Kate Flora here, reporting in from the road. October is shaping up to be a totally crazy month. In an effort to get out there and promote my new books, I’ve scheduled a lot of events. Like me, half of them are in Maine, the other half in Massachusetts. I’ve gotten to the point where when people ask where I live, I respond, “In my car.”
All of this is complicated by the fact that I just had surgery on my leg, and according to the “powers that be” I am supposed to stay still and keep it elevated. Not easy to do when I’m in fine bookstores and libraries everywhere. When I’m home, my already awful typing is made considerably worse by having to type while lying on my back with my leg propped up on a heap of pillows. I offer this as an apology to anyone who has recently read anything I’ve written. Between the letters worn off half my laptop keys and balancing all of this on my belly, I am NOT communicating as effectively as I’d like.
But I am having a very good time. Some of the events, like this past Tuesday night at the Curtis Library in Brunswick http://www.curtislibrary.com, have been solo events. This was a return trip to Curtis, where the amazing Carol Briggs puts a fabulous mystery writers series together every autumn. There is an audience. A TV camera, and cookies to die for. And I get a chance to talk at length about the writing process and what it’s like to launch a true story after working on it for five years. Book talks at Curtis are always like being in a room full of friends. I come away feeling like it has been a conversation.
Some of the best times are when I get to do events with other writers. Around 1993, at the urging of a woman I met at a conference, I joined an organization called Sisters in Crime. It was a decision which has enhanced my life for more than two decades. In New England, we have a very strong chapter, and one of the things our chapter does best is run a Speakers’ Bureau http://www.sincne.org, sending panels of authors to speak at libraries and organizations throughout New England. Okay. So when I call this post ‘The Pleasure of Your Company’ I am speaking about both sides of the table. There are the amazing readers whocome to libraries to hear writers talk about what we do. And there are my sister writers on the speakers’ side of the table who share their stories.
This means that even as I’m in a library trying to sell an audience–you–on my new books, I am also getting to hear about the perspectives, stories, and research of other writers. And I am just as fascinated as anyone in the audience.
Last week I was in Wakefield, Massachusetts with Arlene Kaye http://arlenekay.com, who writes romantic suspense,
Coralie Jensen http://coraliehjensen.com, who writes historicals and lovely mysteries set in Italy, and Clea Simon, who writes cozies with a touch of the supernatural. We do the same thing, and we do it very differently, and the conversation was rich as a result. Last night I was at a marvelously funky and generous bookstore called the New England Mobile Book Fair http://www.nebookfair.com, in Newton, Massachusetts with two writers so prolific they scare me. Sheila Connolly http://sheilaconnolly.com currently writes three mystery series, one involving an apple orchard, one museums in Phildelphia, and a third set in Ireland, and she does at least one book in each series a year (and that doesn’t count the paranormal e–books). Clea Simon http://cleasimon.com writes two series, both with cats and both with a touch of the paranormal, and about a book and a half in each series per year. It’s a prodigious output, and yet they are calm and poised and delightful. And I tell them it took me five years to write Death Dealer.
So. I am not done. I will be at bookstores in Maine and Massachusetts again next week. And the week after. And then there is a brief vacation on the horizon, and on to the New England Crime Bake. Planning for next year’s Maine Crime Wave has begun.
Crazy? Perhaps. But when you write books with colleagues who are this congenial, when you get to visit libraries and bookstores this welcoming, and when you get to speak to readers who genuinely care about authors and writing, what could be better.
Perhaps I’ll have the pleasure of your company at an upcoming event? The Concord Festival of Authors? Longfellow Books? Check my website to see where I’ll be next.
p.s. Aren’t you curious about the stuffed German Shepherd?