by Chris Harris
It isn’t unusual for big-name authors to make special appearances and sign copies of their books — not in big cities anyway.
In a town like Burnside? It’s a big deal.
Yet that’s exactly what happened Saturday, when noted romance novelist and screenwriter C.K. Gray stopped by the Burnside branch of the Pulaski County Public Library.
Gray’s reception was a warm one; by mid-afternoon, the library parking lot was full, with cars spilling over into the space behind the Burnside Fire Department. Inside the library, the atmosphere was abuzz with chatter.
“It’s wonderful to be in Burnside,” said Gray. “The people here are absolutely incredible, incredible, incredible.”
The Canadian Gray is best-known for her book “Eye of the Storm,” which tells the story of star-crossed lovers drawn together with a mysterious connection to a couple that died in a boating accident a century earlier.
“Eye of the Storm,” released in 2010 was followed up by a 2012 sequel, “After the Storm.”
She’s also just finished a script for a movie called “Destination Unknown.” Additionally, all of her books are in the process of being turned into feature films.
“I had a production company approach me before it was even written waiting for my next piece of work, so I was very, very lucky with that,” she said. “’How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days’ (producer) Christine Peters is the one who will be producing ‘Eye of the Storm’ and ‘After the Storm.’”
Burnside Mayor and his wife Emma Lou had made friends with Gray via social media, she said, and that’s how Gray ended up coming to Burnside.
“I said, ‘Sure, I would one day,’ and a few months passed and (Ron Jones) asked me again and I said, ‘Absolutely,’” said Gray.
Jones was pleased with the “great turn-out” and estimated there had already been about 75 people show up an hour into the book signing.
“The more we talked, the more we had in common, with people we knew and so forth,” said Jones of the friendship he struck up with Gray in the last year. “She was getting ready to do a book signing in Atlanta in June, and she was going to try to come up here at that time, but it didn’t work out. She said leave it up to me, and I’ll work out something.’
“I’d just casually mentioned that we’d recently had our Point Isabel Festival, and had some of our local authors come down during that, and she said, ‘Any time you’re ready, I’m ready,’” he continued.
To mark the occasion, a special cake was made with Gray’s image on it, and she was treated to dinner at Sully’s in Burnside the night before.
Gray said she’d made plenty of “new fans” in Burnside when asked if the crowd was familiar with her work.
“They are now,” said Gray. “I just can’t say enough about how wonderful these people are, here in Burnside, Ky.”