacationing in Kill Devil Hills and were the first to get their signed and personalized copy. They had heard about the event through our local media and made a special trip.

“My new neighbors Lynne and Fred were our next surprise guests.” This was quickly followed by the wonderfully gregarious Robin and her husband Tom from Chesterfield, VA. “Robin told me that tomorrow was her birthday, and that all she wanted was to meet me and get a personal copy of my book,” says Keeper James. She was even more delighted and surprised by being able to meet the wife at the same time. Robin thoroughly enjoyed her time conversing and taking photos. “She was full of compliments – she really made my day!” said Keeper James.

The good times continued with the arrival of Bill and Cindy. Again, animated conversations and lots of smiles and stories. Bill is so good at Facebook that he made a post right then and displayed several of the photos he just took. 

Many more folks came for the book signing. “As always, we have a great time at Island Convenience,” said Miz Linda.

No rest for the (pleasantly) weary – the next day was two hours at Downtown Books in Manteo with Jamie Anderson. On this day, Miz Linda was in her full Victorian attire and the couple made quite a sight. The shop is loaded with books and was immediately and consistently quite busy. There was that delightful mix of folks who came specifically for the book signing event because of the previous publicity and those just on vacation not expecting the late1800s couple. The former customers are quickly spotted by their anticipatory expressions; the latter are either shocked or delighted.

“This time, Marie from Virginia made my day with her enthusiasm and compliments,” said the Keeper. She said, “So glad we were there when you were here. I’ve been watching your schedule!”

I was particularly impressed with 9-year-old Johnnie on vacation with his family. “He immediately came up to me and said, ‘I love shipwrecks.’” His parents bought my book, and I personalized it for Johnnie. 

Another youngster, this one was 17-years-old, purchased the book for herself. “I am so glad to see young people interested in this history,” said Keeper James.

Geri from Virginia was quite knowledgeable about Keeper James’ schedule, events and happenings. 

“Another of our neighbors, these as long-time friends, Wayne and Rosemary, came and bought copies for friends, relatives and themselves.” 

“The cashier told me that she had rung up more multiple copy sales than singles…” Before we left, I signed the copies of their new order which had just arrived.

Another great day, with more goodness to come.

Literally, just around the corner is the Dare Arts of the Outer Banks. James and Linda had applied for and received a grant from them as performing artists. This provided purchases for a brand new and authentic United States Life-Saving Service keeper’s full-dress uniform, plus boots and overcoat. Miz Linda was able to accessorize her outfits with spectacular new period dress boots and a few more goodies.

“We wanted to show the staff of Jessica and Tiffany the stunning results,” both reenactors said. “Executive Director Jessica Sands greeted us with giddy enthusiasm which was infectious. Then, for the icing on the cake, Gallery Manager (and photographer) Tiffany Lindsey took a series of fantastic shots.” 

On the way home to Hatteras Island from Manteo, we would pass our dear friend the Bodie Island Lighthouse. So, still in our garb, we stopped in to check on book supplies. Sure enough, they had just received a new order, so I signed that group as well. While doing so, two interested customers bought copies that I personalized.

As I relaxed on my deck after getting home, I smiled reviewing the day. Just then, a Coast Guard C-130 Hercules rescue plane flew low directly over our house…the cherry on top? 

What a week.