Last October at an authors’ book-signing reception, I received a copy of Katrina Kenison’s new book, Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment. As you can see on the left, the cover was stamped “Advance Uncorrected Proof” —the pre-publication copy that is often handed out to reviewers, booksellers, press, etc. as part of the marketing months in advance.
Katrina was standing alone at a white linen-covered table with a stack of books ready to “meet and greet” people at the New England Independent Booksellers (NEIBA) Conference and trade show. I usually attend this conference and exhibit books through a publishers’ group, IPNE, and look forward to meeting authors and seeing new publications.
Magical Journey is the third in a series of memoirs chronicling her life journey—home, work, and family. Her first book was Mitten Strings to God: Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry. I loved this book and reading it brought back my early years as a young mother—the struggles, heartache, and joys of it all.
As a publisher, I had first been in contact with Katrina shortly before our high school reading list was completed—I was so pleased she wrote one of the testimonials on the back cover of Books for the Journey. I didn’t get a chance to meet her in person until a book-signing for former US Poet Laureate, Billy Collins, who had given a presentation in a Boston suburb. I saw her again at NEIBA when her 2nd book, The Gift of an Ordinary Day: A Mother’s Memoir, was launched. In that book I re-lived my own parenting through the teen years, moving to a new location, and exploring a different career path.
In all three of her books, Katrina’s reflections are, at the same time, quite personal yet universal. One minute I feel guilty as if I’m looking over her shoulder while she writes in her private journal and the next minute I’m chuckling at some anecdote that I recognize from my own family life or wiping a tear as she grapples with another of life’s unexpected changes.
This third book may be her best yet. I am ahead of Katrina (in years) in her life’s journey, but she affirms and inspires me with my own “life lessons” of adapting to change. She undoubtedly inspires so many others—and particularly in experiencing the breadth and depth of life’s loves, losses and gifts.
She may have been an excellent editor for sixteen years, but as an author she certainly excels. And she makes writing books seem so easy. When I told her that I was already looking forward to the next book, she replied that it might be a long time yet. I hope not. In the meantime, I’ll continue reading her blog, checking her website, and looking at her book tour schedule to see when she’ll be near me at a bookstore event.
Today is January 8th, the official publication date. Congratulations, Katrina—and celebrate well. You’ve earned it!