Friday, October 15, 2010

Book touring

I'm still on book tour, in Minneapolis now. During a Noyce Foundation meeting in California, I did a reading at Kepler's, a great bookstore in Palo Alto; now I've stopped in Minneapolis for a five-day stay on the way home.

At Kepler's, extended family and foundation friends did a great job of getting the word out. I gave a short talk and readto a group of forty friendly faces (this sentence is becoming worth of Mr. Garrulity), and Kepler's sold thirty books and ordered more.

I came to Minneapolis in part to do a live interview on KFAI radio for a show called "Write On!" where I was intervewed by Charlotte Sullivan. Ironically, Charlotte ended up being busy the night of the show, so we taped a phone interview ahead of time. Maybe her engineers edited out all the times I said "um," because the interview came out sounding very smooth and comfortable. I believe you can find the interview here. The first half hour is an interview with noted science fiction and cyberpnk writer William Gibson, though he comes off as rather distracted.

My second task in Minneapolis is to work with editor and consultant Ian Leask, a deep reader and astute literary tactician. He's helping me get over the last hump with my new book, a mythic coming-of-age novel called The Beechwood Flute. The work is intense and exhilarating enough to wake me at four in the morning full of ideas.

Finally, I'm doing three more readings in Minneapolis. Last night about seven people came and I sold four books, but it was fun, and I signed another pile while talking to the event organizer. I have two more events Saturday before returing home Sunday.

A highlight of the trip has been connecting with old friends, including a group of my fellow residents in internal medicine. Twenty-five years ago we spent three years together learning medicine and fighting daily to save and heal a long line of decent, brave, very sick patients. We were exhausted and stressed but living with a sense of burning purpose. One of them almost died the first year, when he fell asleep at the wheel after a particularly grueling night on call. To see them again has been wonderful.

I'm learning that it's definitely true that traveling for book signings is definitely not likely to be "worth it" financially, but it's worth it in terms of connecting with old friends and stimulating new ideas.

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