Along with the she-boom of the book launch I caught up with many old and newly-made friends who led me into pubs, bookshops and restaurants. I walked in my plastic Gazel boots in the rain, with my trusty trench and a poor Japanese woollen scarf over my head which began to smell like a schoolbus on a wet day. In London it rains. I seriously reached the point of no return, where I accepted rain on my face, squiggly hair, more rain on my face, wet shoulders. Oh well. Had I been on a different mission I may have spent my pounds on clothes and shoes, or my time in museums and galleries, but alas, that was not to be. I bought a handful of paperbacks to take home and the rest was spent on Asian food and British alcohol. Brilliant that. The week sped along too quickly. (How lovely to meet Downith! What a wonderful afternoon!)
I went into many many bookshops. Before I left Italy I had my bookmarks printed, and thought it would be a good idea to leave some with bookshops around town. It worked! For anyone helping out with book promotion who likes to engage with people, it is the best way to put yourself out there and talk about your book. I made a lot of purchases I admit to get me in approaching-the-counter mood, and browsed and browsed and flipped through and read out the opening sentences of many other authors. In Italy I don't get nearly the same vibe or edgy excitement. One bookshop I stayed in for ages was about to close and I was politely asked if I wouldn't mind coming back the next morning. Another had a smashing bar up the top with a city panorama and lovely (raspberry) cocktails (awfully giggly afterwards with Emily, everything a lark). One had a squishy leather chair where I spent ages tossing up between two books, worried about my luggage allowance, as I rested my suffering feet. It was glorious. Plus after over-groomed, foulard-furled Italian men it was lovely to see some bookish delightfully messy samples from over the Channel. Men with heads in books. Mmmm.
But I digress. It seems Waterstones Piccadilly is ordering copies, so do pop in to your local branch if you are in the UK. Or to any independent-spirited bookshop elsewhere. I will soon post US and Australia publication dates. I've also started on promotion in Italy, given that the sunny weather brings English-speaking tourists into the streets and this country is full of wonderful expats. So far I have a reading event in Vicenza, near home, in the most elegant travel bookshop you could imagine. Heels and bells and looking swell. Anyone care to hand out some bookmarks for me in Venice or Milan? Rome or Florence?
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I have two new articles on The View from Here:
'Promoting a Modern Novel or Trying to Make Sense of the Universe' - an interview with independent authors Charlie Hill, Sue Johnson and Alison Lock www.theviewfromhere.com
**and an interview with short story writer Tania Hershman whose new book of fictions My Mother was an Upright Piano has just been published www.theviewfromhere.com
**I also have a guest post over at Talli Roland's called 'Living in Translation'