7:30 BELLS Guest Post: SOMEPLACE DIFFERENT by Dori Hillestad Butler

The adventurous Dori Hillestad Butler, Edgar Award winning author, shares what makes the bells ring for her in this month's 7:30 BELLS Guest Post.

I’m a Midwestern girl. Born and raised in southern Minnesota. My mother still lives in the same house I grew up in. When I was a kid I used to ask my parents if we could move. Not because I was terribly unhappy where we lived. I just wanted to know what it would be like to live someplace else. Someplace DIFFERENT.

My husband and I have moved quite a few times during our 28 year marriage. We started out in Fridley, MN. Then we moved to Shoreview, MN…Richfield, MN…Rochester, MN…Cedar Rapids, IA…and finally, Coralville, IA, where we stayed for 14 years. While each of those cities felt different to me, they really weren’t all that different.

A couple months ago, we made a BIG move. To the Seattle area. Seattle is DIFFERENT. (I finally got my childhood wish.) So far, I LOVE it here. I love the city, I love the mountains, I love the weather. But I think what I love most is meeting new people. I miss my Midwestern friends, but I’ve met some fun and interesting people that I never would’ve met if we hadn’t moved. Each one has expanded my world in new and sometimes unexpected ways.

I think Dia was my first new friend here. She showed me Alki Beach and we had a lovely walk along the water and through the woods as we started to get to know one another. She told me about her solo trip to Venice a couple years ago and how she sat on the terrace and listened to the bells ring at 7:30 pm every night and what that was like for her.

It reminded me of time I spent in Washington, D.C. shortly after my husband and I got married. He was at a conference during the day, so I explored the city on my own, wandering in and out of museums and up and down the Mall at my leisure. When I got to the Lincoln Memorial, something unexpected happened. As I stood there on the steps, goose bumps dotted my arms. I didn’t want to move on. Eventually I gave in to whatever was going on inside me. I sat down on the steps, pulled out a notebook, and just started writing. I ended up staying for two hours… sitting…dreaming…writing. Just like Dia did in Venice.

Dia would say the bells were ringing. And maybe they were. But do you know what really makes the bells ring for me? It’s making a connection with a new friend…that “hey, it’s not just me” feeling that I get when I really connect with someone.

Thanks, Dia, and everyone else who has been so welcoming to me since I moved here. Thanks for connecting, thanks for expanding my world, and thanks for making the bells ring.

Connecting with new friends
 makes the bells ring

Thank you so much, Dori, for this lovely post. You have expanded my world, too. Dori Hillestad Butler is the author of more than 40 books for children, including The Buddy Files: The Case of the Lost Boy, which won the 2010 Edgar Award for best juvenile mystery. Look for her new chapter book series, the Haunted Library, which launches August 2014. Dori grew up in southern Minnesota, spent the last 19 years in Iowa, and has just recently moved to the Seattle area. She is on a quest to do an author visit in all 50 states (14 down, 36 to go!). Learn more at

7:30 BELLS Posts run every Tuesday.

7:30 BELLS Guest Posts run on the second Tuesday
 of every month. Join me on August 12 for a guest post with 
Crystal Kite winning author Kim Baker