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Entries in Book Tour (21)


Thank you SoCal! Next up: Kansas City, St. Louis, and a my quest for BBQ

Wow. Had an amazing time in Southern California and not just because a blizzard hit as I was leaving Montana (okay, that was part of it). The crowds were lovely, the readers intrepid, and the libraries and bookstores outstanding as always. Thank you!

I even got a little extra press after I left, which is always nice. (Warning: selfie included)

Now I'm facing a quandary as I somehow got double booked and am holding two plane tickets: one for Montana, the other for Kansas City. I should go to Kansas, but home is calling. It's like my life has become one of those Choose Your Own Adventure books.

I guess I'll go to Kansas, as requested. Because BBQ!


So, what's a book tour really like?

Ahhh...can you hear that? It's the sound of a happy heart as I'm back in my home office, unshaven, wearing unmatched socks, dogs lazily snoring at my feet while my coffee cools down. Home. It has a nice ring to it.

I wrapped up my last two stops in Minneapolis, where we packed 110 people into The Bookcase in Wayzata and where we spent the night in a lake-house designed by one of Frank Lloyd Wright's protogees.

Then it was off to Portlandia for Wordstock where our accommodations were the polar opposite in the embodiment of a hipster motel. If I were younger, single, and possibly on heroin, I would have loved the place. As is, I wrote "Liberate tuteme ex Inferis!" on our door which also doubled as a chalkboard. I'll let you figure out the Latin. Wordstock on the other hand was paradisius. 

Now that I'm home for a few days before I head out on the back nine of the Willow Frost Tour, I thought I'd answer the question, "What's a book tour really like?" With that in mind, here's a typical day:

7:00 AM - Wake up in Chicago, eat a light breakfast. Not too much since I don't want to be burping on the mic for my morning interview. Leave 90 minutes early to battle traffic en route to the studio.

9:00 AM - In-studio interview at WGN. Sign in with the security desk, find my way to the 7th floor. Great interview since the host has read the book. (Yay!) Leave for another 90 minute drive to a country club where a local bookstore is hosting a luncheon. I'm dressed up, slap on a tie since I don't know the dress code.

11:30 AM - Arrive at the club. Nibble on my salad. Talk story for about 20 minutes, read two pages, answer questions, sign books, take photos, chat with readers and express my sincere gratitude to the bookstore for putting on a great event. (Thank you!) Steal a cookie on the way out.

2:00 PM - Back to where we're staying (with friends). Usually we're at a hotel but this time we opted for the comforts of almost-home with Luis & Cindy Urrea. I answer emails, a Q&A from a newspaper, confirm more interviews for later in the week.

3:00 PM - Speaking of interviews, I have one more, a phone-in from a radio station in Oregon. I pace around nervously in my socks, wondering if I have time for a nap.

4:00 PM - Nap. I zzzzzzz...for 45 minutes.

5:15 PM - Out the door again for another 90 minute trek through rush-hour traffic. (Did I mention that Chicago is a sprawling place?)

7:00 PM - We arrive at the Evergreen Park Library just in time. 90 people pack into a tiny room. Just enough chairs. Everyone is happy. (I love libraries!) I give a different talk, this one about how I met my wife at the public library. I personalize books while taking questions from an intrepid student writing for his high school paper. He asks for a quote without actually asking a question. I babble for a bit.

10:30 PM - My head hits the pillow. I ignore emails. I ignore Candy Crush, Words With Friends, and the book I'm reading for a writer friend. I set my alarm for 6:30 AM and wonder what the next city will be like.

(Next up...the Montana Festival of the Book, Litquake in San Francisco, back to Portlandia and Powell's City of Books. I'll wave my wings as I fly overhead).


Warwick's Books: La Jolla, CA

Wednesday's are BIG days in the publishing world. That's when Bookscan reports sales and the subsequent bestseller lists are updated. So it was a joyous moment between LA and San Diego when my agent informed me that Songs of Willow Frost will debut this weekend at #11 on the NYT bestseller list. Also at #14 on Indiebound's bestseller list. And #70 according to USA Today (who combines fiction, non-fiction, young adult books, children's books, into one ginormous list).

But best of all, after a busy morning of interviews I had an enthusiastic crowd of book lovers at Warwick's Books.

Plus we got to hang out afterward with fellow author, Margaret Dilloway and her hubby. (Ear-splitting karaoke was involved. That's all I can divulge).


Vroman's Bookstore: Pasadena, CA

I woke up to a foggy LA sunrise. I wasn't sure if it was fog actually, maybe smog, or maybe Mötley Crüe just wrapped up an all-night set and the smoke machines were on overdrive.

Either way, it's been a busy day in Los Angeles filled with interviews, a quick photoshoot, stock signings, and a lovely evening event at Vroman's.

Two more interviews tomorrow, then off to La Jolla and Warwick's Books.

In other news (quite literally), here's yours truly in the pages of USA Today. And also a snippit in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Okay, time for a little room service and then sleepapalooza.