My book launch is done, now, and I survived the experience relatively unscathed. The event was held at 7:00 pm last Wednesday night, July 13, at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale, AZ. I used to do a lot of events, in a previous incarnation, and I always enjoyed talking to groups back then. But it’s been 15 years since I appeared before an audience, and I wasn’t entirely sure I was still capable of turning on the old poise and charm quite as readily as I used to. So I was more nervous going in to it than I hoped.
My husband Don and I live several miles from the bookstore, so we left the house about an hour before we were supposed to be there. Traffic was lighter than I expected, and we arrived quite a bit early. Fearing that I was going to look like an overeager dork, I had Don drive around the block a couple of times before we parked. I arrived at the same time as the other author on the program, Rick Riordan, and we all went in together. As I walked in the door, some of my dear friends from my librarianing days stood up from their chairs and gave me a standing ovation.
Now, if ever you have a book launch, dear reader, I highly suggest you get yourself one of those standing ovations. It pretty much makes the whole evening.
As it turns out, I should have just gone in early, since Barbara Peters, owner of the bookstore and Executive Editor of the press, had us sit down and sign piles of pre-sold books before the program. Rick and I didn’t get to talk to one another as much as I would have liked, which I regretted. Rick is a successful, experienced author. He and I are both from the same part of the country — he’s from Texas and I’m from Oklahoma. His Tres Navarre series is set in San Antonio. Tres is a great character and the books have a lot of atmosphere. His latest book, The Lightning Thief, is a wonderful young adult book, and the major female character has the same name as my mother, which I considered a good omen. I’m adding a link to his website on my links page.
Barbara sat Rick and me on tall chairs at the front of the room and moderated while we discussed our books. Rick went first. All smooth and polished, of course. Then me.
You know how it is when you’re driving down the highway at 70mph and suddenly you realize that you don’t remember anything about the last 90 miles? It was sort of like that. What I mostly think of when I recall the event is all the things I should have said. For instance:
I went on at length about gleaning stories for my series from my family history. I should have told what one or two of those stories were.
Barbara asked why I decided to make the series into mysteries. I said because I thought I could do one mystery for each of Alafair’s kids. What I should have said was that I shamelessly patterned the series after Ellis Peters’ Brother Cadfael stories — a little mystery, a little romance on the side.
It was mentioned that I should take care not to let the series become claustrophobic, which is a danger when it mostly involves one family. I said, well, they’ll do some travelling. What I should have said is, “Well, now, I don’t know about that. There’s lots of sinister things going on in them woods.”
Hindsight is 20/20. One of the joys of keeping a blog, though, is that you can let the reader know how clever and witty you would have been if you had had time to think about it. However, I didn’t do too badly, under the circumstances. I know, because my husband told me so. And all my wonderful friends who were there were very comforting, as well. I have several other events coming up, and practice makes perfect.
After the talk was done and the last book signed, Don and I went and ate pie. The perfect end to an amazing evening.
And by the way, my shoes were fabulous.