Friday, January 29, 2010


During the two years that I worked in the publicity department for St. Martin's Press the calls that I hated taking the most were the ones from people desperate to speak to James Herriott, who was one of our authors. The stories were all fairly similar and terribly sad and horribly depressing because there was nothing I could do to help those people. I had to give them the standard line about all author mail being sent to us and it getting forwarded on, which in his case didn't happen because he didn't want his fan mail; it went into the trash, but that never got told because it would ruin his image. Each story was similar ~ always about a beloved pet who had been given a death sentence by their family vet, BUT if James Herriot were to work his magic on their animal, they knew he could save it. So, would I please facilitate this miracle for them, please? How do you tell someone whose dog/cat/horse is dying that not only is their miracle worker unwilling to take their phone call but wouldn't read their letter, so the chances of him tending to their animal is about the same as hitting the lottery? You don't. You hand out the line about standard policy blah blah blah and cry with them on the phone about their dying pet.

I am pretty sure that my grandma read all of James Herriot's books and maybe my mom did, too. Because I worked at St. Martin's Press I could have any book they published. I still have this gift set of four of his books. I can't bring myself to throw them out so they have traveled through about six or seven moves, which is seven kinds of crazy ~ I know, but I can't bring myself to read them either.

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