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Book Tour Diary Part 3
I really stretched this one out, didn't I
Tuesday, September 20th
Brooklyn, NY > Boston, MA
A car picks me up at the front of the Ace; I have just enough time to grab a bagel (I seem to never tire of bagels, reader) and a coffee from the cafe before the Cadillac is piloting me through Tuesday morning Brooklyn traffic. We are enroute to Penn Station, where I will be catching a train to Boston. I opted to train this leg rather than fly because, as attentive Machinists will remember, IMHO there are few such slagpits of disease and despond that rival an airport. Penn Station, while on the grubby side, is a breeze. I’ve arrived early and I have a good forty-five minutes to idle before the train leaves. I am reading Jon Raymond’s Denial, which is so good, and it makes the time pass quickly. The platform is announced with minutes to spare; I join the throng making their way to the Acela.
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It’s a four hour train ride and I survive it by reading my book and listening to podcasts. I’m a true podcast neophyte — I barely listen to the things — so I’m strictly hanging in the top ten like a real basic. Adnan Syed’s conviction has been overturned and I listen to the new Serial episode about that; I tap on some random parenting podcast and receive some advice about dealing with kids quitting things. I finish the last bit of Let The Right One In, one of my favorite horror movies of all time. I haven’t seen it in years, and I’d forgotten how excellent it is.
The train heaves and moans and we’ve arrived at South Station in Boston. The crowd departs the train to the litany of loud beeps, some broken alert system in the car, that has accompanied us for the last ten minutes of our journey.
In the station square, taxi drivers hover and hound; a car sent by the publishers is waiting for me at the curb and together, the driver and I, we wind our way to Brookline. I am put up at the Marriott, or maybe it’s a Sheraton, and I drop my bags and head out to find lunch. I slurp up some ramen at a noodle shop. I bide time. I am always biding time. There is so much time to bide.
Finally, I am called to the Coolidge Theater, which is just around the corner from the hotel, and I am welcome by the nice folks from Booksmith, the bookstore hosting the event. I meet my interviewer, Elissa Gershowitz. The air is redolent with the smell of popcorn, this being a movie theater.
It’s a nice crowd, here, and Elissa seems an old hand at doing these sorts of events. I answer questions, per usual, and then we are hustled across the street to the bookstore, where the signing line will be. I sign books for the kind people of Brookline; in an hour I am at liberty to have dinner. I eat at a restaurant near the hotel; I sit at the bar. I have a glass of wine. I feel a certain amount of relief, this being my last event. A kind of self-satisfaction. I’m an introvert and a homebody; tours are hard on my soul, despite the incredible generosity and kindness of the people who come to these events and those who host them. Between the Decemberists’ August tour and this, I’ve traveled more in the last six weeks than I have in four years. And I did it! Hooray for me.
Wednesday, September 21
Boston, MA > Portland, OR
Midday, as I’m waiting to leave for the airport, my editor writes me with the good news: my book is #2 on the Indiebound bestsellers list, a list that compiles the top selling books through indie booksellers. I’m thrilled; I am an avowed fan of independent bookshops and it feels great to be championed by them in turn. “We’ll know tonight if you’re on the New York Times list,” she says.
Carson texts saying that she needs a pair of shoes. She’s leaving for a book conference in Dublin, Ireland, the day after I arrive home and needs these particular black flats from this particular place, one of which happens to be in Boston. I Lyft twenty minutes across town to the Everlane store to find these shoes; I pick ups some t-shirts for myself. I Lyft back to the hotel in time to rush over to Booksmith for last minute gifts for the kids — the new Last Kids On Earth graphic novel for Milo, a collection of horror stories written by queer/neurodivergent/marginalized authors for Hank; my car to the airport is waiting in front of the hotel when I get back.
The flight is delayed; there’s a maintenance issue. It occurs to me then that this week of travel has been blessedly free of major disruptions or delays. I’m certainly due one. I gird myself for a dash across the airport to another flight or, worse yet, a night in a hotel airport — but it is not to be. There was some cosmetic damage on the coffee maker, reports the gate agent, and some extra maintenance was needed in one of the bathrooms. One shudders to think what that might be. While I wait to board, my phone dings. It’s Donna, my editor. The news is in: The Stars Did Wander Darkling has debuted at #7 on the New York Times bestseller list. Celebratory emojis abound. My boarding group is called and I gather my things. Homebound, at last.
A quick epilogue here: thanks, everyone, for coming out to these events. You made it all feel so homey and friendly and worthwhile. And thank you thank you thank you, all of you, who picked up a copy of my book this week or preordered it over the last few months. I am overwhelmed by your support, truly.