Life has interesting ups and downs and some unexpected turns. When I was finishing The Hollow Crown, I couldn’t have predicted where I would be when the book was released. For me, Pub Days are usually pretty quiet. I don’t do launch parties, book signings, or stuff like that. I’m an introvert, and those things just don’t float my boat.
This Pub Day was special and will always be remembered. Months ago, my wife Gina talked me into taking the family on a humanitarian expedition. With school ending and three different graduations (high school, middle school, and elementary school), the summer was already looking crazy. To make it a little crazier, we decided to join a Family to Family Humanitarian Expedition right after school got out. Literally. Graduation night, next day packing–then we’re heading to the airport at zero-dark-thirty to catch a flight to Mexico City.
The experience was absolutely incredible.
The group has relationships with several ‘albergues’ in Queretero, Mexico. These are shelters designed for the lowest of the low-income children. Basically, kids whose parents can’t afford to feed them. They live in the albergue during the week and then spend the weekend at home. We stay in hotels, thankfully. Each shelter has 30-50 children, ages 6-14. The charter is to ‘celebrate joy’ with these kids. We come and show them talents. They share theirs with us. We eat with them, hang out with them all day, and then go back to the hotel. On each day, we travel to a different albergue and meet another group of kids. I was so proud of my children. They played soccer with them, taught piano lessons, made friendship bracelets and Star Wars origami characters. I taught kung fu. We sang for them as a family. Played the ukulele. They danced for us. At the end of each day, we got a ton of hugs which totally melted our hearts. On our last day, we visited a valley in a gorge within the Sierra Gordas and went on a river walk by a functioning silver mine that will *totally* end up in one of my future books!
So while I did have cell phone service in Mexico, I was pretty much off-line much of each day and would only sneak a peek now and then at reviews of Hollow Crown. But really, I can’t think of a better way of celebrating Pub Day than being with my family and the expedition team. My 14 year-old son said, at the end of the week, that the trip was more memorable and satisfying than going to Disneyland. Big fist-bump moment between mom and dad.
Here are some pictures from the trip (just a few). If your family is ever interested in doing something like this, or you just want to help with donations of things they can bring to the shelters, I can’t recommend Kendon Eakett and the local team enough. They are AWESOME!
Family to Family Humanitarian Expedition: http://ffhe.info/contact-us/
After getting back, I learned that Hollow Crown did just fine without me being there. Third time on the WSJ bestseller list! Hope you’re enjoying the new book. Book Five will be out in August.