Another perk of living in Santa Barbara is that many of us have regular opportunities to chat with a really nice guy who also happens to be a movie star: Kevin Costner.
A few weeks ago he asked me, “Are you going to read my new book?”
Kevin and his wife Christine are two people who are big-time famous but who also seem to keep their pride in the right place — at least around me they do, and I see them often. There is an air of humility that I sense, despite Kevin’s mega-star position in the entertainment business.
So, there we were, the movie star and yours truly. I knew about his book, The Explorer’s Guild. “Yes, I want to read it,” I said. “Why? Do you have a copy for me?”
“No,” he said, “but when you buy it, I’ll autograph it for you. I think you’ll enjoy it.”
Nice offer, yes? My mind went right away to thinking about this blog and a book review. A photo? Hmm. Would he? Could I? Why not ask him, Darla? So I did. “Can I get a photo of you and me together, with me holding the book?” I struck a pose.
“Anything you want, Darla,” he said.
Well, the man does have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I’ll take that autograph. And the photo would be a great lead-in for a blog post. It’s been a while since I stood next to a movie star, you know. Here’s the last time, taken in downtown Santa Barbara around 1978-79. Do you know the name of this actor and the hit movie he was in?
As a surprise, a friend of mine pre-ordered The Explorer’s Guild as a gift for my birthday, which was earlier this week. She knew of my interest in the book, both as a reader and a writer.
So, yesterday, when I saw Kevin at an event, I asked him if he had a few minutes to talk. He was friendly as usual and sat beside me.
Me: “You know how you offered to give me your autograph when I got your book?”
Kevin (smiling): “Yes.”
Me: “And that you would take a photo with me?”
Kevin (smiling): “Yes.”
Me: “Well, I received your book as a birthday present. Pre-ordered.”
Kevin (grinning): “Even better, now that you got it for free.”
I had to laugh at that one. “I have a blog and I want to ask your permission to post the photo if I write a review of your book. Would that be okay?”
Kevin (big smile): “Sure, go ahead! And you can put it up even if you don’t like the book.”
Another laugh. We were outside, a beautiful evening where the weather in Santa Barbara had finally cooled down.
Kevin (still smiling, so I knew I wasn’t being too much of a pest): “Want to take the photo now?” He started to get up.
Me: “No!” I pointed at my worn-all-day t-shirt while shaking my head wildly.
We talked about how the format of the novel — portraits and maps, graphic novel-style portions, the antique look — is what first attracted me. He appreciated the feedback and said that I could find him discussing his novel on an upcoming Good Morning, America piece that he just completed.
Me: “Thanks so much. It’s just a little blog, probably only read by a few friends and my family. No big deal, but I wanted to have your permission before I put anything up.”
Kevin (biggest smile yet): “Hey, maybe it will go viral.”
Maybe it will — a viral post with a photo showing Movie Star Kevin Costner standing next to Regular Gal Darla McDavid with an autographed book in my hands. Now, that would be fun.
About the Book. The Explorer’s Guild, Volume One: A Passage to Shambhala, is one in a series that has been in the planning stages for eight years. Kevin Costner is a co-author of the book with Jon Baird, who conceived the project. The book is an adventure story which “combines the bravura storytelling of Kipling with the irresistible style of The Adventures of Tintin” (from the book’s website). It is part traditional, part graphic novel, a format that intrigues me. Here are the opening pages:
“Gentle Reader” — I like that.
The Explorer’s Guild has a release date of October 20, and Kevin takes off to do author tours in New York, D.C. (with one at the Smithsonian), and Los Angeles through the end of October. I’ll post a review and the photo soon.