Maries Serial Fans
Over the years many of Marie’s FanGirls have become more than readers, they’ve become pals who come and go in her life, leaving a bright spot in their wake. Such is the case with Nancy Luter-Schilling and Jamy Logarbo from Louisiana (LA) and Susan and Michelle Farrell from Ireland. Read about our FanGirl repeaters here.
We wrote about Nancy and Jamy, who have been friends for 15 years, after they’d surprised Marie in New Orleans in May of 2014. After that memorable trip, the women had wanted to attend Reader Weekend in RI later that summer but they’re school bus drivers and school was still in session at the time of the event. So they instead traveled from LA to Vermont (VT) for the sole purpose of attending Marie’s Green Mountain series launch party. They created and brought original gifts for Marie both times.
Nancy and Jamy were able to attend Reader Weekend 2015 and they sported beautiful shirts they had made for the event. They say they both come up with the ideas for the shirts, talking it out before creating them. The shirts they sported at Reader Weekend feature the map of Gansett Island on the front, something that Jamy wanted. The map shows the Gansett hot spots. The original map was painted by Newport artist Lauren Anton and prints of the map are sold in Marie’s store.
“For the back, we threw around all different kinds of things,” Nancy recalls of their brainstorming sessions. One idea was to have a generic image of an opened book and listing all the Gansett Island titles inside it. Nah, they decided that didn’t work quite right. Instead they put the cover of every Gansett Island book on the back of the shirt. It was a winner.
Of their first trip to RI, Jamy says dreamily, “We love Rhode Island.” When they were told the trip to Block Island was being threatened by bad weather that nearly closed the ferry, Jamy says Nancy “looked at me with tears in her eyes.” Fortunately Marie and her team were able to quickly come up with a Plan B that allowed the trip to go on as planned. While in the Ocean State, they went sailing for the first time and toured the Breakers and Elms mansions. Both agreed that the southeast lighthouse on Block Island was a highlight of the trip.
Nancy and Jamy have said they’ll next see Marie if she is able to travel near their home turf. In the meantime, “we’re going put our chances in” to win a Marie-sponsored contest, Jamy says. The pals have promised to take each other if one of them wins.
“We’re together,” Jamy says, with Nancy adding, “It’s a team thing.”
We also shared the story of a budding friendship between Marie and Susan and Michelle Farrell from Ireland, about 30 miles north of Dublin. The sisters were planning a trip to the U.S. in 2014 and wanted information about what to see Block Island. They emailed Marie, asking her for a list of suggestions, which Marie discusses frequently on her many reader groups on Facebook and her website. In addition to the list of must-sees, Michelle and Susan got a huge surprise: An invitation to have dinner with Marie in Newport.
“From there we just kind of kept in touch with Marie by email,” Michelle says from Newport during Reader Weekend 2015. “I suppose we kind of developed a friendship.” Susan and Michelle were planning to come to the U.S. to visit the west coast to visit San Francisco and to see Yosemite and Lake Tahoe, but when they heard about Reader Weekend in RI, they added RI to their itinerary.
Susan says the sisters like to holiday in America and Marie’s books got them interested in the New England area, where they started their trip last year.
A far as Reader Weekend, Susan says, “It’s been amazing to see all the people that you see on Facebook…and the enthusiasm that everybody has and the interest.” She adds that Reader Weekend guests nearly feel the worlds Marie creates in her books are real. “It’s been great to see everything in real life and to meet all these like-minded people.”
“To be honest with you, the first night with the food and drink and dancing, it was very much like an Irish wedding so I’d say that Marie would really enjoy an Irish wedding,” Michelle says of Reader Weekend. She says that Marie was like the bride working the room and everyone was “dying to get a piece” of her (in the nicest possible way). She appreciated that Marie “pulled out all the stops” to get readers to Block Island, too.
“We’ve had a great time and it’s been brilliant to see her again,” Michelle said as they were preparing to head back to the airport to fly back to Ireland. “Hopefully she’ll come to Ireland some day, too.”