Tuesday, March 20, 2007
NINE INCREDIBLE DAYS: Where to begin?
Years ago, when I was expecting to become a bestselling author at any moment, I read up on book tours. I hadn't much thought about the minor details, like say, sitting down and writing a book, but I had the ten-city author tour planned in intricate detail.
And since this was important to me, I retained a lot of what I read, too. Unfortunately, just like all the advice I've absorbed about organizing your life or reaching Nirvana in ten easy steps, knowledge doesn't always translate into action.
Conventional Wisdom: Don't overpack. Bring simple, coordinating items that hold their press.
What I did: Pack absolutely everything I owned, and then mostly wore my jeans and a favorite black sweater (rumpled, of course.)
("The sweater" and me with Ed Kaufman at M is for Mystery)
Conventional Wisdom: Eat light, high protein meals that will give you an edge. Since you'll probably be eating crappy hotel food anyway, you might want to pack some trail mix.
What I did: Gorged myself in some of the best restaurants I've ever visited.
(The clock at Fuller's in Portland where the hash browns, the easy banter among patrons at the counter and the atmosphere definitely made breakfast the most nutritious meal of the day.)
Conventional Wisdom: If you're a debut author, be prepared for the humiliating experience of reading to crowds of two or three at bookstores.
What I did: Okay, a couple of times, you might say the crowds were less huge than I might have hoped. But I took that as an opportunity to really get to know the amazing few who turned out. As a result, I thoroughly enjoyed every experience.
(With Irish coffee in Chicago on St. Patrick's Day. I really should have been wearing green, but I couldn't resist the lure of the black sweater...and besides, I've got the proverbial map of Ireland on my face.)
Conventional Wisdom: Separated from your family and friends, your days on the road can be a lonely experience.
What I did: Traveled with my husband, and met up with the most wonderful, generous friends a wandering writer ever had in every place I visited. Lonely? Not for a minute.
Conventional Wisdom: A book tour is a grueling experience, but it will further your career. Keep your eyes straight ahead, and you will get through it.
What I did: Keep looking upward. Otherwise you might miss out on the wonder and amazement.
Special thanks to everyone who made my book tour the experience of a lifetime:
Sky and her wonderful husband for an amazing day in Seattle, and one of the finest dinners I've ever had.
Laini and Jim who hosted a delightful party in Portland. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera that night, but Laini has some great shots on her blog. Thanks, too, to Alexandra, Neil and Sophia, and Maggie! Leroy also made a huge impression and kept me from missing my dogs quite so much.
Marilyn who shared her hometown, acted as my personal tour guide to the wonders of California, and planned a terrific party with her friends.
Marc Lecard, the first member of Killer Year I've had the pleasure of meeting in person. Thanks to Marc and his wife Jane for coming out after a long day's work--and also for a couple of great restaurant recommendations. Both The Stinking Rose and The House of Nanking were divine.
(Holding Marc's terrific new novel, Vinnie's Head which garnered a starred review in Publishers' Weekly, and was a Booksense pick for March)
The fabulous Jordan Rosenfeld who combined a Liar's Party with a bookstore reading for a uniquely wonderful event at BookSmart in Morgan Hill. Thanks, too, to Cinda and Brad for their warm welcome and everything they did to promote the event.
(Please click to get a better look at Jordan's terrific smile. But oh-my-god, where is my black sweater?)
Heather, who inspired me with her conversation--not to mention treating me to the best cupcake I've ever had at The Book Cellar in Chicago.
And Susan Messer, who introduced me to a fascinating group of new friends at an afternoon Liar's Bash, and with her husband, Jim, brought Chicago to life for Ted and me.
(Feeding each other the special blueberry pie we bake for our muses every August. This year we expect great things.)