June 13, 2009
Captain Silena Blanton
So, almost exactly two months ago I left for Amsterdam in the first of 21 cars, for the first of 22 airplanes, headed for the first of 19 hotels, and the first of innumerable media stops and events. And now the touring season is over. Last night’s event in Huntington kind of represented them all…a great bookstore, a big enthusiastic crowd, and a real mixture of readers, ranging from long-term Reacher fans who bought KILLING FLOOR in March of 1997, to a woman who discovered Reacher just two months ago—as I was leaving for Holland—and has since read all thirteen books.
Touring is a familiar ritual for me now, but there are always new things. New this year was a noticeable increase in passion…people are really, really invested in Reacher, and I was asked many times, “Is he here?” And not in a weird way…just the power of story, really, whereby a character takes to life. And I met many people who had come to a book event for the very first time.
Also new were the visits to military bases, which I enjoyed very much. I think it’s clear from the books that I like military folk a lot, while not being starry-eyed about the job they are handed, and the people I met this year confirmed my feelings big time. They sign up for all kinds of reasons, and they’re good people to start with, and serving a larger cause makes them even better. I’m deeply grateful to all my readers, and I remember every one I meet, but for me the Reader of the Year this year has to be 1st Lieutenant Silena Blanton, who is about to be promoted Captain, whereupon she will command a company that stands ready to head out to sites where chemical or nuclear weapons have been used or discovered. We’re in good hands. Reacher would like her a lot.
GONE TOMORROW has done very well—it hit #1 everywhere in the civilized world (if you define the civilized world as anywhere GONE TOMORROW hit #1) and so the tour had less of a “selling” feel than a celebratory feel…every event felt like a party. I loved every one of them, and I thank everyone who came out to see me. Behind the scenes Gemma worked hard in Holland, and Patsy and Brad in the UK, and Sharon and Susan in the US, and of course Maggie at Reacher Central. Sharon in particular held true to her promise that she wouldn’t have her baby until GONE TOMORROW had hit the list…she named her Penelope Jane, which I guess is better than Jackie Reacher. I suppose the kid will never really know what her mom was doing in the weeks before she was born—and if much later she’s told, the name of some long-forgotten author won’t mean much—but Sharon’s dedication truly represents the “it takes a village” reality of publishing. I write the books, but you’d never see them without the efforts of a great team. My peeps, folks. Gotta love ‘em.
Now the year goes quiet…I have a couple of edits to do on next year’s book 61 HOURS, and I’m appearing at ThrillerFest and Madison Reads in New York and the Harrogate Festival in the UK during July, and then…nothing, until September when I’ll start on the 2011 book. So to all of you, many thanks for making the last two months such fun, and I hope to see you all again next year.
US Day 19|
June 12, 2009
Book Revue, Huntington, L.I.
I know, I know, you’re thinking “Her,again?” but don’t worry, Lee will finish off this year’s tour blog as soon as he recovers from his cold. Can’t fault his record—13 novels and this is the first cold he’s caught on tour.
So, let’s let Mr. Snuffles get better while I fill you in on this evening’s event. The drive out to Long Island was longer than you might imagine with bumper-to-bumper traffic a good deal of the way. But it was worth it. Book Revue is a huge store with great staff who ran the signing line like clock work, smooth. Thanks, guys! We hope to visit again next year!
US Day 18|
June 10, 2009
The horde at B&N Edina, MN
Maggie and I departed from Seattle at different times and in different directions, she back to the Brooklyn mothership, me onward to Minneapolis. So I’m on the road and she’s not, so it’s me blogging again…
First stop was the Joe Soucheray radio show, which was a fun hour, then drop-in stock signings at the two local genre stores. Then the evening event was at the Edina B&N, which was packed with welcoming and generous Minnesota folks. I followed that with dinner with retired-but-not-forgotten bookselling legend Steve Stilwell. Champagne was consumed…in fact champagne has been the signature drink of this whole tour.
Home tomorrow, and then a final event on Friday…more then.
US Day 17|
June 9, 2009
Seattle Public Library's
Today started at noon with a sit and sign at Seattle Mystery Bookshop. The last double-header of the season, Lee and his brother Andrew signed what looked like several hundred books; the store was packed. Having heard about SMB for almost two decades, I was really pleased to see it first hand. Just a terrific variety of stock and loads of handy shelf-talkers and knowledgable staff to help choose the perfect read for your mood. Highly recommended. After the books sold out, the ingenious crew managed to scrounge 50 more GONE TOMORROW‘s which Lee signed after his evening event which was a Q&A in the theater at…
Seattle Public Library—what a great library. If all the bookstores in Seattle didn’t convince you this was a book-lovin’ town, this library would. 10 stories of books—the perfect play on words.
A last dinner with the RC gang followed by the murder of the last bottle of champagne and then we all straggled off to our respective hotel rooms and homes. Tomorrow, half of us are headed to the airport and the rest back to work. Seattle is always a special stop on Lee’s book tour and traditions were upheld brilliantly again this year. Thanks, guys!
US Day 16|
June 8, 2009
Ft. Lewis' real CID
The locals warned it would be cloudy but Seattle was gorgeous and sunny. A leisurely breakfast at 10am preceded some Michael Connelly stalking. Seattle Mystery Bookshop had a signing with Mike at noon so we pressed our silly faces against the shop window and next thing you know, the whole clump (Lee, me, RCs Rae, Janine, Kim, Mike Connelly and Jeff Ayers) were on our way to lunch. Who knew world famous, bestselling writers were so easy to pick up?
All too soon, Lee’s media escort Gail DiRe arrived for the hour+ trip to Fort Lewis for Lee’s signing at the PX. Great signing, run and attended by good people who couldn’t have been nicer…they even provided some eye candy. Bravo on making Captain, Silena!
The sky was so clear we actually saw the top of Mt. Rainier on the trip back to Seattle. We’re speeding along on the highway when Lee’s phone rings. His brother Andrew is in a cab three miles ahead. Do these things ever happen to you? They never happen to me unless I’m with Lee. Andrew’s cabbie drops him off at the next exit and 30 seconds later, he’s sitting in the back seat beside me. Think: Michael Phelps diving into the pool at the exact moment his team-mate touches the wall. These boys are like synchronized swimmers, I tell ya.
Emboldened by our successful Connelly stalking, we rushed to Third Place Books for Jeffery Deaver’s signing and then dragged him out to dinner with the gang. He went peacefully (like he had a choice?) Well lubricated by fine wine, we then rushed Jeff to the hotel for the now-annual Reacher Creature Seattle pajama party. A few hours of fine champagne, rich chocolate and conversation that ranged from Led Zeppelin to centipedes and I knew why I’d come to Seattle…until I saw Lee’s smug grin as he explained that I couldn’t go to sleep until I’d written the blog. Oh right, THAT’S why I’m in Seattle!
US Day 15|
June 7, 2009
Bookselling, Costco Style
A quiet and pleasant morning spent with coffee and the New York Times, especially fun today. With a minor quibble about hotels…obviously we’re all accustomed to being asked to consider foregoing automatic towel and sheet changes to save untold zillions of gallons of water—you know, put the towel back on the rack and the card on the pillow, and so on…but now the Hyatt wants you to call the desk if you DO want a change. Doesn’t bother me, because I move on every day, and otherwise the Hyatt was excellent—it has smoking rooms, in California, yet—but I wish they’d be honest and say hey, we’re trying to save a few bucks here, and maybe share the saving with the customer—instead of charging him EIGHT DOLLARS for a poxy bottle of water.
Anyway, I spent a couple of hours at the Costco in Danville…lots of passing trade and some very helpful staff.
Right now I’m at SFO waiting for the dreaded Alaska Airlines to fly me to Seattle. If I get there OK Maggie will tell you all about it—she’s blogging tomorrow, and Tuesday, I hope.
US Day 14|
June 6, 2009
Front row L: the real Frances
Neagley; R: RC Sandy
Young Penny must be messing with Sharon’s travel karma today because the flight up to San Francisco is seriously late. I’m sitting here in the San Diego airport, reading, people watching, listening to a surprisingly good muzak service coming out of the ceiling above me. The only negative is a smug 1984 voice telling me the terminal is smoke free. Gonna be Lee free if he doesn’t STFU, and soon.
The flight delay was caused by construction on two of SFO’s three runways, so traffic was limited in and out. I got there two hours late, which compressed the afternoon somewhat, but escort Naomi sped me around and we got everything done, which was a signing at Ed Kaufman’s store in San Mateo, and an interview with Alan Farley of KALW-FM for NPR’s Booktalk program. Now I am awaiting a pot of room service coffee before heading out across the bridge for the evening event. Beautiful sunny day here in San Francisco.
The evening event was at Book Passage…I worried a little: a beautiful evening in the Bay Area, lots of cool things to do…would anyone show up? Well, the place was packed, the people were great. Then I had dinner afterward with Our Rae and Our Cornelia. Life is good.
US Day 13|
June 5, 2009
Mysterious Galaxy, San Diego
I learned a long time ago that flying from Los Angeles to San Diego is a drag, so Karen drove to a
Denny’s halfway between the two cities where we had breakfast, and then San Diego escort Larry picked me up and drove the rest of the way, via Camp Pendleton, where I signed books for Marines at the post exchange.
The evening event was with Andrew at a packed Mysterious Galaxy. Great store, great audience.
US Day 12|
June 4, 2009
Okay doke is right!
Basically a light morning and a late start, except for a 7am phone interview, live into a San Francisco radio station. “Hi, Lee,” the guy said. “And where are you right now?”
“In bed,” I said.
I did my 15 minutes and then rolled over and went back to sleep.
Then came an excellent pancake and a ride up to Thousand Oaks for my annual visit to Mysteries to Die For, a sentimental favorite for me because 12 years ago I did my first-ever sit-down event there. Andrew was with me and my daughter Ruth came too. She loves LA and often flies over to hang out.
The evening event was at the Glendale B&N, followed by dinner with Steve Fisher, my film agent.
US Day 11|
June 3, 2009
Mystery Bookstore of LA...
Can really pack ‘em in!
Slightly unusual travel this morning in that there were airport stock signings at both ends, in Kansas City and LA. All bookstall folks were lovely, which was just as well, because it was way too early for fake politeness on my part.
The airline was Southwest, which seemed OK.
The ever-terrific Karen Hebert picked me up in her pimped Prius—she’s soooo California—and we went to Westwood for the Mystery Bookstore’s lunch event. Excellent sandwiches were eaten and good fun was had.
Note from Webmaven Maggie:
BAD LUCK AND TROUBLE is nominated for 2009 Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. Voting open to all online—the list reads like the best TBR pile, ever. Congratulations to all the nominees!
After Mystery Books I checked into my hotel and ate the chocolate Linda gave me and then headed out to Northridge for the Borders event—which was graced by RCs Rae and Betsy, among many others.
Then pizza and bed. Tomorrow I stay in LA, so…laundry time.
US Day 10|
June 2, 2009
Lookin' good, Kansas City
Tuesday started a little prematurely…on Monday, to be precise. We took a last-minute decision to fly out the night before, to make sure of getting to the Kansas City NPR station in time for the legendary Walt Bodine radio show. Worked for me—I missed the Yankees game, but I also missed the planned 4am start.
The radio was an hour of fun, and then I got a haircut and did a print interview before a quick dinner with the delightful owners of Rainy Day Books. One of the nation’s great independents, they even supplied a rainy day. The event was a gas—a good-natured crowd, good questions, and a lot of laughs.
US Day 9|
May 30, 2009
View from the Cabaret Theatre stage
It was a beautiful day, sunny and breezy—and we were in a stretch limo—so even with only four hours sleep, I had nothing to complain about. The drive from NYC to Uncasville took three hours. Lee quickly filled me in on BEA (two women in his book signing queue fainted…but that’s probably due less to his ineffable charm than the Javit’s questionable A/C). Before long we were pulling up at the Mohegan Sun casino.
I don’t know about your casino experiences, but mine recall those sensory-overload experiments which can induce seizure. Not so the Mohegan Sun. Oh yes, it’s a casino all right, with slots and poker tables and all the bells and whistles any fan of Vegas or Atlantic City could imagine. But it’s also light and airy, colorful and sunlit. I could have stayed to do some shopping…and hung out until June when Aerosmith and ZZ Top perform at the Mohegan Arena (together?)
Lee’s interview and Q&A took place in the Cabaret Theatre (think: Peggy Lee singing “Fever” to 250 fans seated in an arc of really comfortable booths and upholstered chairs). Walt Kane, an investigative reporter and anchor for News 12 NJ, was an excellent choice as moderator (thanks, Walt). He sure knows his Reacher novels. Typical of Q&A sessions, no matter how long they last, they end too soon and we were running past the waterfall for the signing table (yes, there’s a waterfall with animatronic wolf…sadly, they won’t fit into my NY apartment). The table was set up in one of the wide avenues to accommodate the long line of people wanting books signed.
It was wonderful to see some familiar Reacher Creature faces (hi, Donna!) and especially good to finally meet Al (who is still such a smart aleck that he must’ve been dangerous as a teenager). Thanks to everybody for coming inside on such a glorious Spring day. It was a great day, in a great venue (you da best, Melissa) and we’ll no doubt be back…
The best news of all is that yesterday, Sharon gave birth to an adorable daughter. Bravo, Sharon—send photos!
US Day 8|
May 29, 2009
The book signing line at BEA
I got up at three in the morning.
I’m not even going to try to find an adjective or a modifier or a qualifier for that sentence.
Flew back to New York and made it in time for my Book Expo America signing, and a radio interview, and the Backspace Writers Conference party.
Now I’m going to bed.
US Day 7|
May 28, 2009
Murder by the Book, Houston
Flew from Phoenix to Houston in the world’s oldest 737. It looked like it had done ten million miles for Air Zimbabwe. The interior panels were held on with bathroom caulk—literally. But the outside parts must have been OK because we got there safe.
The Wall Street Journal list and thePublishers Weekly list came in—both #1 for GONE TOMORROW. Note to deranged right-wingers: your post-NTL boycott worked *real* well, then.
It’s still #4 in the UK too, after six weeks on sale.
The evening event was with Andrew at a completely packed Murder by the Book. Lovely people, fantastic reception, and Jack Reacher the dog, too. Then dinner, with our very own Deanie, and Mr. Deanie, ie Ken.
US Day 6|
May 27, 2009
The signing line at the Scottsdale
A day of three halves…flying, phoning, and signing.
Even Sharon’s incredible travel karma couldn’t produce a direct flight to Phoenix, so I had to connect through Dallas, and the time zones kept pushing the clock backward, so in some ways it felt like a long trip, and in other ways it felt like no time at all.
Did some stock signing in the airport and a radio interview for a Tennessee station, and then it was the annual Poisoned Pen event, this year held off-site at the library. Andrew was with me and we had a lot of fun.
The phoning was all about this being the second Wednesday after launch…list day. We already knew GONE TOMORROW was #1 at B&N…and Borders…and on the Indie list…and on Bookscan…but what would The New York Times say? Well, they said #1 too.
So, as always, sincere thanks to all concerned. Feels wonderful.
US Day 5|
May 26, 2009
Lee & Sgt. Randy Drumheller,
Ft Bragg, NC
Quail Ridge Books
A nine o’clock start for the relatively long drive down to Fort Bragg, which is a huge base the size of a large town. I visited the North Post PX, one of two, and it’s the size of a suburban department store. Met plenty of uniformed Reacher Creatures, plus many loving spouses and parents planning to ship books to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Then we had a barbecue lunch in Raleigh and did a TV interview with genre fixture Stacey Cochran. And I finally got a chance to exploit NC’s ludicrously modest cigarette prices. The same C-note that gets me one carton in NYC got me three here. It might be worth buying an extra suitcase. Or a steamer trunk. Or a semi trailer.
Took a (room service large pot) coffee break back at the hotel and then headed out to the evening event at the Quail Ridge bookstore. It’s a typically delightful indie with a delightful staff and a big crowd. My friend and fellow writer Alex Sokoloff was there, and my friend and fellow writer David Terrenoire joined me for dinner afterward. I was a fan of his first book and remain a fan of his blog A Dark Planet. He’s the human embodiment of noir, is David.
Heading onward tomorrow, to Phoenix and the first gig with Andrew.
US Day 4|
May 25, 2009
NC BBQ and a scenic view
Friday morning’s car got me to the airport in Boston early enough to get the 9 o’clock flight instead of the 10 o’clock, so I got home an hour early, which was much appreciated, because I had things to do…the New York Times is running a series of short thrillers on the Sunday Op-Ed page between June and August, and I had to write one. 2000 words is what they asked for, so given my pedantic nature, exactly 2000 words is what they got. The story is about the hour before GONE TOMORROW starts.
Saturday was quiet. Went to see Reacher Creature James Gandolfini in a play called God of Carnage, on Broadway. Went to the Morgan Library Sunday to see their recent acquisitions.
La Guardia plus American Eagle means inevitable delays, but today they were modest and nobody’s fault—there were thunderstorms in the DC area, which hit NC just as I arrived, thereby nixing my plan to go out and get cheap cigarettes. So I did the guy thing—got a barbecue sandwich from room service and watched ESPN all night.
US Day 3|
May 21, 2009
The crowd at Borders Boylston
For some reason this felt like the quintessential tour day…a fairly but not excessively tragic early start, a car to the airport, a flight to Boston, a pizza, then TV, then photographs, then radio, then an evening event at Borders, then dinner with a friend.
Now I get the holiday weekend off, and I resume on Tuesday.
US Day 2|
May 20, 2009
Jen & Scott Smith Naked Blue
So, Maggie covered for my dereliction of duty by filling you in about yesterday…I went to bed after the party and got up again a few minutes later and flew to DC for the first day of the tour proper. I like DC—it’s mostly a pretty town, full of pleasant, earnest people who read a lot.
First stop was a signing at a Marine Corps post exchange near the Pentagon, with large numbers of enthusiastic fans in uniform…seems like NOTHING TO LOSE offended only armchair warriors.
Then came some video and print interviews done in a bar at Union Station and my hotel room…and then off to Bethesda for the evening event. Lots of lovely people, lots of fun.
Last up was one of those terrific synchronicities I love so much in this job…in about 1996 I bought an album called Rattlesnake Guitar, which was a tribute to Peter Green, the original Fleetwood Mac guitarist. One of my favorite tracks was by a Baltimore duo called Naked Blue. About five years ago I got an e-mail from a couple called Scott and Jen in Baltimore, saying they loved Reacher, and by the way would be in NY soon because they were a band called Naked Blue, and would I like to drop by the gig and get a beer?
So we kept in touch and tonight we had dinner and I was a total fanboy all night.
US Day 1|
May 19, 2009
The Terrible Quartet just doesn't have the same ring.
Sorry, guys. Lee has an early wake up call Wednesday morning so you’re stuck with me for the scoop on Tuesday’s launch. The day began with a bang: the LA Times review of GONE TOMORROW. Lee had a gaggle of media interviews then went Reacher (i.e, he walked a few miles), visiting NYC bookstores to sign stock. Jack Reacher may draw crowds too large for small bookstores to handle, but Lee never will forget the indies who helped get the big guy started.
Back at Reacher Central, I was updating the website, twittering about the upcoming B&N event, answering email and checking in on the Forum. Soon enough, it was time to leave for B&N. Their uptown event space is pretty cool; it’s on the top floor with a view across Broadway to Lincoln Center. The room was full to capacity, Lee’s Random House team lined the back wall and, of course, the Terrible Trio plus RC Greg were there. Couldn’t have a launch without ‘em!
Lee doesn’t read from his books at signing events, he figures A) hearing Reacher in a British accent is weird and B) Q&A are a lot more fun. Questions were asked and answered for about an hour (if you’ve never been to one of Lee’s signings, the video for Lee at Powell’s Books: June 2008 will give you a great idea of what happens).
Lee took us all out for a beer and some really funky coconut shrimp afterwards. Of course there was guy food, too, but those shrimp were frighteningly memorable. I haven’t yet decided whether the food was a good memory or a bad one, but the signing and seeing the Reacher Creatures? That was great! Thanks, guys!
US Day 0|
May 18, 2009
So, after the Piccadilly event in London we had an end-of-tour dinner at Chez Gerard and then I flew back to New York for the Edgar Awards banquet, which I had to host as president of the Mystery Writers of America. My agent came over for it and we hung out for the weekend and then he went home and I went to Detroit to record some video. I got up before 4 a.m. to make the flight—not my usual type of decision: normally I would have flown out the night before—but I had a dinner date with E.L. Doctorow, one of my favorite literary types, and I didn’t want to miss it.
Then a couple of days later I did the same video thing with Barnes & Noble, but that was here in New York. Then I spoke at a lunch for the Westchester Libraries, and then I went to Chicago for my brother Andrew Grant’s debut launch event…a dream come true for him, and I didn’t want to miss it.
Then came a weekend event organized by an independent bookstore in the Hamptons.
Plus many, many pre-launch interviews, mostly on the phone.
So, not exactly a restful between-tours spell, but it wasn’t all work. Part of the time we were babysitting our daughter’s dog, Mr. B. He’s a sweet little guy—a rescued rat terrier of undetermined age, probably 10 or 11. We don’t currently have a dog of our own, so the grand-dog fills the hole very nicely. Mr. B even makes an appearance in GONE TOMORROW—actually, two appearances, I think.
Now I’m thinking about packing for the road. I hope to see you somewhere along the way.
UK Day 14|
April 28, 2009
Lee with two fav RCs: Dot and her daughter Briony.
Woke up in Dublin exactly 24 hours after last waking up in London and headed out to the airport for the early flight back…but we waited on the tarmac for 90 minutes because fog at Heathrow was causing delays. But we got there eventually and stayed in the airport for stock signings in Terminal 5 and Terminal 3. Had an egg sandwich for lunch and then headed to the BBC for some radio, and then to Waterstone’s in Piccadilly for the last event of the tour. A little tired, but always a bittersweet feeling—it has been a lot of fun, and the book is still a massive number one in its second week. Many thanks to all who came out to see me, many thanks to Brad and Patsy for making the whole thing as great as it was, and to Maggie for holding the fort at home.
Next up is the Edgars banquet on Thursday in New York, and then some miscellaneous stuff prior to the US tour, which begins May 19. Back at ya then. Thanks.
UK Day 13|
April 27, 2009
The indefatigable Declan Heeney
Took an early flight from London to Dublin and was met by Declan Heeney, my book PR guy in Ireland. Last time I saw him was three years ago. He had five kids then. Now he has seven. He says he has finally figured out what’s causing it. But clearly he had time for other things too, because the last three books have all gone to #1 here.
He arranged print and radio interviews with all the significant papers and stations both south and north. I just finished the last of the photography. Now comes dinner with Transworld Ireland and a few trade and media folk. Then I’m going to bed, because it’s another early start in the morning. So—goodnight in advance.
UK Day 12|
April 26, 2009
What some people do while others
are eating eggs & bacon for breakfast.
No formal events today, just a few informal things, a lovely sunny morning, so I went out for a walk…and found London in chaos because of the marathon. Many thin people were running from one place in London to another more than 26 miles away. None seemed to be enjoying it very much. Some were quite elderly, some were in obvious distress. Very strange, really. London’s public transportation system is entirely adequate, even on a Sunday. And failing that, there are taxis.
Not much to report…a quiet day. Talked to a few people, strolled, and eventually cabbed over to my editor’s house in Hammersmith for afternoon tea.
Normal service will be resumed tomorrow…early start to Dublin.
UK Day 11|
April 25, 2009
A proper breakfast
I’m in a fine hotel—wasn’t sure where at first…staggered in bleary-eyed from the Bradmobile last night and went straight to bed. Turns out I’m in Westminster, near the Houses of Parliament…with a morning off and absolutely nothing to do—a bit like a government minister, then.
Off to Guildford soon—more later.
The rest of the day was dominated by a truly huge line at Waterstone’s in Guildford that took up every minute of the two hours allocated to it. Thanks to all for such a heartwarming display. All authors should be so lucky. And I saw the numbers behind the list—GONE TOMORROW sold more than the number two, three and four books combined. Did I say I love this job?
UK Day 10|
April 24, 2009
Peterborough Central Library
Gotta say, the Harrogate breakfast was heavily berry-based too. Plus yogurt. A huge basin of the stuff, with berry compote. Plus a croissant. Coffee wasn’t great, either. I’m turning into a fruit bat.
We left Harrogate after a quick print interview ahead of July’s appearance at the crime festival, and entered the parallel dimension known as the East of England. West and central parts are pretty fast A to B, but getting anywhere in the east takes forever. We arrived in Scarborough with minutes to spare, and most of those minutes were taken up with print interviews and associated photography on the sea front. Then came the panel appearance at the Festival, with my pal David Hewson and Graham Hurley, with Peter Guttridge moderating. It was a fun hour, followed by an enormous fish and chip lunch, followed by another interminable drive to Peterborough for the evening event. Nice people, good questions, lots of books to sign.
Then we drove back to London—watched Liam Neeson in “Taken” on the way. Guildford tomorrow afternoon…meaning we leave at—say it out loud—TEN TO ONE PM. A lie-in! A perfect morning in prospect—if breakfast is berry-free, that is.
UK Day 9|
April 23, 2009
Town Hall, Preston
The Malmaison is the only hotel in the world where I prefer to go down for breakfast, rather than having room service. Main problem is you have to make your own coffee, plus the delivered menu involves all kinds of mandatory yogurts and nuts and berries. I mean, what am I? A small rodent that lives on the forest floor? I don’t think so. Whereas the dining room serves eggs and bacon and fats and sugars.
So, suitably nourished, we left Manchester and headed for Merseyside, specifically for the charming Pritchards bookstores in Formby and Crosby, plus an outreach gig they arranged at a school.
Then we went to the BBC to be piped into the Simon Mayo show, almost certainly my favorite book radio. It’s intelligent without being precious, and populist without being trashy. In other words, they let me on the show.
Then we drove north to Preston for the main event in the baroque splendor of the Town Hall. Very nice people, lots of fun, lots of energy.
Then a late sprint to Harrogate, where we are staying ahead of tomorrow’s line up. It’s half past midnight now, and breakfast is coming seven hours from now…
UK Day 8|
April 22, 2009
Serene on the outside,
Saw V on the inside
The crowd at Deansgate
A heroic nighttime drive by Brad got us to Manchester at 2:30 in the morning. I lolled in the back and watched Saw V on the video system.
First up this morning was a TV interview with a crew from my old hood, Birmingham. Then came a 75-minute signing line at Waterstone’s in the Trafford Centre. Then I ducked out for a cigarette—but apparently not far enough out…a security man in a bright red blazer suggested I move a little further. We discussed the issue politely—i.e. he wasn’t bleeding or anything afterward, which is pretty much the definition of polite in Birmingham—and then I was surrounded by an entire platoon of bright red blazers…Patsy was working out how to use an “Author Arrested” headline to our advantage…Brad was clearly figuring he’d take the three on the left while I took the three on the right…but you’ll be pleased to know that for possibly the first time in 54 years I did the smart thing and kept my hands in my pockets. No harm done, except we had to get sandwiches for lunch, not pizza.
After that we did the Becky Want show on BBC Manchester and now we’re resting up ahead of the Deansgate experience tonight.
So, at 5:30 we headed out for some city center stock signing, and then to Waterstone’s on Deansgate. Delightful sold-out crowd, many old friends, many new faces. Always a favorite gig. My old pal Johnny Briggs was there (Mike Baldwin from Coronation Street for the Brits among you.) Plus Clair and Dawn…you know the Scissor Sisters? These are the Stalker Sisters. All the way from Gloucestershire, just to say hi.
Then dinner at the Gaucho with Ali Karim and area sales rep, the transcendentally eccentric Martin Myers—another 13-year veteran of the Reacher wars.
UK Day 7|
April 21, 2009
In honor of Gone Tomorrow,
it's a subway-themed #1!
Early start and a busy morning with sales rep extraordinaire Garry Perry—first to Gatwick with some good bookselling friends, then Stansted. Plenty of Reacher books are sold at British airports…
Then back to London for the Sun Talk Internet radio show, and an interview with the Sun newspaper.
Then my thirteenth publication dinner with Transworld folk—they gave me an Aston Villa shirt with “Reacher 13″ on the back. And they had some news—after only three days on sale, and two days ahead of its official release date, GONE TOMORROW is already number one on the UK charts. Ireland, too. Thanks, folks.
Manchester next—it’s midnight and we’re on the way up there right now.
UK Day 6|
April 20, 2009
Lee's view at Borders London-Kingston
The day started with a mystery…I had a nine o’clock interview scheduled with an Icelandic journalist named Arni. What would he be like? A leathery old guy in a knitted sweater, I guessed, probably smelling of herring. Then I thought, no, maybe in Iceland Arni is a woman’s name, and maybe she’s cute.
I never found out. He (or she) never showed up. Bankrupt, possibly.
Then the Bradmobile swept up to my hotel at ten o’clock on the dot with Transworld publicity director Patsy Irwin aboard, and we were off and running…first stop was book collectors’ haven Goldsboro, where I signed hundreds of copies destined mostly for the States, and met delightful long-time Reacher reader Ali. Not Ali Karim. A lady.
Stock signings next, around The City, and a lunchtime sit-and-sign at a Waterstone’s. Long line, lovely people.
Then more stock signings, and the evening event in Kingston. Great crowd—the lens on my phone isn’t wide enough. But hey, it’s a phone. Although I’m typing this blog on it too.
Right now waiting for room service curry at the Gatwick Hilton. We hit the airport stores early tomorrow!
UK Day 5|
April 19, 2009
Steve Fisher & Darley Anderson
A day of meetings, semi-social and semi-business—and this being the world of publishing, all of them involving food and drink.
First up was morning coffee with my UK editor, the beloved Marianne Velmans of Transworld. Then straight to lunch at The Ivy with author David Baboulene, who is writing a book for a university press about story structure, and who wanted my views. So that lasted about a quarter of the way through the appetizer—I warned him in advance I don’t know much about theory.
Across the street from The Ivy is the St Martins theater, where The Mousetrap has been running for 57 years. Looking at me from the photograph of the current cast was an old actor friend of mine. He once wallpapered my dining room. But now he’s got a proper job.
Last came afternoon tea with my movie agent Steve Fisher and my book agent Darley Anderson. Steve is in town for the book fair, and it’s rare that we can all be in the same place at the same time, so we celebrated. They have been with me from the beginning and built the Reacher story from the ground up.
Tomorrow the tour starts in earnest.
UK Day 4|
April 18, 2009
London town from my window;
that's Hyde Park in the distance.
Not much to say today…got up in Amsterdam, flew to London (on a plane, you understand) and will spend the weekend here with most of world publishing because of the London Book Fair. Thus, plenty of opportunity for meetings both business and social, which I’ll report on in due course, or not.
I brought a coat and an umbrella and haven’t used either yet. Spring has sprung big time in Europe and it’s lovely.
Holland Day 3|
April 17, 2009
Picture Lee smokin' in his PJs
#7 of 7: Dirk Koppes of
De Pers newspaper
Lee & the Luiting girls
Holland has succumbed to no-indoor-smoking madness so there was a brief author-in-pajamas-in-doorway scenario this morning, but nobody cared—the Dutch are very broadminded: the law as written applies to tobacco only. You can still smoke pot indoors, so all is not lost…a little mellow and fuzzy, but not lost.
More interviews coming up…more later.
The Ambassade Hotel on the Herengracht in Amsterdam has a library full of books signed by authors passing through on tour—including four of mine. It’s a beautiful room, which is just as well because I was in it all day, for four interviews in the morning and three in the afternoon…
…separated only by lunch with two beautiful women from the publishing house and…
…many photo sessions out on the street, and followed by dinner with three beautiful women from the publishing house.
And that’s it…I move on to London tomorrow.
More to come from there.
Holland Day 2|
April 16, 2009
Amsterdam in the AM
Photographing the photographer—
is this how Escher got started?
Part 1, Twitter style
Slept well, got up, had breakfast, did two interviews, now eating lunch.
So, after lunch (which was a bacon and cheese sandwich plus a fried apple thing) I had three more interviews, which means that so far by my count six-thirteenths of the Benelux population knows all there is to know about GONE TOMORROW—short of actually reading the book for themselves, which happily they seem to be doing, because the book is selling very well.
That it’s selling at all is a miracle of speedy translation. Holland in particular suffers from a cultural phenomenon whereby people prefer to read in English—as a mark of sophistication and accomplishment, I think. If the Dutch translation is even a week or two late, it suffers badly in the market. But this year it’s ready from the get-go…
…which made me feel a tad guilty about going to the American Book Center to promote the English language edition (confusingly, the UK release.) But we had fun there.
Then I had dinner with the aforementioned speedy translator, Jan Pott, who seems to have done a fabulous job. I forgot to ask him the Dutch for “Reacher said nothing.” But I’m sure he knows.
Holland Day 1|
April 15, 2009
Looks like the party's started!
Late evening rain at JFK made for a takeoff delay and we were stacked up over Heathrow for a half hour, which made the Amsterdam connection impossible…except that plane was delayed too, so what went around came around. Weather in Amsterdam was beautiful, tulips are everywhere…if it was like this all the time I’d move here.
Did the first interview and had drinks with my Dutch publishers, and then dinner with their major clients and Val McDermid. Got an e-mail between the guinea fowl salad and the veal steak—NOTHING TO LOSE in paperback is #1 in the UK.
Now I’m heading for bed. Good night.
Holland Day 0|
April 14, 2009
The trusty Rimowas wait in the
corner of Lee's office. Extra points
for IDing the guitars.
Remember that old book—Europe on Five Dollars a Day? How about: Europe on one bag for sixteen days?
My schedule shows I’m starting in Amsterdam, which is always a pleasure. Slight displeasure getting there, though—I was booked non-stop from JFK, but that flight was withdrawn…so now I’m going through London. Could have used KLM direct, but they don’t have lie-flat beds. So I’ll have to connect at Heathrow’s Terminal Five, which gets me in a little later than ideal, which means I have to jump in immediately with the first media. But I like Dutch journalists, and Val McDermid is in town, too, so we’ll have dinner plus a big joint interview Thursday morning.
So, I’m all packed, as usual with identical outfits. Which turns out to be why we’re featuring audience photos on the blog…Maggie said to me, thing is…you always, um, look the same, so let’s get pictures of something else. So brush your hair and get ready to smile!
(Fashion notes: Shirts and pants by Lands End, jacket by Brooks Brothers, shoes by Churchs. As always, each shoe is worth more than the rest of the outfit. I’m a cheap dresser. And the Rimowa suitcase cost more than everything in it.)
My iPhone is charged. My bills are paid. I have things to read. I just checked in online. The car to the airport is booked. More later.