HANK: Boarding passes! Wake up calls! And wonderful memories. Ingrid's on the road for DUPLICITY--so let's talk book tour--with all its secrets, pitfalls and crossed fingers. And, if you're lucky, occasionally room service. Secrets below!
INGRID: A book tour is an amazing, albeit exhausting experience. But book tours—especially for series—can also be weird, like you’re in a time warp. Depending upon your publication schedule, the book you’re promoting may well be a distant memory. My publishers like to get my books from me a year before my pub date, so by the time I hit the road, I’m well into writing the next installment. I have to remind myself what’s been revealed in previous books, what’s in the new one, and what secrets are in my computer waiting to be sprung on the readers a year later.
HANK: Exactly. By the time the book comes out, I’m well into the next—even, because of the schedule, still working on it! You really have to yank your brain from the story you’re writing—to the one that you’re so delighted finally exists, with a gorgeous cover, and wonderful reviews, and whew! It’s finally time to talk about it. If only you could remember it.
INGRID: There has been at least one occasion during which I’ve had to ask the readers to remind me of a name or a timeline issue, which is kind of embarrassing, but it’s hard to keep track of dozens of characters. So be kind if the author suffers from a momentary brain freeze; most likely she’s trying to avoid any spoilers!
HANK: SO funny—people say—why did such-and-such a person do whatever? And I think—ah, I have NO idea! But one or two stops into the tour, I’m back in the flow. And it’s wonderful.
But book tour has its techniques. Pitfalls. And secrets. Right? For instance:
Aisle or window? Why?
INGRID: Aisle, because I know I’ll need the restroom, and being stuck in the window will make me need it even more.
HANK: Oh, yeah. Climbing over two sleeping people is so impossible. Even though I love to look out the window and see the geography change, aisle has its compelling plusses.
INGRID: That the candy you buy in airports has no calories.
HANK: Oooh, true! I love having oatmeal with raisins. Such a treat. And on a big layover, you can buy a day pass to an airport lounge. (Amazing. Free cheese.) Also I love to get there so early! I Fitbit around the concourse and get steps. Instant exercise, and no stress.
Worst or best airport experience.
INGRID: I love seeing my book in the airport bookstore. That never gets old.
HANK: SO great! But I have to say the worst: The time I was sitting at the wrong gate. Why? So tired. Because so may flights are so early in the morning, lots of the time I am sleep deprived. Luckily at one point groggy me thought, wow, aren’t they boarding? And yeah, they were. But not where I was. I made it. Barely.
INGRID: Yes! Eating on the road is challenging because you’re generally traveling or at an event. Sometimes I’ll order room service after an event when I can put my feet up and relax. I’ve also learned that even though it’s over-priced, a solid room service breakfast sets me up for a good day. Nobody wants a hangry author!
HANK: Oh, my gosh yes. Those tiny moments, by yourself, with a hamburger and salad and wine and the chocolate chip cookies I hoarded from Jet Blue, and watching Project Runway or Chopped. I’m not kidding—it is heaven.
INGRID: I don’t have any hotel secrets! Hank? You guys?
HANK: Got it from Rhys—take a photo of the room number so you don’t forget where you are. I usually use mnemonic devices like if I’m in room 117—well, that’s easy Jonathan’s birthday. Or 203? That would be February 3. Why is that easier? AH. It just is. PLUS: take the skim milk from the free breakfast and use it in your tea.
Worst or best hotel experience?
INGRID: I was getting ready to leave a very nice hotel in Texas, looking around and gathering my belongings, when I spotted a ginormous cockroach on the floor. I think it was dead, but I packed with the speed of Usain Bolt. I did not care if things were left behind!
HANK: Bug for me, too! I arrived at a hotel in some Midwest place, and there was a printed notice on the desk with a photo of a HUGE—I mean HUGE—bug. And it said—Dear Guests, I’s corn bug season. If you see one of these in your room, no problem, they are not dangerous. I thought—If I see one of those babies in my room, you will hear my shriek all the way to the lobby.
You won't believe what happened at one bookstore....
INGRID: …they hadn’t set up for the event. There was a mad dash when I arrived, which is always a great way to start a public appearance!
HANK: Very reassuring. Yeesh. Oh, mine was a two person event. They did not have my books., only hers. I had CALLED, to make sure. And was assured they’d have them. When I reminded them of the call, they said oh, we thought you were talking about HER books.
(Um, why would I be doing that?)
But! Later they asked me back for a huge event. So, all worth it.
Reading from your book--or not?
INGRID: I’m torn on this one, and obviously, I defer to the bookstore. I lean towards not reading and having more time to interact with readers.
HANK: Ah. I rarely do, unless specifically asked. I have seen it fail with others, I mean—miserably. But when it’s good, it’s terrific.
Best part of touring?
INGRID: Definitely meeting readers and bookstore people.
HANK: Oh, gosh, I agree. And I can confess to you, I count my blessings every second. How lucky we are to get to do this!
Where we'll see you next? Together in Framingham!
HANK: Ingrid’s coming to Boston! And I’ll be interviewing her at Barnes and Noble in Framingham at 7pm—oh, please come see us! I read DUPLICITY last week, and it is quite special, and truly riveting. And lots to talk about!
INGRID: So Reds—do you go to bookstore and library events? What do you think about authors reading? Any advice for touring authors? And authors, tell us your secrets!