Saturday, October 01, 2005

As Le Beau Frère says, "If you're a pessimist, you'll never be disappointed."

Not that I was pessimistic about tonight's book event, but two days in New York had kind of ground me down. Claustrophobia. Tall buildings creating sunless canyons, with cold winds blowing through them to chill the bones.

And all that aggression and anger. It's not good for the psyche.

But the second last presentation of the tour, at Partners & Crime in Greenwich Village, went like a dream. Kiz, one of the partners, told me that people had been calling all week. We had a great turnout. One lady had pursued me across America, having first heard about the book at the M is for Mystery bookstore in San Mateo, California. Another, Lisa Richland, has been corresponding with me for several years. She is the librarian in Greenport, a small town at the far end of Long Island. A great fan of the China series, she bought all the books for her library, and made the trip into New York to meet me for the first time. Bobby had been chasing me all around New York, buying books as she went. At Partners & Crime, she bought another half dozen, and got me to sign them all.

Another lady, Linda Peng, was on our writing course in St. Céré at the beginning of September. Ethnic Chinese, she was raised in New York, and had a special interest in the books, as she is embarking on the writing of her Chinese family history. I wish her well.

Earlier I met with my New York literary agent, Emma Sweeney of Harold Ober Associates. I gave her a couple of manuscripts, and a pitch for "One for Sorrow". She was seriously enamoured of the idea, and is taking the manuscript home to read this weekend.

We discussed whether or not St. Martin's Press might buy the rest of the China Thrillers series. She said it was entirely down to numbers. If we sold more than two-and-a-half thousand of the hardbacks, she thought that the publisher would go for the others. She was quietly confident, since I have personally signed more than a thousand during the tour.

Afterwards, La Patronne and I had lunch with my editor at St. Martin's Press, Ruth Cavin. Ruth is the most delightful lady. She is eighty-seven years old, the doyenne of American crime editors, and still going strong. She has a sharp eye, and an unerring instinct. She, too, was optimistic about the prospects of the company buying into the rest of the series.

I told her, also, about "One for Sorrow", and she was anxious to read it. She felt that a book set in France which could be described as a "thinking man (or woman)'s thriller" would go down well in the US.

I can only hope so. I am anxious to breathe fresh life into my character, Enzo Macleod, in the second book of the series.

The one black spot of the day was Le Beau Frère's brush with the law. He turned right into Madison Avenue, when a barely visible sign forbade it. Unfortunately a police officer was there to witness it, and deduct two points from his licence. Bummer!

The bright spot was the book event itself, followed by another meal with Susie, Barbara and Mike, who insisted that since we were visitors to New York we should be their guests.

Since they are coming to spend Thanksgiving in France, at least I have the opportunity to repay their kindness.

And now to bed, for we rise early tomorrow - 6am - for the journey to Boston, and a book event in Cambridge at four o'clock. It will be my last event of the tour. I can scarcely believe it.

Like the long distance runner, I have simply put my head down and kept going. But now, daring to look up, I see the finish line ahead of me and feel my legs buckle. Must keep going. One more day.

And then it's all over.

PS: Gary and Ellen, a big thanks for the apartment. It was FANTASTIC!

Signing at Partners & Crime, New York City

Talking to Linda Peng

With Kiz of Partners & Crime

No comments: