I sent my father a copy of my new novel, Dear Money, and he wrote me a letter that made me think hard about one significant fact: I have never been able to enjoy the publication of one of my books. In his note, he urged, commanded rather, that this time around I do. As it happened, the letter arrived when I was wallowing in a bit of that dread: exposure, fear, self-doubt. And though it took a day for his message to sink in, it did. I stopped to think about how this time around is different. In the 4 years since I published my last novel, the publishing industry has transformed and is in the midst of a massive sea change. One of the side effects is that writers like me (mid-list, literary) are essentially in charge of our own promotion. Daunting though it is, a beautiful consequence is that friends and sisters have reached out to support me and to help me to celebrate, and create a small tour of readings that should, above all else, be fun. This makes it much easier to do as my father has instructed: “…to savor an accomplishment that floats above all else.”
Christina Ball, the host of my first celebration, was my roommate freshman year in college. I will never forget the first time I met her. She came into our dorm room with her brother, two sisters, elegant parents, and her aged grandmother (who, by the way, all these years later, is into her 100s and still going strong). She assessed the room, took one look at a brass lamp that I had brought, and that had been my grandfather’s when he went off to college, and said to her mother that that lamp would have to go. Christina is hosting a launch reading and discussion at her beautiful Speak! Language Center in Charlottesville, VA on May 27: A Rich Hour. And if no one comes, we’ll drink all the wine ourselves. She was the subject of a piece I wrote for More Magazine a year or two ago: Unforgotten Italy.
While this new model for a tour is still in front of me, and it’s success in terms of FUN remains to be seen, here’s a reminder of the old book tour version: Book Tour
More friends and sisters, more stories, more readings, other cities — too much for one post — coming soon. Events.