July 10, 2005
That’s it, folks! April 3rd to July 10th. Phew! Lee’s back home, soon to start work on the next Reacher novel. If you’ve read all nive novels and the short stories and the blog, don’t feel lost. Like Hansel and Gretel, Lee will leace us a trail of crumbs to lead our way back to Jack Reacher. (He often puts hints about the next novel in THE REACHER REPORT so sign-up to stay in the loop!
US Day 26 & 27|
July 9, 2005
So, the show that never ends … has ended. This is how it went (I’m writing this in the Club Europe lounge at London Heathrow, on my way to the south of France):
Saturday morning I moved hotels from downtown SF to Corte Madera and headed back to Book Passage for the ongoing (hi, Stuart) conference. Hung out until my event at 6 … Sandy was there (thanks for the coffee and chocolate) and Rae and Janine were there (thanks for the books!) Nice event …
… followed by the annual “faculty” party at local agent Kimberley Cameron’s house in Tiburon. The view from her back deck is truly amazing – literally one of the best views in the world—The Golden Gate, the bay, downtown SF in the distance. Nice party, too. No free internet at the hotel, which is why this blog is late …
Then a panel about short stories on Sunday morning … plenty of hanging out with coffee and friends and partial manuscripts … then the car to SFO. It has been a long trip, but a great one. One Shot is doing well everywhere, and I continue to be amazed and gratified by the support and enthusiasm from Reacher readers everywhere. Thank you all. I’m going to take a short—OK, a pretty long—break and then start the 2007 book. Title? What do you think of “Undefeated”?
US Day 25|
July 8, 2005
Okay, maybe not this belt.
Got up at a reasonable hour for a car across the bridge to a panel appearance at Book Passage’s Mystery Writer’s Conference … lots of old friends from last year, feels good to be here. Should be a fun weekend, after the final tour biz wraps up.
RH sales rep Susan Rieheld picked me up and took me to lunch with Book Passage frontlist buyer Luisa Smith and her dad, Martin Cruz Smith. I love Martin’s stuff and unbeknownst to him he was a huge inspiration for me … back when I was in England starting to write about America and wondering if I could get away with it I would think back to Gorky Park and say, hey, for sure I’ve been to the States more times than he’s been to Russia, and it worked for him. Great lunch, nice folks.
Then, six drop-ins to key accounts, and two hours off … went out and bought a belt because I’ve lost so much weight on this tour that my pants are falling down. Then dinner at the famous Hayes Street Grille with key SF booksellers.
Now I don’t need the belt anymore.
US Day 24|
July 7, 2005
The tube of toothpaste that I bought in New Zealand is about empty … had to buy new shoes because the pair I got in Australia have had it. The tour must be nearly over … and it is. Light day today—the final two events, really. Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be at the Book Passage conference, which will be different.
Today was a lunchtime event at Stacey’s in downtown San Francisco, and the evening event was 28 miles down the coastal Cabrillo Highway in Half Moon Bay, at Bay Book and Tobacco. Two of my favorite things right there. Nice crowds in both places, good fun.
US Day 23|
July 6, 2005
Got up early and played Canned Heat’s “On the Road Again” as the morning soundtrack. Lots of coffee, no breakfast (hey, I’m at home, not in a hotel … whaddya want, self-reliance?) Town car to the airport, American to SFO, three drive bys with Random House sales rep Valerie in Palo Alto and Menlo Park … remember the line in the old song “You’re sure to meet some gentle people there”? Still true, nearly forty years after the Summer of Love. The Bay Area is still so cool. Evening event at Ed Kaufman’s store M is for Mystery in San Mateo—great crowd, including the real Frances Neagley.
US Day 18|
July 1, 2005
Civilized start this morning at 11am. We hit the drive-by we missed yesterday due to the late flight and headed to Boulder for the lunchtime event at Cynthia Nye’s store High Crimes. Big crowd, nice folks. By this point on a tour I’m kind of dreading each event, but always the enthusiasm of the stores and the audience pick me up just fine.
Then we headed to the airport for the flight back to La Guardia. Storm cells over Pennsylvania … all eastbound flights delayed. Great. That’s three-for-three for the last three travel days. Took off an hour and a half late, a little irritated. But then … I was in my favorite back corner seat, the guy on the aisle two rows ahead was reading THE ENEMY in paperback, the crew was nice, and the weather was clear for the first twelve hundred miles. Night views of America from seven miles high are great. Chicago looked spectacular. I was home by 1.30 am. Manhattan was livelier then than Denver had been at 1.30 pm. Ah, it’s nice to be home.
Have a great holiday weekend. I’ll be back on the road Wednesday. More blog then.
US Day 17|
June 30, 2005
RC* Jean & Lee
This is starting to feel like the show that never ends, and today the law of averages bit me in the a$$ … after maybe 50+ flights I had one cancelled altogether. Got up painfully, tragically early for a flight out of LAX that didn’t happen … spent four hours in the Red Carpet Club … spoke to my daughter on the phone (she’s 25 today) and then had a nice long chat with Maggie. Then the re-booked seat magically turned into “just a standby seat” according to the gate agent. It happens rarely, but sometimes the full-on Reacher stare gets unleashed … and I had a boarding card for seat 1A in my hand seconds later.
So, four hours late into Denver, which blew off the drive-bys except for Murder By The Book on Pearl Street (Laurie’s store) which I wouldn’t miss for the world. Then a quick burger and the evening event at the Tattered Cover. Not previously my favorite store for its cavernous events room which can make even a big crowd feel lonely, but this year they’ve reduced the space a little and the crowd was real big and it was a fine evening. Heidi Mack was there, which was sweet … she was instrumental in the site redesign, which Maggie and I appreciate very much. There’s a scary network of smart women out there, folks.
US Day 16|
June 29, 2005
Another morning off in LA! Same program exactly, except the muffins were somehow inexplicably raisin bran and lunch was with Paramount producer Don Granger. Don is a very smart guy—like a lot of movie folk in my experience—and he understands Reacher and the books forward and backward. Came away with the feeling that if the movie gets made, it’ll be a good one.
Then the Burbank Library in the afternoon, which was fun … billed as coffee and conversation, but also featuring tiny bottles of water labeled “One Shot of H-2-O” … fun. Vroman’s in Pasadena in the evening … saw some of the LA Sisters-In-Crime there, and Mark Haskell Smith and his lovely wife Diana, both of whom I will see again at Book Passage after the 7/4 holiday.
Early flight tomorrow, so early bed tonight. I’m getting old—time was when I would be at the Viper Room all night.
US Day 15|
June 28, 2005
A morning off in LA … nothing doing until 12.30. So what did I do? Did I shop Rodeo Drive? No, I slept in, until about 10 … slow breakfast—toast and chocolate muffins, seven cups of coffee—and then had lunch with my film agent, Steve Fisher. We celebrated the new deal and caught up with gossip. Then Karen showed up and we hit three drive-bys before heading down to Torrence for the Borders event at 7.30. Dan M was there. Fine crowd, good questions. Perfect weather. I like SoCal.
US Day 14|
June 27, 2005
Was this the typical tour day? On the phone with my agent at 6.30 am … breakfast with friend and genre fixture Andi Shechter at 8 … to Partners West’s warehouse with Random House sales rep Dave at 10 … to Seattle Mystery Books at 11, where I saw Janine again, for the lunchtime event at 12. So far, so good. Then—with no traffic margin available later in LA—the Alaska Airlines flight announces a two-hour delay. Cell phone out … NY publicist Chris Artis instantly produces a seat on a United flight … hasty change of terminal … the United flight is late too, but by only 20 minutes. 129 minutes of iPod time on the flight, then a sprint out of the airport and straight into all-time-fave LA media escort Karen Hebert’s car. Mad dash through rush-hour freeway traffic and we make it to Mysteries to Die For in Thousand Oaks only 15 minutes late. Great event there as always. Lovely people. Late check-in at the magnificent Beverly Wilshire … do e-mail … room-service dinner at midnight.
It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it.
US Day 13|
June 26, 2005
For the first time since May I got eight hours’ sleep, so I woke up feeling pretty good. Proper-size plane, on-time departure, my favorite seat—left-hand window, back row of the front cabin—and an early arrival. Seattle was 45 degrees colder than Phoenix. Two stock signings, and then a 5pm event at Third Place books. Great crowd, including our own Janine (thanks for the chocolate!) and writer friends Skye Moody and GM Ford. The four of us had dinner afterward on the waterfront. Days like today are what make touring worth it.
US Day 12|
June 25, 2005
Another scarily early start for another regional jet from Cedar Rapids to Minneapolis, and then a proper plane to Phoenix. The proper plane didn’t work, however, so they had to use a replacement and I made it to the Poisoned Pen with one minute to spare. 120 folks there, in 110- degree weather. Great event. Probably 80% of the crowd were women, and we really got into a discussion of why women like Reacher. Very interactive. Top reasons were: a) women hate injustice and like to see Reacher setting things straight; b) women get vicarious anger- management release from seeing Reacher kick ass; c) women like that Reacher respects women; d) Reacher’s hot.
Afterward, a drink at the hotel with newlyweds Adrian and Jen (Semon) Muller—Adrian is running LCC 2006 and Jen will be opening a UK Poisoned Pen imprint next year. Then dinner with Barbara Peters, owner of the Poisoned Pen and all-around mystery doyenne and legend.
Off to bed now …
US Day 11|
June 24, 2005
Iowa City today, another state and another store that I never went to before. The Prairie Lights signing was broadcast live on NPR . . .
That’s as far as Lee got. His hotel’s internet connection is down and so we were on speaker phone. How well did that work? I’m guest blogger, so what does that tell you?
It was a long day, but a productive one. Lee got up at 5am to catch a flight, landing just before noon. Visited a few bookstores to sign stock before dropping off his luggage at the hotel. A good part of tonight’s event was broadcast on NPR’s “Live at Prairie Lights” and I caught the live feed online. My feet were in Brooklyn but my ears were in Iowa City. Cool. I’m hoping they’ll archive the segment because Lee was candid and charming…you know, his usual self. I never get tired of that. Who would? None of us Reacher Creatures, that’s for sure. Soon as I can get a link to their archives for y’all, I’ll post it here and on the INTERVIEWS page.
The big news today is the snippet in Variety about the new movie deal. Yes, folks, it’s finally official! You’ll catch a glaring mistake in the press release but hey—if a movie gets made in our lifetime, all is forgiven, right? All the signs are there for a real blockbuster Reacher flick coming to your neighborhood soon!
US Day 10|
June 23, 2005
Lee & RC* Suzie K
Woke up in Milwaukee about four minutes after I went to sleep … or that’s the way it felt. E-a-r-l-y start for local Fox 6 TV. First studio I’ve seen with robot cameras. Made my old trade unionist’s blood run cold—all those camera operators out of work. But the show was OK. Then we had a diner breakfast and did the necessary drop ins. Then I had a nap, interrupted only by 16 phone calls with publicist Chris Artis, real estate attorney, and Hollywood people setting up appointments for next week.
Then a 5pm event at Richard Katz’s Mystery One Bookshop. Richard is a renegade from NYC’s Katz Deli family (remember When Harry Met Sally?) and is one of the most storied and eccentric genre store owners. (Just like Maggie.) I met Suzie K at the event. Then we headed to Schwartz’s store for the 7pm event. Then dinner with the aforementioned Katz and Jon and Ruth Jordan. A good time was had by all.
US Day 9|
June 22, 2005
Madison, Wisconsin, today … a 25-min flight from O’Hare. Great city. Great evening event at Booked For Murder. A rarity—after nine books, a city and a store I hadn’t been to before. Then we drove to Milwaukee, because I have early TV tomorrow. Staying in the same hotel I was in 6 years ago for Bouchercon. Sharing it tonight with the Chicago Cubs, whoever they are.
Big news of the day is that the 7/3/05 NYT list is out …. and ONE SHOT debuts at # 10. Very happy about that …
US Day 8|
June 21, 2005
June 21st … a very special day for me. Jack Reacher’s birthday, in a very real way. Exactly ten years ago today I was fired from my previous job and decided to take a chance on becoming a novelist. You know that old cliche … the best thing that ever happened to me?
Started with a flight from Philly to Chicago … proper-size plane, thankfully, and therefore a first class seat, except there was some geeky kid next to me. Then drop-ins along the North Shore and an impromptu drop-in to see my sister-in-law at work at the Wilmette library. Then a couple hours off in the Drake Hotel, and the evening event out at Naperville. Fun, as always … Judy showed up again—she was at the NYC event—but best of all two lovely gifts from Becky H … a box of chocolates for me, and an amazing cake for the whole crowd … with the One Shot cover done in frosting. Thanks, Becky! Loved it! Then dinner with a guy from Levy Home Entertainment, my old cruising buddies from last October. Plus, Bill Young for my escort.
Not a bad way to spend my 10th anniversary. Thank you all for making this possible.
US Day 7|
June 20, 2005
Strangely earthbound day today … the itinerary was NYC—Moorestown, NJ—Philadelphia, PA, so the only practical way to do it was by car. Into the Music Express limo at 11, stock signing at Mysterious Bookshop in Midtown, then the ride south … phone interview on the way on my cell. Then stock signing at Koen’s Wholesalers in Moorestown … they supply 6 or so signed books to far-flung stores who need copies—no practical way to visit the stores themselves, so the warehouse option is how we do it.
Then Philly and the evening event at B&N Bryn Mawr, which is run by Kathy Siciliano, who’s a part of the Bouchercon Nation, so a good time is always guaranteed. Fun event.
US Day 4|
June 17, 2005
The Deanie Award
Left Dayton at 7 am for the long drive to the Cincinnatti airport, which isn’t in either Cincinnatti—or Ohio, either. Then a flight in another small plane—what’s up with all these regional jets? Arrived Houston on time for once and headed straight to Murder By The Book’s lunch event. Uniquely in my experience they run two events per day and attract two totally separate audiences. Someone from the crowd asked about movies, and at that exact second my cell phone rang with the news that we just closed a huge deal with a major studio. Lots of good stuff to report on that, but it will have to wait until they have made their own announcement—don’t want to tread on anyone’s toes.
Then radio, MBTB’s evening event, TV … and dinner with Deanie and her husband Ken. BBQ, beer, delightful company, a ride back to the hotel … and a very exciting gift, which will be revealed on the site as soon as we have photos. Suffice it to say that Yvette was heavily involved … need I say more?
No blog tomorrow, because I’ve got the weekend off (gasp!). More from the road on Monday.
US Day 3|
June 16, 2005
RCs* Mom, Teri, Tina...& Lee
Early start with the car arriving at 7.30 am … but it was a nice car. Bantam Dell uses the new long-wheelbase Lincoln Town Cars. Slow trip through traffic to La Guardia, on the phone with my agent about the pending movie deal the whole time. Glamorous, yes? Then a small plane to Dayton, Ohio, six drive-by signings, and then the evening event at Books & Company, where I spy in the audience … Tina, Teri, and their mom—the crazy Reacher Creature trio from Michigan, who I usually see in New York. When they didn’t show on Tuesday I felt so over, so last year. But trust them to appear somewhere unexpected. Beers afterward, of course, with Marcia too, who had baked me a whole box of cookies. (I’m typing with my mouth full.) She told me she hadn’t baked any for Robert Crais, the last signing she had been to.
No ink on the movie deal yet, but I think it’s close.
US tour Days 1 & 2 (plus the days leading up to launch)|
June 14, 2005
I had four weeks off in France and got back to New York City in time for the Backspace one-day conference at the Park South Hotel the day before Book Expo America started. Backspace is a relatively new internet fixture … their slogan is “Writers Helping Writers”, and I guess that’s exactly what it’s all about. On-line there’s plenty of advice and the conference had a definite networking flavor with pitch sessions with attending agents, etc. Me, I’ve got an agent. So I just had fun hanging out with writers like David Morrell and Barry Eisler.
Then Book Expo started on the Friday. First up for me was a formal dinner with my publisher’s mass-market accounts. Then two signing sessions for Bantam Dell and one for Brilliance Audio, along with Dick Hill, all-round nice guy and the long-time voice of Jack Reacher. Plus lunch with my Swedish publisher, because I’m headed for the Gothenburg Literary Festival at the end of September. Plus the inaugural party for a new organization, International Thriller Writers. And bubbling under the whole weekend was some pretty intensive movie speculation. I had drinks with my Hollywood agent Steve Fisher at the Algonquin Hotel … two major new offers on the table. I was on the phone all Sunday morning with producers. The doormen in my building were deluged under packages bearing DVDs of their work.
Thursday morning we got the paper and she said some very nice things. Always a great way to start the day. Then the CBS producer called to prepare for the launch day’s The Early Show spot. Plus some radio pre-records. Or was that the day before? It’s already a blur.
Friday afternoon I flew out to LA for a Sisters In Crime event I had promised to attend. They’re a great organization—a really nice bunch. Plus it’s always fun to be in LA, even if it was for less than 24 hours. Back on the red-eye Saturday night.
Monday was a prep session for the TV show, and another long radio pre-record for a Phoenix station—they’ll run it the day I’m there. Plus more movie news … seems like the NYT piece stirred things up a little.
Then came Tuesday, my ninth US launch day. The first was on March 17th, 1997, and eight and a quarter years later it’s still just as much fun, believe me. Up at 6 to get to CBS … four on-air network minutes, worth their weight in gold. Even though I worked 18 years in TV, I was a little nervous. You don’t want to blow a chance like that. But I think it went OK.
Then came the ninth consecutive launch party at Partners & Crime. What can I say? Great store, great crowd, most of them friends and regulars. Drinks afterward up the street at the Fiddlesticks bar. Partners & Crime launch nights alone are reason enough to keep writing, even without the money, fame, fast cars, swimming pools and loose women.
Wednesday was a quickie drive-by signing day for the other Manhattan stores … plus more phone calls. Seems like the Maslin review stirred things up on the Coast more than a little. Can’t say anything right now, but maybe I’ll be able to in a day or two. I’m lucky in a lot of ways, and one of those ways is my movie agent. The proposed deal he just outlined to me hits every plus point a writer could dream of.
Tomorrow morning I leave for La Guardia at 7.30 … I wonder if my cell phone will be ringing? Fingers crossed.
April 30, 2005
Later-than-usual start for the last day in Australia … an 11am signing line in Freemantle, lunch and media interview on the water, and then a formal event for Dymock’s hosted by Claremont Library.
Some of the attendees were library customers and weren’t yet Reacher readers … they are now.
So that’s it for Australia … nothing more now except a relaxed dinner with the lovely Allison and a ride to the airport for the 1am flight out. Five days, five cities, 14 media stops, 15 bookstore events. And three pens since London … which seems like a long time ago now.
I’m taking 4 weeks off and then I’ll crank it all up again in NYC for BEA.
To those of you who showed up along the way … thanks. I had a lot of fun and as soon as I’ve regained the will to live will be looking forward to doing it again.
April 29, 2005
Another early flight, this time to Perth in Western Australia, as far west as you can go here without falling off into the Indian Ocean. Allison’s first visit here too, so we got driver Bernie to take us in his V12 Mercedes limo through all the scenic routes. Great place.
Then we did radio, signings, and newspapers.
Last event was a sold-out “Sundowner” which is Dymock’s patented “get ‘em drunk first” format which again worked great. The venue was a beautiful restaurant/banquet/conference place converted from an old … lunatic asylum. I felt right at home. Nice crowd, good questions, straightjackets optional. Then dinner.
April 28, 2005
I guess I’m always a little behind the curve when it comes to technology … you know I wrote Killing Floor and part of Die Trying in pencil … now I travel without a laptop and have been looking enviously at the nice shiny ethernet connections that hotel rooms supply as I go looking for an actual computer to do this blog on. Didn’t find one yesterday, so this part of the blog is a day late.
But Thursday was fun as always … flew to Adelaide, did a bunch of media and signings and ended up at the Irish Club for the evening event. As promised Linda Primmer’s sister Kerrie showed up—nice to meet the family.
So a great week moving slowly toward its conclusion—big thanks to Random House Australia publicist Allison Brennan, who is permanently cheerful and organized and totally amazes me by being on the road for a week with even—in fact, w-a-y—less luggage than me. I’m slipping.
Reacher would be ashamed of me.
April 27, 2005
Tragically early flight this morning from Brisbane to Melbourne … then coffee with book chain Angus and Robertson top brass and then the first of the day’s events at Box Hill. The chocolate mention from a few days ago sparked superfan Kim to present me with a dozen packs of Australia’s premium chocolate “TimTam” cookies … ah, the power of blogging! Then a speech to a local college’s creative writing course, more signing in two more places, then drinks with RH Australia bosses, then dinner with trade buyers. Still vertical, still functioning, but only just.
April 26, 2005
Four media stops before 11.30am and then two back-to-back booksignings in Sydney … at which the hardcore down-under Reacher Creatures came again, to both places. All Reacher Creatures are of course wonderful people, but these Aussies take some beating.
Then a rush to the airport for a plane to Brisbane … radio on the way into town … an 11-minute layover in the hotel and the evening event for Dymock’s. Another fine event preceded by cocktails … memo to self: getting the audience drunk first helps a lot with atmosphere and participation. Then dinner with key booksellers, e-mail, and bed.
April 25, 2005
RC* Helen & Lee
Still a public holiday here in Australia for the Anzac commemorations … I watched the parade all morning. Lots of old guys with medals, very moving. Then I had the afternoon off … and then had dinner with the down-under Reacher Creatures that you all know from the forum: Helen, Linda, and Ashleigh. Plus lurker Libby, Helen’s fella Brian, Val, Ashleigh’s mom Karen, and Coral. Delighted to meet them all and very flattered that they would make the trip to see an old hack like me. They’re coming to both events tomorrow, too. Great to have some local support. Pictures to come. We took hundreds.
Day 20 & 21|
April 23, 2005
Anyone who hates the countryside as much as I do must have an equal appreciation for the world’s great cities, and therefore I’m really happy to be here in Sydney. The Harbor Bridge/Opera House view is truly iconic, right up there with San Francisco from across the bay, or Manhattan from the BQE, or Chicago from the lake, or London from the air. Population here is 4 million, which makes it a bit of a half-size miniature, but the charm is all there, that’s for sure. Plus it even has a fine red-light district, maybe the equal of Amsterdam’s, a little more in-your-face than Paris’s Pigalle, but handsome nonetheless.
All this urban musing is due to the fact that I have two days off because of the ANZAC Day public holiday. That’s a rough equivalent of Armistice Day or Veterans Day. Would write more about it but this webmail will time out before long.
Back to normality soon …
April 22, 2005
Up at 5.30 am (groan) to leave Dunedin for the morning flight to Christchurch, which is a gorgeous city … trees just starting with fall colors, blue skies, quiet streets. Fortunately for me Reacher fan and hotelier extraordinaire Tim Stonhill runs the best place in town, so right now I’m comped in an amazing duplex penthouse suite. A great way to end the NZ part of the tour. Five days, four cities, 14 media stops, 10 bookstore events, and sales good enough that One Shot will probably knock The Da Vinci Code off the #1 spot next week.
Maybe I’ll move here.
Last event tonight is “The Press” newspaper co-hosting with Easts Books at a Holiday Inn … 300 people expected. Like I said, maybe I should move here. Altogether a fun week, ably handled by RH NZ publicist Jennifer Balle. Kudos to her. And to someone else …
Jennifer herself, and Tim Stonhill, and practically everyone else involved this week has said to me, “Hey, that Maggie is really something, huh?” Seems like a whole lot of background coordination has been going on 12,000 miles away in Brooklyn. Coffee and chocolate everywhere, information, updates, material … what would I do without her?
More tomorrow, from Australia.
April 21, 2005
OK, Dunedin … interesting city. It’s the last large settlement before the South Pole and has a real end-of-the-line feeling, and a real frontier vibe. Very 19th Century look … you can imagine old-time settlers clinging on here. But it has radio and a newspaper, which we hit, and three bookstores, where we had signings, including the evening event at Paper Plus. Manager John arranged an introduction by a local sportscaster, who mentioned the Yankees’ recent form … a tense moment. But the event itself was great, as was the pizza afterward. One Shot is doing well here … always amazed and gratified how popular Jack Reacher is.
Early start tomorrow … off to bed now.
April 20, 2005
Radio first, then back-to-back signing lines at the two major chains—just a few doors apart—in Wellington. Lots of people, lots of fun, and Wellington is a fine city. And my RH NZ publicist Jennifer is a fine host, too. She understands the need for constant coffee. More radio and a print interview in the afternoon, and then a plane to Dunedin … way far south, nothing between here and the Antarctic. Weird for a northern hemisphere guy to find it getting colder as you head south. And weird to see real estate ads boasting of fine north-facing gardens. The stars in the night sky look very different. Plus the water goes down the plug hole the opposite way around.
April 19, 2005
Very rare for me to make sounds vaguely resembling human speech before 8 o’clock in the morning but that was what I was doing today at a booksellers’ breakfast here in Auckland. Excellent espresso helped. Then more radio and a massive line waiting at a lunchtime signing at Whitcoulls’ city center store. Then later a fantastic crowd at Dymock’s Sundowner event … easily the best gig of the tour so far and maybe the most responsive audience I ever had. They were all pumped full of cocktails, so maybe that helped. I met long-time forumite Bev, which was great. Plus a guy who had started with Killing Floor when he was nine years old—my youngest reader ever, I think.
Straight to the airport for a late flight down to Wellington, ready for Day 17. Overall a great couple of days in Auckland. It’s very like Seattle, I think … waterfront, coffee, seafood, a Space Needle thing, a relaxed and tolerant place. I’ll miss it.
April 18, 2005
The RC* Bryce Family & Lee
Wall to wall media today, from the early drive time on radio to the dinnertime show on TV, interrupted only by an American Chamber of Commerce/Whitcoull’s Bookseller’s lunch date … the highlight of which was the arrival of our very own Marcus and Roanne and Albie and Fergus. Hard to say who was the cutest—I guess I’ll be honest and say Roanne. Slight drama in the morning when my publicist’s car was towed. But that’s life on the road. Back at ya tomorrow.
Day…whatever Sunday is|
April 17, 2005
Arrived safely in Auckland NZ this morning … the second-leg iPod report is mostly about real old stuff … Beatles, Blodwyn Pig, Alanis Morrissette’s first, etc. Then more sleep overtook me. Checked in to the Hilton in a wonderful waterfront development created when the Americas Cup was here. Sailboats, apparently. Not my bag. But the harbor is lovely. Took a walk, even. Then dinner with key publishing people. Great food, great company. Tomorrow starts at 7.20 with radio. A bit early for me, but that’s what coffee and cigarettes were invented for, right?
Day 12 & a half|
April 15, 2005
Taking a quick break here in Singapore … 13 hours gone, another nine to go. Can’t complain, though—Singapore Airlines is one of my favorites for long-haul. And Heathrow was fun. The club lounge had a little smoking room, to which I repaired as a matter of urgency … had it all to myself, until another guy walked in carrying a copy of The Visitor. “You like that book?” I said. “It’s great,” the guy said. “Have you read it?” “Yes,” I said. “I read it a while ago.” “Check out the others,” the guy said. “They’re all good.” “OK,” I said. “I will.”
Then I got on the plane and racked the seat back and fired up the iPod … Led Zeppelin’s first album … fell asleep after the last note and woke up eight hours later. And here I am.
Overall the UK leg was excellent. Sell-out crowds everywhere, great sales, some old friends coming out the woodwork. NZ should be even better. Hoping to meet Albie and Fergus Bryce on Monday … five years ago when I met Marcus and Roanne they were just theories. And Australia should be fun, too—One Shot hit the charts there last week … maybe they’re catching up with their Kiwi cousins.
Day 10 & 11|
April 13, 2005
Lee & Harlan Coben in Glasgow
Catching up now after returning from hotels where e-mail remains merely a distant rumor … Wednesday was a flight up to Glasgow in Scotland and a joint event with Harlan Coben at Ottakers “Crime in the City” festival. Harlan is one of the few among my colleagues who makes me look short … but that’s OK he’s also one of the few that makes me look young. (It’s a hair thing.) The event was fun, graced by Reacher Creatures galore and local legend Donna Moore. Dinner afterward … I know this blog is getting repetitive, but hey … touring is pretty repetitive. But fun.
Thursday was a flight back to Manchester and a cross-country drive to Chesterfield for the Peak Bookshop event—too many people wanted to come to fit in the shop, so they were using a local hotel’s conference facilities. Another sell-out, another fun crowd, another dinner.
Tonight I fly out to New Zealand, and kind of lose Saturday altogether because of the Date Line thing. So no blog until Sunday … not because I’m lazy, but because I’m a day younger than I used to be. The flight will be 22 hours, and will be my first chance to hit the iPod hard—will report later.
April 12, 2005
Took a clean, quiet, smooth, on-time train from London, arrived in Manchester dead on time and came out to beautiful sunshine … am I still in the right country? But yes, I was, and it was a really good day. Some drive-by stock signings and then the event at Waterstone’s in the evening. Another sell-out, 110+, fun audience, a pleasure to be back where I used to work. Fellow author Zoë Sharp showed up, and Ali Karim again, and a bunch of old workmates came to the store, and one thing led to another, dinner, drinks, so now it’s way too late and I’m off to bed. But it’s a great tour so far.
April 11, 2005
Day 8 started at 8 in the morning with a phone interview with an Adelaide paper ahead of my visit there. Don’t know what time it was there—maybe Tuesday already? Then it was off to East Anglia … stock signing at Bertrams the wholesaler, a few Norwich stores, a beer, a pizza, a hugely calorific dessert, and then the Ottakers event in the evening. Sellout crowd of 75, very nice. Some old friends, some new. Then back to London in Transworld’s customized Chrysler Town and Country, driven as always by Brad. There’s a TV screen at every seat and we watched “Layer Cake” on the trip back. Pretty good London gangster movie. Much better than taking the train. Back by 11pm. A 15-hour day, but hey. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.
Now I have to go pack—leaving for Manchester tomorrow. I worked there 18 years—always weird to go back.
Day 6 & 7|
April 9, 2005
Eight minutes and twenty-three seconds left on this cafe terminal … can I fit it all in? Well, yes, probably, because it was a quiet weekend, really. Drove to Wales Saturday morning—slight embarrassment at a gas station when I realized I didn’t know how to get the gas cap open. Took me twenty minutes and one phone call. Wouldn’t happen to Reacher. He’d have torn the whole side of the car off.
Family reunion at my folks’ house—numerous brothers and my two favorite nieces. Plus, I picked up a suit I had ordered back in November on my last visit. I saw this very old-fashioned country tailor and asked if he could do an old-fashioned baggy tweed three-piece suit … think Jimmy Stewart or Sean Connery in Goldfinger. So it’s done and it’s cool—gray herringbone Porter and Harding cloth. I liked it so much I bought the company … just kidding, but I did order another suit.
So now I’m getting ready for the Norfolk day—Norwich tonight, then serious road time with Manchester, Glasgow, Chesterfield coming up. More tonight.
April 8, 2005
All media, all day. Started with remote feeds to local BBC stations from a tiny booth in Broadcasting House. Then went to a little facilities company to record one-minute video clips that Sainsbury’s (a supermarket chain) are going to use at their interactive terminals … not sure if you’re going to like the book? Just hit the button and let the author convince you! Then down to a studio on Charing Cross Road for One Word Radio with the incomparable Paul Blezard—the best voice and the best book guy in UK radio. Then … drum roll … time off! At least three hours!! I went shopping—bought a great Belle and Sebastian CD. And some books, of course. Now I’m heading out to the late show on BBC Radio London. Back after midnight. Then I’ve got a rented Range Rover waiting for a quick trip to see my parents. There’ll be brothers and nieces and all. Back Sunday night, so no blog tomorrow.
April 7, 2005
Lee & RC* Sally-Jayne
Spectacular English April weather today—bright sun, rain, thunder, and hail—all within about half an hour. Started with drive-by stock signings at all the major City and West End stores in London. Then to the famous BBC building at White City for the Simon Mayo Book Club on Radio Five Live*. The format is that three pro reviewers and as many phone-ins from the public as they can get talk about the book they’ve been asked to read in the last week … which this week was One Shot (had to be, right, otherwise why would I have been there?). Happily they all loved the book and came up with very characteristic reactions … “I never read thrillers/crime/mysteries but I loved this anyway.” If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that … well, actually I do have a dollar for every time I’ve heard that.
Then north to Milton Keynes for the evening event. Milton Keynes is/was a brand new town, built from literally nothing in the Sixties. Named for poet John Milton and economist John Maynard Keynes. Not a place I ever visited before, but there was a sell-out crowd of 120+ waiting, so I was happy to make the trip. And it was a trip … Ali Karim showed up, as did forumites Dot and Sally-Jayne, and Dot’s daughter Bryony—very beautiful and a brain the size of a planet … she’s doing a geophysics PhD. Forumite Petra was there, and Dawn and Clair (long-time stalkers from way back). Altogether lots of fun.
Back at the hotel now, 10.05pm, time for dinner. Back at ya tomorrow.
* This is an MP3 download. It’s a large file, but it’s worth it!
April 6, 2005
Today the weather was cloudy and all the events were private … visits to key booksellers in Guildford and Basingstoke, and then the train back to London and two hours off. I spoke to Maggie—important to hear how she’s keeping the empire running while I’m away—and then a trip to the aforementioned shoe stores to pick up a couple of choice pairs. (Call me Imelda.) Then a drink with my agent and the official launch dinner with my UK publishers, Transworld. Proscuitto, pork, and chocolate raviolo at a Savile Row restaurant called Sartorio. Just can’t get away from the clothing references. Starting to feel bad about my tour wardrobe—especially the ripped jeans. But hey. I’m better dressed than Reacher. And cleaner.
April 5, 2005
Dragged myself out of bed a little earlier than I would like … 7.30, for a 9.00 start.
Brad the driver took me to meet legendary south-of-London sales guy Gary Perry and then we hit Gatwick airport for the annual drive-by stock signings … total of nine stops, landside and airside. Unglamorous? Don’t forget that one out of five UK Reacher books sells at at either Gatwick or Heathrow. And we met a few fans along the way—hi Jonathan—because although the timings are very inexact some people were prepared to wait around. Then we headed to Bromley in Kent … got a phone call on the way … One Shot is going to be number two in Sunday’s lists. Great start. In Bromley we did the first formal event—85 people showed up and we had a great time. Lots of fun … hi Michelle! Now … excuse me please—I have 9 mins left in this internet cafe and I need to check the Yankees box scores. Back at ya tomorrow.
Day Zero & Day 1|
April 3, 2005
Enough luggage for four
weeks on the road?
Lee says, just about.
Reacher says, way too much.
Made it to London about two thirty in the afternoon of a sunny spring Sunday—London looks great on a fine day. Had Earl Grey tea and cucumber sandwiches with my editor, talked about next year’s book. They’ve put me in a fine hotel on Jermyn Street—right in the heart of the men’s bespoke clothing district. Everywhere I look I see custom shirt shops, tailors, bootmakers. Enough to make a slob like me positively self-conscious. I might buy some shoes. They’re the only wardrobe item I really care about.
Day One started at the civilized hour of ten-thirty. First stop was the Transworld office to sign 300 specially-selected pristine firsts for Sandra Hawes’ special sales department. These are the books you’ll find for sale to US collectors on the internet.
Then came lunch with two journalists, and then a BBC Radio 4 interview with Mark Lawson. BBC R4 is very highbrow—roughly like NPR. I did OK. Didn’t swear or embarrass myself. I think it went on air tonight. Check out BBC.co.uk for archives. (To listen you will need to have a program called RealPlayer installed on your computer. Download it for FREE from their audio help page.)
Last thing was dinner with the WH Smith fiction buyers. Important people—they sell a lot of books. That was in the Wiltshire city of Swindon. Back to Jermyn Street afterward … off to bed now. Early start tomorrow, with the first public event tomorrow evening. Fun so far. One Shot doing great so far. Internet presales up to last Tuesday has already made it number 4 on the list.