Sunday, March 2, 2014

Can I get a polo player with that?

Have you ever tried to coordinate an activity involving lots of busy people?  It’s a headache, right?  By the time we re-shot the cover for my book Blaze of Glory last summer, I had bald patches from tearing at my hair.

Not that everyone wasn’t willing.  I had a gifted photographer coming from almost two hours away, but she had other commitments so her availability was limited.  The teenage female model was local, although she had a part-time job so she had to arrange for time off and for lifts from her mom.  The male model was only available two afternoons a week.  The horse had a busy show schedule, the barn owners were away at horse shows every weekend, and I’m a single, working parent.

Still, we managed to agree on a date in early June.  Everything was in readiness.  Then, the morning of the photoshoot, dark clouds rolled in.  We nearly lit Facebook on fire with our frantic messaging, but in the end, we had to postpone.  The next date that everyone was available for was 6 weeks away.  The July day brought peaceful blue skies.  Then came the call: our male model, a university student/lifeguard/serious hockey player, got called to a sudden meeting by his hockey coach.  It involved making him captain of his team and a potential scholarship.  He couldn’t miss it.

Now, I’d started off in the spring feeling no particular sense of urgency for getting the covers of my trilogy done.  However, I had committed to a book signing at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in November, and in order for my books to be ready, the covers had to be submitted by early September.  At this point I was starting to worry.

Fast forward three weeks.  It’s now the third week in August.  We had a last-minute scare when the female model couldn’t get time off, but she managed it (I suspect by lying through her pretty little teeth).  They grey clouds that greeted the dawn miraculously began to part an hour before our scheduled time.  I was on my way to our local polo club to borrow a real polo shirt for our male model when my phone beeped.  I almost didn’t want to look, but I pulled over and checked the message, heart pounding.
“I’m sorry, but I hurt my elbow and I can’t make it to the photoshoot.”  This from the male model.
I said a few unprintable words as I texted back.  “Sorry to hear that, but I’m sure we can shoot your other side.”  (Ok, maybe not the most empathetic response ever, but hey – I was stressing out.)
“No, I mean I really hurt it… on my way to hospital. May need to have surgery.”  Now I really felt like a heel.

I texted back my wishes for a speedy recovery (he’s fine now btw, no surgery).  Then I slowly and glumly went on my way to the polo club, racking my brain for ways to find another tall, attractive man in his early twenties who would be comfortable around horses and available immediately.  None came to mind.

At the polo club I found the manager, who handed over the shirt.
On impulse, I asked, “Say, you don’t happen to have a man to go with that shirt, do you?”  And that, folks, is how I ended up with a professional polo player from Argentina on the cover of my first book.  He hardly spoke any English and my Spanish is negligible, but he was very gracious about the whole thing and I’ll always be grateful.


Catherine Lee said...

Great story...

mgarzon said...

Thanks! I had no idea what I was getting into when I insisted I wanted to design my own covers :)