I am told that the lifetime probability of dying from a local meteorite, asteroid, or comet impact is 1 in 1,600,000. The chances of being hit by a tornado are 1 in 4,513,000, for a car accident 1 in 90, for a fire 1 in 250, for lightning 1 in 135,000, for a shark attack1 in 8 million, and for winning the National Lottery jackpot 1 in 13,983,816 (or approximately 1 in 14 million).
I had wondered what were the chances of meeting the author of a book that you have enjoyed reading. I have read beautiful poetry, some of which authors I had no chance of meeting since these were all dead. I wished I could meet some of my favourite authors in the fantasy and mystery genres. I would like to discuss some of the plots with them. I would also like to discuss my favourite characters and would like to know the reason for writing the particular book.
My recent visit to Benidorm provided an opportunity to bit the odds. It was something that I never thought could happen, especially in a non-English speaking far-away country.
We had just had our supper. I took a strategic sit so I could be inclusive in what promised to be a memorable Friday night show. The people were so friendly, and made me feel like I had met all of them before. Yet I had only been there for three days. We were all looking forward to a fantastic night of magic show.
I got two glasses of red wine and settled with my wife in two empty seats beside a lovely couple from Liverpool, Bob and Rossie. Like it happens whenever people are gathered, we tried to get to know one another. Bob was a self-employed engineer. He had a keen interest in football. A loyal supporter of Liverpool Football Club, he could spend the whole evening talking about his favourite team. Rossie, a retired headteacher, looked younger than her age.
“So, how do you spend your time when you’re not at work?” Rossie asked me, with a strong Liverpudlian accent.
“Reading and writing,” I replied.
“And you?” I asked.
“I don’t write,” she replied, “but I do read a lot.”
“So, what do you read?” I asked, as I became excited.
“I enjoy reading any good story,” she replied, particularly the mystery genre. You know, those stories with magic and horror, especially those stories set in Africa. You know, those stories about voodoos, jungles and wildlife. Oh, I love them.”
I nodded, as she continued.
“Look at this,” she said, as she took a book out of her bag, “I bought it before we flew out last week. Have you read it?”
I nearly collapsed, as I stared at OKAMBI, my latest novel. I had never thought I would meet someone who had read my book, apart from friends and family, and those who had attended the first reading and got signed copies.
“No,” I replied, “but I know about OKAMBI.”
“Nice one,” she said, “I will surely recommend it.”
“Have you read other books by the author?” my wife asked.
I turned the book from front to back, and stared at it, as if I did not recognise my own book. As I turned the 365-page mystery novel, I talked about Okambi, the teenage main character, his wicked aunt and the Wilderness of Wisdom.
My wife must have read the surprise on Rossie’s face. It was obvious that Rossie wondered how I knew so much about the story in OKAMBI when I had not read it.
“I can see you are surprised that he knows so much about the book when he has not read it. That’s because he wrote the story,” my wife said.
“Wow! Are you Joe Kenogbon?” Rossie shouted with excitement, and almost knocked off my drink.
I signed Rossie’s copy of my novel and thanked her for reading my books. I also informed her of my upcoming book, Pages of My Heart: Book Two. As expected, it was a crazy night. But, my real excitement was the chance meeting with a loyal reader of my books.