I’m not going to pretend I’ve got this whole writer thing figured out. But I have learned one lesson that I’m willing to impart: When you travel, see friends whenever possible. Not to swell the attendance at signings (although that’s always nice) but just because it enhances one’s sanity.
Last night in Ann Arbor, I enjoyed an embarrassment of riches – <a href=”http://bryonquertermous.blogspot.com/ “_blank”>Bryon</a> and <a href=”http://www.nancynall.com”>Nancy</a> both came to the signing (along with my former Sun colleague, Gady Epstein, here on a fellowship). Emily Fink, who works in publicity for William Morrow, joined us, too; she’s a local girl and has come home, in part, to accompany me on the first leg of this Midwestern trip. Better yet, the very personable folks at <a href=”http://www.nicolasbooks.com/”_blank”>Nicola’s Books</a> took us to a lovely dinner. Great company, great conversation.
Nancy and Bryon are both bloggers, as you’ll see if you follow the links above. In fact, Nancy and I met via her blog, and I think we are perpetually astonished anew by how much we have in common. Bryon is part of the “young people” movement in crime-writing, which I think is one of the most positive developments in years. There’s only one drawback: The prevalence of bright young things writing sharp, smart stuff makes me feel very old.
An interesting fact emerged at Nicola’s – many of the attendees had never read me before, but came to the event solely because the local newspaper reprinted the Janet Maslin review. There also was a very good review in the <a href=”http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070419/FEATURES05/704190357/1030″_blank”>Freep</a>, as the Detroit Free Press is sometimes known. (I also found out that Marilyn Stasio’s review will appear Sunday in the New York Times Book Review, and it’s very good, which is gratifying as she didn’t really like my first two stand-alones.)
To be candid – I’ve had good reviews before, but this book’s life has been extremely charmed on that front. So far. As the reviews continue to come in, I am reminded of Bob Colesberry, executive producer on the first two seasons of The Wire. The day after the New York premiere of the Season 2 opener, I was with Bob and the other producers on the train trip south to Baltimore. Bob read through the reviews, all raves, and said with genuine concern: “What are we going to do next year?”
Bob died, quite unexpectedly, during the pre-production phase of Season 3. The book I’m working on will be probably be dedicated to his memory. He was extremely important to my SO, as a colleague and a friend. I didn’t get to know him quite as well, but the glimpses I was afforded into Bob’s life always fascinated me. His career was practically a history of late 20th century film-making – Warhol, Toback, Scorsese, Levinson, Sayles, Ang Lee, Robert Benton. If you’ve seen Billy Bathgate, that’s Bob swimming in the long-shot, wearing a flesh-colored leotard and wig to pass for a nekkid Nicole Kidman. And if you’ve ever seen Fame and hummed along to “Hot Lunch” – Bob wrote those lyrics. “What are we going to do next year?” was a quintessential Colesberry moment. He is missed.