Book tours are wonderful. They are like six or seven days out of someone else’s life. I wake up knowing exactly what I’m going to do that day, down to the minute, and I arrive on time and organized, and I do it. It’s wonderful. That is due to the efforts of people such as Alice Moss who kept me organized and Tony Connell, who has handled the driving on every UK book tour I’ve done, and the rest of the HC staff who set things up and make them go so smoothly.
Then there are the book stores and the book store staffs. At every single store we visited, I felt very welcomed. It is always a pleasure to talk to book store people. They know what’s coming out and from who and give me tips about new writers to watch or the book that is hidden over in the YA section but is actually some of the best new fantasy they’ve seen. I love the delightful mess of book store back rooms. There are signed posters and teetering piles of books, notes warning you off of eating someone else’s sandwich in the frig, and the wonderful clutter of people who love books and stories. It’s an intimate peek into the day to day lives of the place where it either does or doesn’t happen for a book and its author. In the final accounting, if an author does not have book sellers ‘hand-selling’ the book because they themselves enjoyed it . . . well, then, you just may not sell your next book at all!
I never really know how to thank all the people involved. Without exception, they all put in a lot more than they are being paid to do. The editorial folks do all the extras because at the end of the day, what they really want to do is put out a book they are really proud of. The book store people are all about sharing whatever wonderful book they have just read.
So, for me, a book tour is a solid week of spending time with the sort of people I enjoy the most.
A special thanks is due to fellow writer Terie Garrison. Terie and I became friends first on the Internet, and then at conventions. When I took an extra week in England after the book tour, Terie appeared to offer my family and me a jaunt to Stone Henge. And then we went on to Avebury and the Long Barrow. Words cannot describe the wonder of those places. Stone remembers.
I am glad to be back home, at my desk, with my cats and dogs and various sorts of kids and neighbors wandering through. But it’s a bit hard to put windswept hillsides and towering cathedrals out of my brain and settle down to my work again. I think my best souvenirs are a handful of flints gathered from the fields around the Long Barrow, and half of a story about Goblins that came to my mind during a cab ride. If I can write that as well as I want to, it may possibly appear in the story collection I’m working on, though it’s much more Lindholm than Hobb.
Well, as fellow writer Fiona McIntosh puts it, I need to apply the ‘bum glue’ and keep myself in my desk chair and my fingers on the keys for the next few months now. It’s so much easier to write a journal entry or answer some email and pretend it’s writing work than it is to settle down and ask myself, ‘where is the next scene set, and how does it begin?’ This is my fourth run at writing the story of the Piebald Prince. I think I’ve finally found the right narrator, the person who is in place to tell the story first hand. The trouble with that is that she knows too much, and as a result, the tale is already longer than I thought it would be. It’s tempting to say, "It’s too long. Put it back on the shelf and write something else." But I fear that if Ido that one more time, it will never be written at all.
So, please, wish me well. If I stick to my resolve, you will not see much of me here for awhile. Time for me to pin down to the paper the stories I’ve been chasing.