US Day 16 – Final Blog Entry|
June 11, 2010
Who knew Reacher was
So, Tuesday’s lone engagement was … postponed, so I had nothing to do, so I fell into a stupor and didn’t blog. Well, I had nothing to blog about, did I?
Wednesday was a quick Town Car trip around Manhattan, hitting nine chain branches to sign stock for Father’s Day displays. A signed 61 HOURS, the perfect gift. Better than a tie. Better than socks.
Thursday, a car showed up at 5:45 pm with Alison aboard, deputizing for Sharon, and we drove out to Northvale NJ for the final event of the season. Good crowd, fun questions, and a four-month-old Corgi named Reacher.
Now it’s Friday and I’m about to head out for what should have happened Tuesday, which is a TV show in midtown. I’ll get back around 10, and then I’ll be … done. The 61 HOURS launch season has been long—all around the world—but fabulous. Thanks to all who made it happen, thanks to all who came out to see me, and thanks to all who read the book.
US Day 15|
June 7, 2010
The only thing missing is Lee.
Today was not just locally based, not just home based, but entirely sofa based. My only engagement of the day was a phone interview with a New Jersey paper ahead of my visit there Thursday. Apart from that, I finished checking the page proofs for WORTH DYING FOR, and returned them to the publisher, so that’s all set to go in October (the 19th, I think, for those keeping score.)
Note from Webmaven Maggie:
WORTH DYING FOR goes on sale in the UK on Sept. 30th (but they start shipping about a week prior) and in the US on Oct. 19th.
US Day 14|
June 6, 2010
Darien Public Library
So, I got home yesterday for the final, not-touring part of the tour … a no-fly-zone, stay-at-home kind of thing, with only one gig a day. Today was the Darien Library. Got out there in a Music Express limo, found a large, enthusiastic SRO crowd, had a lot of fun, and came home again. I had been trying to get to Darien for a few years, and finally it worked out, and I’m glad it did. It rained a little, but only when I was inside.
US Day 13|
June 4, 2010
The hordes at Borders
The weather reports called for rain so, naturally, I forgot to pack an umbrella. Not to worry, I was with Lee (the luckiest man on Earth). Yesterday, it poured during Lee’s theater event and stopped before we stepped outside. Today, there was an early morning deluge in Portland while we were on the road but not a drop did we see. Stopped off at Kennebunkport for lobster rolls at The Clam Shack. These are my old stomping grounds so it was a very nostalgic drive. For Lee, it was green, much too green.
Got to Portland around noon, but couldn’t check into the hotel so we wandered around the shops. Can you imagine Lee in a kitchen supply shop? We looked at coffee machines; now do you believe me?
First up, a tv appearance for the local NBC station, WCSH. Good interview by a true fan of the books. I’ll post a link to it on this website soon. The next and final event was at the Borders in South Portland which holds the chain’s record nationwide for most Reacher novels sold. Sweet! After the Q&A, the signing line went on forever, winding around the stacks. As you enter the state, the welcome sign reads “Maine, the way life should be.” Who are we to argue?
Back to NYC tomorrow. It’s supposed to rain there. Want to bet the minute Lee and I wave goodbye at JFK, the skies will open over me? Save your money, I’m buying an umbrella on the way.
US Day 12|
June 3, 2010
Where to find Reacher
Officially, the day started at Logan Airport where Lee and I met media escort Sally Carpenter. She ran us over to WGBH-FM for Emily Rooney’s popular radio show. Emily’s a newbie Reacher Creature and like so many of us, fell hard for the guy the minute she met him. It was a nostalgic visit for Lee since WGBH TV partnered with Granada TV on their Masterpiece Theater productions back in the dark ages before Lee created Reacher.
We then visited New England Independent Booksellers Assoc. offices. NEIBA pooled their member stores’ orders so Lee could sign them all in one swell foop (sorry). Smart idea, right? One way to solve the too many bookstores, too little time puzzle until scientists learn to bend time reliably.
The ball game at Fenway Park ran long so we raced over to Brookline Booksmith to avoid traffic delays. Such plans invariably guarantee there will be no traffic, so we got lucky and had time to grab some coffee (the principal fuel for Lee’s book tours—heck, for Lee’s life). The Booksmith really knows how to put on a show! Bookseller Genie Williamson found us in line at Starbucks and escorted us to the Coolidge Theater where Lee took the stage for Q&A with a full house. Great questions and a smart audience. I have to say I was distracted during the event, the theater’s painted ceiling was really lovely and if it hadn’t been so dark inside the theater, I’d have a photo to prove it.
Speaking of photos, Brookline Booksmith discovered the actual intersection of Lee and Child in nearby Jamaica Plain. How cool is that?
US Day 11|
June 2, 2010
Chicago from above
All the vague uneasiness that some folks say they feel when visiting big cities is exactly what I feel when I’m away from one, so it was very pleasant to arrive in Chicago this lunchtime. I’m a city boy,born and raised. Can’t help it.
And it was very pleasant to see Chicago escort and legend Bill Young again. He’s like a good luck charm for me. Five years ago I called my lawyer from his car and pulled the trigger on buying my current apartment. Three years ago I was with him when I got the call about my first US number one.
Now I’m in the Peninsula Hotel—extremely fancy, thanks Sharon!—waiting to head out to tonight’s event. More on that later.
We were a little worried about attendance tonight, because of the Blackhawks hockey game live on TV, and I have to say that although the crowd was gratifyingly large, it was also disproportionately female, which says much about both hockey and Reacher. But good fun was had by all, which of course can’t be said for half of the hockey audience. Which half, I don’t know yet.
US Day 10|
June 1, 2010
Sioux Falls, SD
Got up early to do breakfast radio at a downtown facility where four FM stations shared space. Three were on the schedule, but I did the fourth anyway. Hey, why not? Sioux Falls people seem pretty informal.
Then I watched the weather change all day … hot sun, violent thunderstorms, cold winds. Ate part of a bison for lunch. The evening event was at B&N—big crowd, the best they’d had since Sarah Palin. And why not? We have a lot in common. We both make shit up for a living.
No one gave me a hard time for research inaccuracy—61 HOURS says it’s cold here in the winter, and the locals say, that’s for damn sure.
US Day 9|
May 31, 2010
So … I got back to NYC on Wednesday, for three blended tour-home days, starting immediately with lots of BookExpo stuff, then slightly less on Thursday, hardly anything on Friday, and absolutely nothing at all on Saturday or Sunday. Now it’s Monday and I’m back on the road … just arrived in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, ready for a busy day tomorrow.
US Day 8|
May 25, 2010
On my block, just in case
Front row left: Phyllis, Grandma, Teri & Tina
No maintenance dramas with Southwest today—we took off on time and landed on time in Columbus, Ohio.
First up was a radio interview with a Boston station ahead of next week’s visit, done from the St. Louis airport. Then a phoner with Reuters, for a feature, from my Columbus hotel room. Then TV, in a studio deep in the bowels of the Ohio statehouse, where Governor Strickland does his appearances. Now I’m heading out for the dinner ahead of the Thurber House event.
The evening event was lots of fun—350 people in attendance, five of who were my best Ohio buddy Marcia, plus the Terrible Trio, Tina, Teri, and Phyllis… plus Grandma! Naturally the end of the signing line was a hoot. Check out the front row.
Back to NYC tomorrow, for BEA. More from there later.
US Day 7|
May 24, 2010
Monday, Monday … first thought of the day: why does the little bottle in the shower say “Cleansing Shampoo”? I mean, what other kind is there?
More at-the-gate airplane maintenance today. Something about a warning light. It’s a good job we don’t worry about our cars like that. We’d never get anywhere. I once drove a car with a busted speedo and all the warning lights on—for four years.
The result of all this fastidious engineering was that we were late into St. Louis, which meant I did the afternoon phoners from the escort’s car and the sidewalk outside the spiffy new St. Louis Four Seasons. Then I had a club sandwich and we headed out to the evening event at the library. Big crowd, lovely people—as are you all. I just got the first week’s sales figures, and they are terrific. Thanks, America!
US Day 6|
May 23, 2010
A tire problem delayed us out of Dallas, and by the time it was fixed we needed more fuel, so that delayed us a little more, and so what had looked like a fairly relaxed Sunday turned into a bit of a scramble. And Phoenix was … cold. Yes, unbelievably, temps were in the 60s and the landscape was still full of spring blossom, with weird little flowers still growing on the cacti.
The event at The Poisoned Pen was mayhem … a huge crowd, and the second consecutive day where supplies of 61 HOURS ran out. All good.
US Day 5|
May 22, 2010
Relatively quiet day … a 43-minute straight-up, straight-down flight from Houston to Dallas, a nap in the achingly hip W hotel, then a 20 minute ride out to the shiny new Legacy Books in Plano, where a big crowd awaited. SRO and sold out—they even ran out of copies of 61 HOURS. Then dinner with Dallas friends Alison and Harry Hunsicker. A good day on the road.
US Day 4|
May 21, 2010
Houston's Briars Club
Murder By The Book
Up at 4 am for my usual early-morning road breakfast—Advil, Visine, coffee and Camels. Then to the airport for the early plane to Houston. First up was an intimate book lunch at the venerable Briar Club—the upscale end of Murder By The Book’s operation. Food was good, although I missed dessert—that was when I was talking. I had coffee, though.
Had a rest after lunch and then headed over to MBTB’s actual store for the evening event. There were the usual giant stack of pre-solds to be signed and the usual giant crowd waiting. Always a great time. Afterward McKenna and David took me out for dinner. Houston, gotta love it.
US Day 3|
May 20, 2010
Courthouse Sq. in Oxford, MS
Woke up and did a radio interview from my hotel bedside phone, and then was driven to Oxford—a three hour ride along empty rural Interstates—where friend, fellow writer and local resident Ace Atkins treated me to lunch and told me about the new series he’s starting. First title will be “The Ranger”, and I’ll be the first customer, based on what I heard.
Then came the 5pm event at Square Books. The Square itself was exactly what you would find in a John Grisham novel … a courthouse, shade trees, all kinds of quaint old stuff. The bookstore was equally charming—a vibrant independent with a terrific staff and a great audience.
Then we drove on to Memphis, to be closer to the airport for tomorrow morning’s early flight to Houston.
US Day 2|
May 19, 2010
May Contain Nuts
So, I got home after the annual Reacher Creature NYC launch bash, packed my little suitcase, took a short nap, and headed out to LaGuardia for flights to Atlanta and onward to Jackson, Mississippi. Breakfast on the first plane, peanuts on the second. They were dry roasted, weighed point-four-two of an ounce, and were produced by an outfit called King Nut Company. The only ingredient listed was peanuts. Then, just in case of doubt, there was a warning: May Contain Nuts.
We did TV and radio, and then a late afternoon/early evening event at the delightful Lemuria bookstore. Now I’m awaiting room service and looking forward to a slightly longer nap tonight.
US Day 1|
May 18, 2010
B&N Lincoln Triangle, NYC
61 HOURS Launch Day. Lee’s 14th Reacher. Barnes & Noble broke fire codes, packing so many people into one of their largest event spaces (some arrived two hours early to get a seat). The overflow stood outside watching Lee on overhead monitors. The A/C surrendered and the room got steamy (Reacher has that effect and don’t we know it). It was rainy and cold outside, the temp dropping 30 degrees from a week ago. Was this a great day, or what?
It never gets old. We live for Launch Day.
The day before, Lee went to Random House to sign books for stores that aren’t on this year’s tour. Boxes and boxes (and boxes and boxes) crammed into a small office; his publicist told me the smell of new books was heady. ebooks are wonderful, but they don’t yet come with that great new book smell. The reviews (if you got the latest Reacher Report, you know about some of them) are love letters to our man Reacher, the pre-sales are tremendous, and the buzz is louder than ever. Could a Reacher movie be far off?* Yikes, what’s to keep me from grinning like an idiot? (Lee would suggest nothing has so far.)
So, okay, it was really warm in the room. But nobody got up to leave. The crowd was in great spirits and asked interesting questions which led Lee to provide a good deal of insight into his writing and Reacher. He explained the six reasons for writing 61 HOURS (oh no, I’m not listing them here—you’ll have to attend a signing for that) including a very unexpected request from a man whose wife apparently really likes Reacher. Ahem.
After the event, Lee took a small group of diehard (and, apparently, waterproof) Reacher Creatures out for some celebratory alcohol at a local bar/restaurant. Turns out, the bartender is a Reacher Creature, too, and has gotten many of her regular patrons hooked on Reacher. I tell you, I wouldn’t have been surprised if during the cab ride home, the driver had a copy of 61 HOURS on his dashboard. It was that kind of day.
Don’t worry, Lee will be back writing the blog tomorrow…
* Sorry, no new movie news to tell—but keep your fingers crossed!
NZ Day 27|
April 16, 2010
Dunedin … as close to the South Pole as I’m ever likely to get, and down here you can tell that autumn is giving way to winter. There was a cold wind blowing all morning … I put my coat on for the first time since London.
Dunedin … as close to the South Pole as I’m ever likely to get, and down here you
We did two sit-and-signs and some print media, and the evening event was an exclusive affair at the city’s art gallery. And … that’s it. The marathon is over. Huge thanks to RHNZ publicist Jennifer for an amazing week.
Because of time zones and the date line, for me Saturday will be 40 hours long … I’ll spend about 19 of them on planes, most of them asleep, I hope. 61 HOURS launches in the US on May 18, and I’ll be back on the road then, and this blog will resume. Until then, take care, have fun, be good.
NZ Day 26|
April 15, 2010
The flight out of Nelson—a nice little Bombardier Q300, no video screens for the safety announcements, alas—was a little late, so we hit the ground running and didn’t let up for the next five hours. First came TV, then three back to back signings in three downtown stores, then more TV, some radio, and now I’m trying to decide whether to have a BLT or a pizza as my pre-event snack. Got to keep up the energy levels, right?
The evening event was in a downtown theater—not sure how many people were in the audience, but I do know there were more than 500 in the signing line. Or, my hand knows. And my wrist.
Room service coming up … and then the last day. I’ve been on the road so long it feels weird to say that.
NZ Day 25|
April 14, 2010
for good reason
Today I went to prison. Only as a guest, though, for Wellington Prison’s library and literacy program. The warden was a little nervous about making me mix with the inmates. I said, you should have seen where I grew up. You should see where I live now. We call these guys neighbors.
A guy serving six years for arson and armed robbery gave me a chess set he made from papier-mâché and varnish. A Maori inmate chanted a traditional farewell which ended up with us rubbing noses. I showed him the traditional NY-style fist bump as an alternative.
The prison was the second stop of the day. First was radio, third and fourth were downtown signings. Then we flew to Nelson on the South Island. Two points of interest about Air New Zealand: first, there is no security for the short city-hopper flights. None at all. You just walk in off the street and get on the plane. Second, the cabin staff in the safety video are naked. Seriously. Only time I ever paid attention, which I guess is the aim.
There’s a 1967 E-Type Jaguar parked in the hotel lobby. Not sure why. Manufactured in Coventry, England, same as me. Non-smoking hotel, though, which is a drag, and weird, in that Nelson is allegedly the weed capital of NZ.
The evening event was hosted by the local indie bookstore and was held at The Boathouse, a waterfront place. Sold out and SRO, which is tautologous, given that this is the world capital of, etc, etc. Crowd was appropriately mellow, questions were fun, signing line was long, and dinner was a room service sandwich, with cheese and Earl Grey tea.
NZ Day 24|
April 13, 2010
The crowd in Wellington
Excerpt from Lee’s schedule today:
TUESDAY, 13 APRIL (AUCKLAND/WELLINGTON)
7AM—Jennifer to collect Lee from hotel
7.40AM—MEDIA INTERVIEW: TVNZ, BREAKFAST – live studio interview. Contact: Renee, *** *** ****
8.10AM—BREAKFAST with principals from The Warehouse (party of 12, Jen has seating plan). Venue: Mecca, Viaduct Basin
9.10AM—MEDIA INTERVIEW: MORE FM BREAKFAST (Christchurch & Nelson) Phoner with Si & Gary. Venue: Hotel room; Contact: Bondy, *** *** ****
10.15AM—MEDIA INTERVIEW: phoner with Kristin Edge, to be syndicated through 6 regional APN dailies. Venue: Hotel room
11AM—CHECK OUT of hotel and drive to Borders
11.30AM—BORDERS’ customer loyalty promo winner “Join Lee Child for an espresso”. Venue: Borders Café, Queen St
12-12.30PM—IN-STORE BOOK SIGNING: Borders, Queen St
1-1.30PM—IN-STORE BOOK SIGNING: Whitcoulls Corner, Queen St
1.45PM—Drive to airport and check-in for FLIGHT NZ***
2.30PM—WHITCOULLS AIRPORT: Meet staff & sign stock
3PM—Go to gate
3.30PM—Depart for WTGN arriving 4.30pm
5.45-8PM—EVENT: LEE CHILD IN CONVERSATION WITH PAUL THOMPSON, (PT is General editorial manager, Fairfax Media & long-time Reacher fan). Paul & Lee to chat for 40 mins, including a short reading from Lee, followed by 10 min Q&A & signing. Bookseller: Whitcoulls
NZ Day 23|
April 12, 2010
Tuesday's stock on its way out
Beautiful weather here in the North Island—blue skies, sunshine, and a really crisp autumn feel. The day went like this: radio, breakfast, radio, TV, TV, signing, then lunch.
After lunch we dropped in at the RHNZ offices so I could say thanks to the folks there, especially the warehouse staff, who are doing a Herculean job just shoveling 61 HOURS out the door fast enough to meet demand. Last year GONE TOMORROW was NZ’s second-best-selling book of the year, after Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, and this year 61 HOURS has already passed GT’s whole-year numbers after only three weeks.
The Kiwi copies are printed in Australia—for ease of shipping—from typeset files supplied by London.
The evening event was in a ballroom at the Ellerslie racetrack. Good fun was had by all, especially me.
NZ Day 22|
April 11, 2010
RCs in Takapuna
Eased into it this morning with a civilized 9:45 start and a cup of coffee and a muffin with Graham Beattie (of the famous Beattie’s Book Blog) who will do the conversation part of tonight’s “in conversation” format.
Then three sit-and-signs at three branches of The Warehouse, which is NZ’s version of CostCo.
Then a short cocktail hour with the winner of a competition that big bookseller Whitcoulls organized through their loyalty program, and then the aforementioned evening event, which had a large and delightful audience … including Our Marcus, Roanne, Albie and Fergus (who told me he goes by the monikers Gus or Gusto, and it was easy to see why the latter is appropriate.)
Now room service is bringing me a banana split for dinner. Tomorrow starts soon.
NZ Day 21|
April 10, 2010
Not too shabby
Well, usually they send a limo to pick me up at the airport and drive me to the hotel, but New Zealand is the world capital of Reacher Madness, so they sent … a helicopter. Minutes after clearing Customs in Auckland I was strapped into a sleek black machine heading for a helipad on the roof of a skyscraper in the heart of downtown. Where the Mayor of Auckland was waiting to greet me. I’m not kidding. Reacher Madness.
Now I’m in a waterfront hotel watching sailboats pass by six floors below. So once again, repeat after me: it’s a hard life, but someone’s got to do it.
Promotion starts in earnest tomorrow morning, but before then I’m chilling Kiwi style.
AU Day 20|
April 9, 2010
Got up early and flew out of Sydney as the sun was rising and landed in Brisbane an hour later. Both are great cities in their own way.
The day broke down as follows: 135 minutes of media, 150 minutes of book signing, and 60 minutes of live talking in the evening at the Dymocks event at the Irish Club. And that was it for Australia. Four days of fun with ace publicist Alysha, and big crowds and warm welcomes everywhere.
Tomorrow … New Zealand.
AU Day 19|
April 8, 2010
Up at 5 for a full-on, non-stop 17-hour day … exactly the kind of day they invented amphetamines for.
Flew (safely, of course) on Qantas to Sydney, and headed straight for breakfast with key local booksellers and publishing people. Then came TV, and a dash to the Sydney Morning Herald-Dymocks Literary Lunch—a lot of eating going on today. There were about 550 guests, which meant a mammoth signing line, which meant a last-minute dash to more TV, which meant we got snarled up in afternoon traffic and were 15 minutes late to the evening event out in Camden. The audience was patient, though—drinks had been served, and they probably wished I had been later still, so they could have another round.
Now I’m heading for bed, because tomorrow we’re doing it all again—except with an earlier start.
AU Day 18|
April 7, 2010
Mt Barker Community Library
Up at 7 for the flight through a 30-min time zone to Adelaide in South Australia. Wall to wall media all day, then a ride out to suburban Mt Barker for a seriously packed event at the library. Lovely people, amazing signing line. Now time for bed, because tomorrow we get serious in Sydney … looks like we have about ten seconds off between 6 am and midnight.
AU Day 17|
April 6, 2010
Publicist Alysha said we were facing busy days, and she wasn’t kidding … up at 6:30 for a trade breakfast—with a call-in to a radio show on the way—then more media and a lunchtime sit-and-sign at Angus & Robertson on Bourke Street, which had a long line of delightful Melburnians in attendance.
Then more media, and the evening event at the fabulous new Wheeler Centre, which was an interview format hosted by the splendidly named Brisbane writer John Birmingham.
Now I’m ordering dinner, and next I’m going to sleep.
AU Day 15 & 16|
April 4, 2010
Well, Qantas maintained its 100% safety record, which is just as well, really, because I just spent 19 hours on one of its planes. But what a plane … it was my first ride on the new double-decker Airbus A380—absolutely huge, noticeably bigger than a 747, very quiet and stable. I had a little cabin all to myself, with a bed big enough for Reacher himself. I slept about 9 hours on the way to Singapore, then we spent an hour on the ground refuelling, then I watched a movie and took a nap.
Coolest thing was the Tail-Cam—a forward-facing video camera mounted high in the tail and piped into the entertainment system. Takeoffs and landings were awesome.
Now I’m on the 38th floor of the Melbourne Sofitel. Just had breakfast, been out for a walk, and now I’m chilling ahead of what RH Australia publicist Alysha says is going to be a very busy week.
UK Day 14|
April 3, 2010
The only thing to report today was a live hour on BBC Radio 4 this morning … and that’s it for the UK.
Now I’m waiting for the hotel laundry to return some stuff, and then I’m going to pack and head for Heathrow for the flight to Australia.
More when I arrive there, but in the meantime thanks to all in the UK for a fun two weeks, and as always special thanks to Patsy and Brad for looking after me so well.
UK Day 13|
April 2, 2010
Absolutely nothing to report today … it’s Good Friday and not much is happening here in the UK. I slept late, and went to my editor’s house for a long, lazy lunch. Roast beef, Yorkshire puddings, sweet potatoes, roast potatoes, asparagus, string beans, sugar snap peas, followed by meringue with blueberries and peaches, for those keeping score. And coffee. All home made. Great food, lovely company.
Repeat after me: it’s a hard life, but someone’s gotta do it.
UK Day 12|
April 1, 2010
Bradmobile: green navigation
The Crowd at Norwich
Started with an 8 a.m. phone interview with an Australian magazine, after which I got up and dressed and climbed into the New Bradmobile and we drove out of London and past large flat green things that I believe are called “fields”, until we reached Colchester, Britain’s most ancient town, where we found Britain’s largest signing line waiting at Waterstone’s.
Two hours later we were heading for Norwich, where we stopped at Bertrams wholesalers for a mass stock signing. Then came the Millennium Library in Norwich, where I did a local BBC radio interview and the evening event, which was the last public event of the tour. They were all terrific. We couldn’t have sold more books, except at gunpoint.
Back in London now, having watched the new Sherlock Holmes movie on the Bradmobile’s screens.
UK Day 11|
March 31, 2010
Darley orders a Dagwood
Quiet day, really, involving much eating …
We drove back to London last night after the event, but I didn’t have to get up early. First up was the Daily Mail Literary Lunch, which was a sparkling affair at the Royal Lancaster hotel, where I used to stay before discovering the City Inn in Westminster. I appeared with Richard Littlejohn (think a slightly less insane Glenn Beck type) and we were introduced by the ever-professional Giles Brandreth.
Then … nothing, except dinner with my agent Darley—a little business, a little gossip, some football talk, and champagne.
Note to self from Webmaven Maggie: Don’t update blog when you’re hungry.
UK Day 10|
March 30, 2010
The Tobacco Factory
Woke up in Bridport, which was temporarily sunny during the breakfast hour before the whole southwest was deluged by cold rain. But we made it to Bristol OK and met up with the BBC, who were covering my lunchtime WH Smiths signing for a Culture Show documentary. There was a long line of lovely people there, so all was good.
Then we taped the interview segment at the nearby Tobacco Factory arts facility and headed onward to Bath, where a capacity crowd awaited for the evening event.
Great day, enhanced by the news that 61 HOURS stays firmly at number one for a second week.
UK Day 9|
March 29, 2010
Mondays in Yeovil
Left London at a civilized hour and headed south and west, first to Yeovil, for the lunchtime gig in the charming Swan Theatre, where the crowd was large and welcoming. Then onward to Bridport, for the evening event in the equally charming Electric Palace, a fine old movie house now in use as a multi-purpose venue. The format was an interview conducted by fellow author and local resident Jason Goodwin. Then we all had dinner at the Bull Hotel, where we’re staying. Some folks don’t like Mondays, but this one was fine.
UK Day 8|
March 28, 2010
For some reason there’s an NYPD squad car parked behind my London hotel. A movie prop, presumably, and subtly wrong in that the license plate and the light bar pre-date the car itself.
Just one of the sights I saw on this Sunday off. I went window shopping on the Kings Road, ate a Dutch pancake, and read the newspapers.
Back to work tomorrow.
UK Day 7|
March 27, 2010
Aston Villa, keepin' it real
Well, you can’t always get what you want. 61 HOURS might be an instant number one in the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, but soccer will always bring a person down to earth. By a lucky chance, my boys Aston Villa were playing in London today, against Chelsea. Brad is a Chelsea fan, and Brad is a guy who can Get Things, so he got me a ticket and we went to the game … and the Villa lost 7-1. They were truly hopeless. Truly, truly awful. It was their worst defeat for 24 years—and I was at the last one too, in 1986, on my birthday, no less. Sports fans will understand when I say I would have traded one of the number ones (Ireland, maybe?) for a win, but it was not to be. Brad was extremely tactful. And at least we had the steak dinner we didn’t have on Thursday night.
UK Day 6|
March 26, 2010
Welwyn Garden City Library
Spent most of the day at Transworld’s offices doing some publishing-related things, and then headed north to Welwyn Garden City, the terrifyingly verdant London overspill town where the evening event was held at the library. Big crowd—including our Dot—and some interesting questions. Good fun, overall, despite all the green things on open view. Trees, lawns, bushes. At least it was too early in the year for actual flowers.
UK Day 5|
March 25, 2010
Got up early in Belfast to get a plane to Manchester, but there was a delay at the airport … an earlier flight aborted its takeoff and got stuck at the end of the runway, so the whole place was shut down for two hours. Which meant we got to Manchester only just in time for the sit-and-sign at the WH Smiths in the Arndale Centre—the exact store where, on September 1st 1994, I bought the paper and pencil to write KILLING FLOOR. I was sitting about ten feet from the shelf where it was displayed.
Then we had a sandwich and now we’re heading down to Waterstone’s on Deansgate for the evening event. Waterstone’s is in what used to be Kendal Milne’s furniture department, where I once bought a sofa. Best sofa I ever had. It lasted about eight years, but eventually Stanley the springer spaniel rotted a hole in it by curling up on it while damp. It’s often damp in Manchester, and springer fur takes a long time to dry.
The Deansgate event was as good as ever, with the traditional large, loyal and welcoming crowd. No traditional steak dinner afterward, though, as we have to be in London first thing tomorrow, so we drove south straight after the last book was signed. The transport news this year is that the Bradmobile is now a new Audi wagon. The on-board entertainment is the same, though. We watched The Orphan on the way down. Now it’s nearly 2 am, and time for sleep.
IRE Day 4|
March 24, 2010
The Movie House Cinema, Belfast
Trivia answer: I didn’t have a tooth taken out just before this tour. Dental health excellent. Of course, the odds get better the fewer teeth you have.
Got up quite early and flew to Belfast in Northern Ireland, a place I used to know well. My father was born and raised here and we visited my grandparents often. But I haven’t been back for 40 years. Everything has changed quite a lot—except the weather. Still drizzling, just like the day I last left in 1970.
I did TV for the BBC and the commercial channel and visited the No Alibis bookstore, who hosted tonight’s event, which was at a movie house. The format was an interview conducted by crime novelist Brian McGilloway. A fun evening. Saw my cousin Helen for the first time in 41 years.
Ate a total of three hamburgers today. Who says you can’t live well on the road?
UK Day 3|
March 23, 2010
He'd kill that mockingbird.
Trivia question: how does this year’s tour differ from the last two? Answer tomorrow. How is it similar? Answer: in lots of ways, although today started with a BBC interview with the lovely and talented Mariela Frostrup … about someone else’s book, which was a first. The BBC’s Open Book program is doing a special show about the 50th anniversary of To Kill A Mockingbird, so I did my best to sound intelligent about it this morning. Then came more radio, and a lot of print, and then the annual publication dinner in the evening … which, being on a Tuesday, came hot on the heels of the first week’s numbers for 61 HOURS. The first 72 hours’ numbers, to be accurate, and they were excellent … in fact the book is already number one in the UK, which I’m very happy about and very grateful for. Thanks, UK!
We hit the road tomorrow, heading for Belfast. More in 24 hours.
UK Day 2|
March 22, 2010
With these lumpy armpits,
wouldn't you be worried?
Delta flight 3 took off an hour late due to runway resurfacing at JFK, but had an amazing 120-mph tailwind behind it all the way, making London in less than six hours—the fastest I have ever made it in 36 years, apart from one time on the Concorde. Good karma continued with a nice ride into town … and my room at the hotel hadn’t been given away—for a morning arrival I always have a room booked for the previous night, but usually (however many times they’re told) they decide I’m a no-show around midnight and put someone else in there. But all was good, so I had a long nap and then strolled around the corner to the Tate Gallery and saw their Henry Moore sculpture show. Seen en masse, old Henry’s stuff comes across as the work of a profoundly anxious man … lots of clasped, clenched hands and wrung fingers.
Next up is dinner, and then back to bed before work starts in earnest tomorrow.
By the way, in terms of packing I don’t seem to have forgotten anything. Amazing!
UK Day 0 becomes Day 1|
March 21, 2010
Around the world, four weeks,
So, I’m due to leave for London on a day flight, Monday. But things being what they are these days, that flight is canceled, and after a crazy scramble—every corporate travel department is rebooking like mad—I’m on a flight that leaves Sunday evening. Ah, the reality of touring. Not a biggie, except that I’m a world-class procrastinator—never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after that, is my motto—so now I’m scrambling to get all my ducks in a row before the earlier-than-anticipated departure. Lots to do, like packing, which is an art form in itself when you’ve got four solid weeks on the road, to different seasons in both hemispheres, and you can only take carry-on bags. I’ll do my best, but I’m bound to forget something.
More tomorrow, from London. I’ll unpack and tell you what I forgot.