I don’t have children, but I think that giving birth to a book is how you might feel if you had labor planned. I handed off this book nearly a year ago. It was coming out and once it did, there was no way to put it back in. I’m glad to report that it feels like this has been a relatively easy birth. Lots of great reviews, starting with one in People magazine right before our big event in New York at the Institute of Culinary Education. That was a fun night as author Pam Anderson (of “The Perfect Recipe” series and the upcoming Cook Without a Book: Meatless Meals) and Lauren Shockey, author of Four Kitchens and food writer over at the Village Voice. From there, Mike and I winged it down to Atlanta where we led an enthusiastic group through tastings of salt and Parmsean cheese right in the Barnes & Noble bookstore. Then, it was back to Seattle for our launch event at Elliott Bay Books not far from our house.
That first week was exhausting and exhilirating. The second, a little tougher. Bookstore events are feast-and-famine affairs. One night, nearly 70 people in Seattle. At the next few events in California, only a handful turned out to each. That’s OK, it happens. Mike stayed home that week. On my own, I nearly missed a flight, I couldn’t sleep and by the time I got to Portland to hook up with him at the weekend, I was over the whole thing. But then, we had a great event at Quailhurst Winery in Sherwood, Oregon, and it reminded me how fun it can be on book tour. The winery itself is quite the posh affair, and they set up the chairs in an immaculate horse stable with laminated wood walls and old-fashioned gas-style lights. The turnout was great, people wandered in with bottles of wine and we had a great time. It also marks the first time I’ve had a horse attend one of my readings. The next night at Powell’s in Beaverton turned out to be a terrific event, too.
A lot of authors dread book tour. Not me, at least not yet. Sure, I’m over TSA and airports, for instance. It takes planning to eat vaguely healthy; I’ve taken to carrying a little Built lunchbag with snacks. But it’s great to meet booksellers and readers face to face. It’s kind of like hooking up with old friends and meeting new ones. Plus, I’m interested in what people think about it, the same way new parents seem eager to get feedback on their handiwork. I’ve heard stories from coast to coast about people’s lack of confidence in the kitchen, or conversely, that people who felt confident cooking who have decided to help friends or family members learn a few skills. A couple of people have hugged me and cried; one woman showed me a photo of her first-ever roast chicken on her mobile phone. That’s worth dealing with the 3-1-1 rule on liquids and packing some hummus in Tupperware, right?
I’ll be in Austin this weekend, first as part of LitCrawl on Saturday night and then in a one-on-one chat at 11 a.m. Sunday morning with the wonderful food writer MM Pack. Next stops below. If you’re around, come out and see me! If you know people who live in places where I’m going, give them a heads up!
EAST & SOUTH
Wednesday, Nov. 16th: Kitchen Xhibition, Northeastern University, Boston
(free cooking demo, open to the public)
Saturday, Dec. 3rd: Malaprops, Asheville, N.C.
Thursday, Dec. 8th: Garden District Bookstore, New Orleans