Meeting Patti Callahan Henry

PCH’s “Irish twins” – published approximately 10 months apart

I became interested in Patti Callahan Henry as an author after reading “Becoming Mrs. Lewis” last year. An avid reader of C.S. Lewis, I’ve always been fascinated by Joy Davidman, the woman who ultimately captured his heart so late in life. Their story is incredible and I highly recommend it to fans of Lewis.

I became a fan after meeting her on Saturday at a book signing hosted by MJudson Booksellers at Community Pints in Greenville, SC.

But I digress. . .

I went to actually see and meet PCH on Saturday because she has a new book coming out and I figured I’d get her to sign both books and quickly be on my way. No big deal.

Wrong.

From the moment she began her remarks with a Joy Davidman quote that makes me get a lump in my throat, I was practically spellbound. I have friends who’ve read ALL her books. I read one, yet the moment she began to speak, I could hardly stop myself from writing down everything she said. It seemed like she was only talking to me. (She probably thought I was a reporter or a really weird person).

“If we should ever grow BRAVE,

what on earth would become of us?”

Joy Davidman – Smoke on the Mountain

The bottom line is, Patti Callahan Henry is a storyteller of the highest order.

“Story has always been my escape,” she told us. The self-described “preacher’s kid and book worm” who was born in New Jersey and ended up in Alabama is hilarious and insightful in the same breath. As a wife and mother of three children, she became a nurse “because no one ever told me you could write stories for a career.” Fortunately for us, years ago she started writing in the wee hours before her children were up and all these years later, she has written over a dozen books.

She was gracious enough to take questions from the audience and I asked what books most shaped her as a writer. Her reply was without hesitation:

  • “Beach Music” by Pat Conroy
  • “Peachtree Road” by Anne Rivers Siddons
  • “The Stand” by Stephen King (my personal favorite!)
  • “The End of the Affair” by Graham Greene
  • “The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis

I ran into her the next day at MJudson Booksellers, and she recognized me and offered more great book recommendations. I was thrilled to be able to introduce her to my husband and to chat with her briefly about her trip to Ireland.

I left town with an empty wallet but a full heart. If you’d like to learn more about all of her other books, click here to visit her website.

I gotta go, “The Favorite Daughter” is waiting for me! Stayed tuned for a blog post about it.

PCH and Betsy the Book Whisperer

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