A few weeks ago I posted a blog advising how to orchestrate a book tour. I forgot one thing: practice—something I didn’t do in preparation for my own tour this past week. To be fair, I didn’t much time to prepare. Still, given the tour opened with an NPR interview, I should have made the time. Below is a quick summary of my short, three-day tour:
- Tuesday, 9/8, 12:30. NPR (WUNC), “The State of Things.” Interview
If any of you are in listening range of WUNC, I highly recommend “The State of Things.” Frank Stasio is an amazing interviewer who chooses fascinating guests 😉 Even though I knew that I would likely be asked how my recently deceased father influenced Ere I Saw Elba, I didn’t expect that I would get choked up on air—an awkward silence now archived for cyber eternity. To hear the interview, click here.
- Tuesday, 9/8, 7:30pm. Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, NC
Attendance: about twenty friends and family plus a few strangers who had heard the NPR interview (who showed up mostly to give me a hug). When I stepped up to the podium, you would have thought I’d never been in front of a microphone before: words were garbled and sentences ran on. Thank God for the fabulous meal afterward at my cousin’s restaurant, Bloomsbury Bistro (loved getting to know cousins Arthur and Rebecca).
- Wednesday, 9/9, 7:00, Park Road Books, Charlotte, NC
Arrived early to check-in, only to hear that all three hundred tickets to the reading had been distributed, thereby forcing the bookstore to relent and open their doors to overflow. Of course this sell-out was for Pat Conroy’s reading, the night after mine. My audience: six friends and yet another cousin. It was an intimate affair, though one where I still read too fast and tripped over words. All malaprops were forgotten over beer and wings after @ the neighboring pub.
- Thursday, 9/10, 8:00, Outwrite Bookstore & Coffehouse, Atlanta, GA
I love this bookstore. Philip does an amazing job at fostering community in this longstanding pillar of gay Atlanta. I finally hit a grove here and even had some random book browsers stop and listen. Afterward, Philip invited us to a party at the swanky Midtown W Hotel, where too many cosmos led to a wicked hangover.
Now that I’m finally warmed up, the book tour is over.* I don’t have the luxury of time like I did after I published Able Was I. Nevertheless, it was a great experience and I want to thank Lindsay/Frank of WUNC and these three book stores (René, Sally, Philip, and their wonderful staffs) for hosting me. I also want to thank Ashley/John, and Sarah/Dave for their respective Raleigh/Charlotte accommodations (and the loaning of The Beast); all friends, family, and strangers who came to hear me read (more so to those who bought books); and especially Nick and Diane who took vacation time to come-with and ensure that there was at least: A) an audience of two and B) one Q to be A’d.
* I’ve one final reading later this year in San Francisco: Thursday, 11/12, 7:00, Books Inc., 2275 Market Street. This time I’ll practice.