Oy, I haven't had a chance to post the second half of the pre-pub tour yet! The first two stops -- Chicago and New York -- are covered here and here. From there it was to the West Coast, and more fun wonderful book people, starting with San Francisco!
So, we arrived at the hotel, which was just a block or so off Union Square Park, the heart of downtown San Francisco, and as I had a couple of hours before dinner, I thought I'd go walk around, take some pictures. Well. I had forgotten the WIND. I lived in the Bay Area for ten years, went to college across the bay in Berkeley, spent a fair amount of time in San Francisco, but I'd forgotten. The wind about knocked me off my feet. I had the problem of needing both hands to hold my dress down, and both hands to hold my hair down, and I was two hands short. Forget taking pictures! I managed a few comical blocks of dress-holding, and then gave up and went back to the hotel for a glass of wine before the booksellers and librarians arrived.
We were at the Grand Cafe, which is a beautiful big French restaurant actually adjoining our hotel, and they'd put us in the Peacock Terrace -- look, peacock! --
Up a sweeping flight of stairs ...
With a view overlooking the restaurant ...
And curious statues here and there ...
Feathers and wishbones ...
And booksellers and librarians!
And coq au vin, yom yom.
So, oh! Do you remember how I said The Game of Thrones came up at every single gathering of the tour, as this was the release week of the biggest book of the year, and these were book people? Well, it was in San Francisco that the BEST THING happened. I want to get a T-shirt made that says:
BOOKSELLERS ARE MY NINJAS.
No one will get it, but that's okay. They can ask me, I'll tell them the story. Or maybe I won't. Maybe I'll snap, "Mind your own business, man!" You never know.
So. It was at dinner in San Francisco that I happened to mention that I had finished A Storm of Swords on the flight that morning and did not have A Feast for Crows for the flight the following morning. I did not have a book AT ALL. Nevermind that the flight is like one hour, this struck HORROR into the hearts of the assembled bookfolk.
It was Antonia Squire of Kepler's who sprang into action. You guys, she was like some CIA agent in 24 or something. Stone-cold, in a snap she conducted an assessment. "Whose store is nearest. Is it still open? Call them." And the fingers were flying on the phones and before I knew what was happening, right in the middle of DESSERT, the ninjas were GOING TO GET ME THE BOOK.
Here is Antonia on the left, and Amanda Hall, also of Keplers', in the middle.
They raced out the door, down the long sweep of stairs, and out into the night. I later learned that they drove up onto the curb in front of Books Inc in Opera Plaza, where Shannon Grant had called ahead to have someone waiting outside with the book. Total action movie stuff. Antonia did not return, leading me to believe she had other capers to pull that night.
But Amanda came back with the book! YAY! A bookless hour was averted!
That was awesome. Thank you :-)
Whew. Aaaand from there it was on to Seattle, the last of four cities, for one whirlwind day that involved lunch with some folks from Amazon, including Seira Wilson, the Children's Book Editor, who afterwards interviewed me for Daughter's Amazon page. Look at us, in grey with our cute red shoes ...
So I got to see Amazon HQ, at least a little bit, and it seemed very Seattle, very hip and casual and creative and coffee-fueled. It's such a massive entity, Amazon, it was cool to see into the real thing, the people who make it what it is, and see that they are bookfolk like the rest of us, just operating on a different scale and platform, and so nice. Crossing my fingers the interview is okay!
And then, the evening was dinner in Ballard with booksellers and librarians, in this cool event space belonging to Volterra Restaurant, right off the Ballard main drag.
Dinner was family-style, which was fun, these completely delish ravioli, for one:
Thank you so much to the lovely Lisa Sabater, publicist at Little Brown, for accompanying me and organizing everything and being such great company! I'll see you in September for the long haul ... :-)