the tour, continued….

In Blog

Okay, so I’m writing this blog post from the back of a car, as I’m being driven to the airport to fly to Nebraska. It feels so productive and business-y! If I start to feel carsick, though, I’m stopping.

There is no other word for the last two nights of readings than AWESOME. Seriously. First, on Monday night, I got to go to one my favorite hometown bookstores, Quail Ridge in Raleigh. I have such love for this store for many reasons, but especially because they were one of the ONLY stores that agreed to host me way back in 1996 when my first book came out. I was a twenty-six year old waitress with a first novel and a press packet I’d made myself at Kinko’s. Some of the local establishments looked at me like I was crazy, but not Quail Ridge. They have ALWAYS supported local authors and it’s been crazy cool to see the crowds go from, like, my mother-in-law and friends and a few QR employees to this:

Like I said: AWESOME. I brought some t-shirts and water bottles and, I have to say, the HARDEST trivia question I could come up with. Here it is: In That Summer, Haven goes to the mall with her sister Ashley and her boyfriend, Sumner, who gets recruited to do a local commercial. There’s a specific tagline in it that makes him locally famous. What is the tagline?

Do you know? I expected NO ONE to. But a girl named Carissa stuck her hand up right away: boom! She got it! I was blown away. (And I’ll include the correct answer below, in case you’re curious.)

Anyway, it was tons of fun. Then it was home, where I grabbed about five hours of sleep (I know) then off to the airport again. I cried, my daughter cried. My husband sighed and told us both to just calm down. Book tour is fun, but leaving your kid: NOT easy. I slept the entire way to Chicago, then went for a quick shopping trip into Naperville to get a much needed manicure. I ate at a restaurant called Hugo’s Frog Bar and Fish House. Also, the restaurant at my hotel was called Sugar Frog. Is there a frog theme in Naperville? I have to wonder. Maybe it’s just a coincidence?

Then it was off to Anderson’s, which was PACKED. I snuck this shot before I started speaking. As my dear friend Courtney (hey Courtney, miss you!) would say, Holy pajamas:

Thanks to EVERYONE who came out and was so patient in waiting in what turned out to be a very long signing line. People were so cheerful, though! And they brought me retractable sharpies, drawings of the book cover, sweet notes and so much other cool stuff. I swear, I wish I could bottle all these kind words and goodwill for later, like maybe one of the days my kid is throwing a tantrum and the dogs will NOT stop barking and nobody’s happy with me. I need, like, a good-vibe bank or something.

I have to say, in general, I’ve been so moved by how nice and supportive everyone has been on the tour so far. The bookstore folks, the media escorts, but especially all you readers (and your parents and boyfriends, who often do the driving and waiting along with you). I want you all to know I take NONE of this for granted, as I remember well those early Kinko-packet, empty-chairs days. I want to say a special thank you to Megan, who came to the Regulator on launch day and gave me the SWEETEST card with a picture of UNC’s Manning Hall on it. (Yes, you, Megan!) You didn’t give me an email so I have to thank you here for your sweet words. I so, so appreciated them.

Okay, enough gushing. Today, I am off to Nebraska, where I am doing a reading for The Bookworm at the Millard Branch Library in Omaha, at 7pm. I will bring my Sharpies and hope you will come out and say hello.

Finally, I just have to share this because it, like, totally blew my mind. In my hotel in Naperville, there was a TV IN THE BATHROOM MIRROR. I mean, that’s some serious Jetson’s stuff right there. Look:

I know, right? Craziness. Maybe it has to do with the frogs?

Have a good day, everyone!!

(Answer to That Summer trivia question: “This is the best cheese I have ever eaten!”)