I remember the day when it first occurred to newly published me, that at some point, I might be asked to go on a book tour. Be still my heart. People coming to a bookstore just to see me? Autographing? Staying at lovely hotels? Ordering room service?
I also remember the day when I realized that despite the honor and the benefit, book tours are also grueling affairs, often filled with empty bookstores, noisy hotel rooms, and strange meals at odd hours of the day.
They’re also, quite often, lonely. So imagine my delight when I was asked to participate in the Authors in Motion tour with my bestselling colleagues (from left to right) Susan Mallery, Rachel Vincent, moi, Gena Showalter and Carla Neggers. I was warned we would make 8 stops in 3 days, sign books amidst the shopping delights of Kmart and Walmart, and travel by van from Indiana to Wisconsin–heavy on Illinois. Having done one of these in the past, I packed with enthusiasm.
What didn’t I take into consideration? Well, the state of travel in the US. After two hours at my local airport on Thursday, my flight was cancelled. The next morning at dawn I was re-routed through St. Louis with a long layover, and into O’Hare at last. I missed the first stop, breakfast and lunch, but from that point on, travel was in the hands of our driver. We ate late and snacked in between, but there was one fabulous meal at a family style Italian restaurant which will live happily in my taste buds for months to come.
Now, I’ll confess, by this time we were tired. The two dozen teenage baseball players eating pizza in the dining area was one thing, but a gazillion dancing girls? Kudos to their moms and chaperones. Not a peep was heard by any of us. Disaster avoided.
What did I know ahead of time? That we would meet lots of readers, sign even more books to be left behind, and particularly enjoy those special moments when someone made the trip just to tell us how much our books mean to them. A special thank you to those of you who came to meet me. Priceless.
What did I learn? Well, that the four authors I traveled with are intelligent, witty and fun. That paranormal romance/urban fantasy is hugely appreciated. That my standard issue AT&T cell phone is even more of a dinosaur than I’d thought since I couldn’t check email on the road. That the iPad really isn’t just a pretty face. Throw in the conversations about the business, promotional tools, the differences in our writing habits and styles, what works and what doesn’t? A valuable trip in every way.
Of course, at the end, the tour came full circle, My first flight was cancelled, so this time I was put on a bus to O’Hare. Then my second flight? Delayed by three hours. I arrived home at 2AM. But there was that final touch of “glamour” that made it all worthwhile. My publisher had a car waiting, and the driver was such a lovely, helpful guy, he rated a hug.
I love happy endings.