So, yeah, sorry about the radio silence. It turns out that this publishing-a-book thing is a bit of a time-suck. But, you know, in a good way.
Since the book was published – almost a month ago now, bizarre though that seems – I have hardly had time to sit down. It has been a wonderful, mad, hectic ride, and it is far from over – because I am off on tour again. I will be in Nashville for the first half of next week, visiting the book trade distributor Ingrams, and the lovely people at Book Page. On Tuesday evening (March 6) I am doing an event at Parnassus Books, a new indie bookstore which is probably best known for being co-owned by multi-gazillion best seller author Ann Patchett, whose State of Wonder I will packing in my suitcase in the hopes that she will be there and I can get her to sign my copy. (I wrote about Ann Patchett’s essay The Getaway Car here – required reading, in my humble opinion, for all writers.)
On Thursday I will be back home, performing what is known as a radio tour – which means, as I understand it, that I sit at my kitchen table doing telephone interviews all day with various radio stations across America. One of the delights of living in a country with so many time zones is that breakfast drive time goes on for ever – and once it’s over on the west coast, it’s time for the lunch crowd back east… and so it goes on. I suspect my espresso machine will be in overdrive for most of the day. I can always rely on the sainted coffee bean to keep me peppy. After all, that’s how I wrote the book in the first place.
The following week I am off on my travels again. I think I’ll be at Reed’s Gum Tree Bookstore in Tupelo, MS on Monday, March 12 (details to be confirmed.) On Tuesday (March 13) I’ll be at The Booksellers at Laurelwood in Memphis at 6.00 p.m. On Wednesday (March 14) I’m looking forward to visiting the famous Lemuria Books, in Jackson, MS. And on Thursday (March 15) I’ll be reading at the Turn Row Book Company, in Greenwood, MS. The event starts at 5.30 with a signing, followed by a reading and discussion. If you’re in the area for any of these events, please come, and bring friends! If you’re not, but know someone who is, please spread the word. The more, as they say, the merrier.
Looking a little further ahead, I’m also very excited to have been invited to participate in the Gaithersburg Book Festival on May 19. Finally, the East coast beckons!
I’ve been so busy I haven’t had a chance to write about the adventures I’ve had so far on my travels to Wichita, KS, Birmingham, AL, and Kansas City. I will, I promise. I have met so many wonderful people, it is hard to keep track, but highlights so far include:
- Seeing Pam, the nurse from my allergist’s office, waiting in line at Barnes & Noble in Columbia on a horrible, snowy launch day, with a book in her hand.
- Listening to Sarah Bagby, owner of Watermark Books and Cafe in Wichita, telling a story about going into the Oval Office and giving a book to President Obama;
- Seeing the book in a bookstore in Atlanta airport, 3 days after publication, nestling snugly in the best sellers section, looking very comfortable at #15;
- Signing 1,000 copies of A GOOD AMERICAN in three hours flat at the Alabama Booksmith (that’s 10.8 seconds per book, math fans);
- Doing my first NPR interview (which you can listen to here);
- Meeting twitter friends in real life – in particular the lovely Hallie Sawyer in Kansas City, who wrote about the encounter here.
- The small launch party for family and friends at PS: Gallery in Columbia, Missouri, which was a memorable evening for many reasons, not least of which was my six year-old daughter fearlessly offering to sign guests’ copies of the book on the dedication page (she is the dedicatee).
- My first in-person appearance at a book club, which was a wonderful (and only slightly scary) encounter. I look forward to doing a lot more.
This week A GOOD AMERICAN is at #30 (and climbing) on the nationwide independent booksellers best sellers list. There are nineteen copies of the book at my local library, Daniel Boone Regional Library. I gather they are all checked out and that the hold list is a long one. A HUGE thank you to everyone who has been kind enough to buy a copy. The response from readers, booksellers, bloggers, and reviewers has been utterly overwhelming, and (almost!) universally positive. I am so grateful to everyone who has taken the time to post a review, or share the book with friends. Thanks, too, to everyone who has taken the time to send me photographs of the novel in its natural habitat – on bookstore shelves, tables, and displays across the country. I’ve said it here many times – writing a book is a long, lonely process, and it is humbling and wonderful to see the result of my efforts out in the real world.
Just in case all this wasn’t enough, also in February:
- I turned 42;
- I got divorced;
- I became an American citizen; and
- I had an offer accepted on a house.
So, all in all, last month was quite a month. Thank you all for your support and friendship. Onwards and upwards!
By the way, if you’re curious what 1,000 copies of a book looks like, here’s your answer: