I’m on book tour! I’ll be hopping from place to place until the end of February talking in bookstores and libraries about my latest book, The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake, which came out January 12.
Here are some questions people ask me about touring:
Do you arrange your own events? Yes, I do. My publicist helps if I need her to, but I enjoy the direct interaction with booksellers and librarians. If I get an offer to read in one bookstore, I make the trip pay off by arranging something in a nearby town. My publicist would do that, but she’s back east and I get the feeling that everyone in New York thinks that everyplace in California and Texas is close to everyplace else. If you’re doing events in Los Angeles, you have to realize that “Los Angeles” is a loose term, meaning it can easily take three hours to get from one part of the LA area to another. .
Does your publisher pay for your tour? In my dreams! You have to be in a rarefied atmosphere for this to happen. You have to have name recognition. This explains why I generally stick to the Bay Area where I live; the LA area, where my son lives; and Texas, where I have a pack of relatives. Even then, I am a hotel rat. I like to stay in hotels. Every now and then I stay with friends or family, but being away so much for a couple of months, I can’t afford time away from my computer. In a hotel room I can spend time writing and not feel guilty being anti-social.
How do you decide whom you are going to read with? Often it’s the bookseller who puts authors together. It’s a great way to meet other authors to cross-pollinate you readers. I’ve done events alone, but I really like sharing. I will be doing several events with Susan Shea, an author friend who has a book coming out in early February. In the past two weeks I’ve done four bookstore events with fellow authors of my Seventh Street Books publisher. I love their books and have had a great time being with them.
Next week I’ll be at BookPeople in Austin—my home away from home--appearing with two authors who write books completely different from mine. Josh Stallings has written a terrific caper set in 1970’s California called Young Americans. And Scott Frank’s Shaker is a hard-boiled novel set in LA, featuring a New York hit man who is a fish out of water in LA. I can’t wait to find out how mystery bookseller extraordinaire Scott Montgomery is going to interview three such different authors.
Do I get tired of touring? No. I’m a relaxed traveler. I don’t worry about lines or delayed flights or the people seated around me. I figure it’s a short time and then it’s over. I usually try to get some work done on the plane. If I can’t concentrate on writing, I’ll go through old emails and clean out my inbox. I don’t obsess about food. A hamburger is fine. I don’t get lonely. And I’m a good sleeper. Most importantly, I trust people. I know if things go really wrong, someone will help. Yes, there are times when suddenly I’m grumpy or disappointed or nervous. A bath, a glass of wine, and junk TV solves a lot of problems.
Book Recommendation: I had been saving Glen Erik Hamilton’s Past Crimes, and when I found out it was nominated for an Edgar for Best First Mystery, I thought it was time to dive in. It’s a good, solid thriller, with believable characters and action that is just the right amount of over-the-top. As a bonus, the writing is sharp and I found no typos, which is unusual these days.