Over this long weekend I have all three days on my own – the children are on a float trip in the Ozarks with their mother – and a long list of domestic chores to get done in that time, to say nothing of (I hope) further progress with the new book. In the spirit of prevarication that I cling to so dearly, however, I thought I’d knock out this blog post first and update you all on what’s been going on.
So, yeah. Busy times.
The Gaithersburg Book Festival last weekend was a blast. It was wonderful to meet writer friends old and new. My son has an annoying habit of referring to friends that I only know online as “friends” – he draws heavily ironic inverted commas in the air with his fingers. Well, now he has less chance to mock me, as I met a bunch of people I’ve been speaking with in the virtual world for ages. It was especially good to meet and talk books with fellow Amy Einhorn author Siobhan Fallon, and I loved meeting the delightful Sarah McCoy and Orange Prize short-listed Madeline Miller (good luck on Tuesday, Madeline!) I also met many other writers, and had to stagger home with my bag bulging with new books. It was particularly good to meet Gregg Jones, whose book on Theodore Roosevelt and America’s misadventures in the Philippines I can’t wait to read, and Tom McNeal, whose novel, To Be Sung Underwater, is presently bewitching me. And of course it is always wonderful to see Eleanor Brown, whom I adore. I rather wish she didn’t live in Colorado, though. It really is most inconvenient.
Anyway, here are a few photos for you:
After the festival was over I had a wonderful meal with yet another delightful author, Erika Robuck, whose novel, Hemingway’s Girl, is being published by NAL in September. Erika was kind enough to give me an Advanced Reading Copy of her book, and it is next on my list. I cannot wait. It looks fabulous.
Finally, here’s a fun thing. I am involved with a wonderful non-profit organization here in Columbia, MO, called the Voluntary Action Center. It provides various essential services to low income families across the local area. On Tuesday we had our annual fundraising event. One of the auction items was the chance to appear (by name only, I should add) in my next novel. The idea is that the winner will get to read an early draft of the book and then choose which minor character they wish to bear their name.
I thought this was a pretty neat idea when I first suggested it but as the day approached I became increasingly apprehensive. What if nobody wanted to appear in my book? By the evening itself I was a ghost, pale-faced with terror, bracing myself for humiliation. At least, I told myself, it was all in a good cause.
As it turned out, I needn’t have worried. The final price bid was $1,600. I was absolutely delighted. Although as someone said to me afterwards, “This had better be a very good book!” Well, I’m working on it.