I’m still processing the last two weeks, so this post might be scattered.
I’ll start in Bologna, where I had dinner in a restored medieval tower with my editors / publishers from Italy, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Finland, and Spain (both Castillan and Catalan), not to mention my wonderful agents and scouts from all over Europe. The dinner took place on the middle floors of the tower, but beforehand, we climbed up the steep (and I think it would be fair to say perilous) steps (and, closer to the top, ladders) to the roof, for a toast. The view of Bologna at night from the roof of the Torre Prendiparte was just… well, let’s just say that I started to cry. I simply could not believe that I was on top of this beautiful tower looking out at this beautiful city with all of these beautiful people.
A knight accompanied me to my press conference and stood behind me the entire time. I’ve never felt so safe in my life. I almost wished someone would try to rob me just to see what would happen. I hope to post photos soon.
I did SO MANY INTERVIEWS! The Italian press is very impressive. (No pun intended.) My Italian editor Beniamino, who is a darling, translated like a champ all week long. By the 5th or 6th interview, I’m not even sure he needed me there anymore, because he knew all my answers. De Agostini, in general, made Bologna a wonderful experience for me, as did my Paris agent, Lora. Can I say thanks one more time? :o)
Later in the week, I got to meet my Brazilian editor, and then my U.K. editor showed up and we played! yAt!
Also, the German edition (out next fall) is going to have one of those ribbon bookmarks. This makes me happy.
Also, the Italian edition is out (I saw it in stores before I left), and so are the Spanish (Castillan), Catalan, and Dutch editions. The cover I’m using for this post is the Catalan cover. I used the small version just for space considerations, but if you click on it, I think you can see a bigger version.
I had the immense pleasure of spending some time with Melina Marchetta, who is as wonderful as her books.
After Bologna, I flew to New York, only missing one plane (I’ve mentioned before how I feel about Delta). Sigh… I ♥ New York. I met a gazillion wonderful people at Penguin; I got to hang out with my agent and my editor AND a very handsome young chappy, secret code name: Cutie, who didn’t talk much, probably because of the pacifier in his mouth; I went to dinner and met more lovely people….
The Penguin Fire ARCs are beautiful. The cover is metallic and shiny!
I had a rough patch on Tuesday morning, when I was being driven from Manhattan to Greenwich, CT for the Penguin sales conference, where I was scheduled to give a speech. I think the long days of travel and of so much EXCITEMENT finally hit me and combined with my tendency toward car sickness and my terrible nerves about speechmaking. I was pretty green; I wouldn’t be surprised if the driver began to worry about his upholstery. It was one of those times when you just keep counting down the minutes, and every minute that passes is one more minute in which you have successfully not thrown up, which feels like the world’s greatest achievement.
Finally, the silliest thing comforted me and made my nerves and nausea go away. I noticed we were driving on I-95. It takes a certain level of jet-lagged exhaustion to make a person start to feel sentimental about an interstate highway, but the thing is, I-95 isn’t just an interstate. It’s a ribbon that connects not all, but many, of the important people in my life. My sisters, my parents, other family members, and a lot of friends are part of the I-95 ribbon, from Massachusetts down through New York and Philly, all the way to my Great-Aunt Marnie, who lives just beyond the end of I-95 in the Florida Keys. And all of those people love me, and I love them, and they all know what it’s like to be tired, overwhelmed, and a little bit scared.
I cannot tell you what a comfort that was to me. And I just want all of my friends and family, even the ones not on the I-95 corridor :o), to know that I was holding on to you on Tuesday, and you gave me courage.
Anyway, it was just a speech — you’d think, from the way I’m talking, that I was being driven to my own execution or something ^_^. The speech turned out to be a lot of fun to give! It was a very kind crowd. I ♥ book people.
So, this is a post about people. It’s a thank you note and a love letter to all the friends I’ve always had, and all the new friends I’ve made.
On Tuesday night, my sister, secret code name: Cordelia, and my outlaw brother-in-law, secret code name: Joe, picked me up at the airport. All four of them. Cordelia happens to be pregnant — with twins! They drove me home through a torrential rainstorm. On I-95, of course. :o)
When I got home, two new young trees had been planted in my front yard.
Life is good.