Preparing for a date with my fans

That’s what it feels like with my upcoming book signing and reading at Monigram in Cambridge: a date with my fans. I have to admit I both love and loathe doing these things. I loathe these events because I’m basically an introvert, a recluse by nature, someone who enjoys solitude and my own company. (Thank goodness I married a man who understands that!) But I also really like being part of a gathering of like-minded people, sharing experience and craft, discussing our mutual passion for the worlds and characters embedded in fiction.

CalibanSo here I am on the Monday before my launch for Caliban, futzing away at bookkeeping, the usual explosion of first-of-week correspondence, and now turning my energy to communicating with you via this blog.

What do I expect to happen at the launch? Well, for starters, I expect you to show up! (I’m laughing here.) I mean, what good is a launch without people to share it with? It’s like preparing for a date and then being stood-up.

But beyond that, I have no expectations. Having done quite a number of these sorts of things, I’m cognizant of the fact a launch is a bit of a crap-shoot. I remember that first launch I ever had, back in the early ’90s. It was for the travel guide Gary and I had published by Boston Mills Press, The Giant’s Rib: A Guide to the Niagara Escarpment. I was pretty green in those days, had no idea what to do, or not to do, by way of marketing. I naively thought any promotion would be undertaken by our publisher. In fact, I had no idea our book had even been released until I received a call from Ellen Tilson, one of the partners (now sadly deceased) at BookLore in Orangeville. Ellen, for whom I’d always had great respect, asked if Gary and I were undertaking a launch for this wonderful new book now on her store’s shelves. No, says I. Well, says she, we’d love to have your launch here.

Wow! That was exciting! And in a few weeks Ellen had sent out invitations to BookLore’s rather substantial patronage, advertised the event, and come the evening of the launch Gary and I were astonished to find ourselves in a store which was filled to overflowing with people come to celebrate the publication of our book. It was an evening I won’t soon forget, filled with laughter and scintillating conversation. BookLore all but sold out of copies of our book, and those few which were left Ellen asked us to sign. In the subsequent months we were called in to sign several more cases.

The stuff of which dreams are made.

Since then I’ve done readings and signings for Stonehouse Cooks, Shadow Song, And the Angels Sang, and From Mountains of Ice at Chapters, Indigo and Smith books across Ontario, at libraries and museums. I’ve enjoyed every single one.

And this Saturday, March 10, 6:30 p.m., I hope you’ll be able to join me at Monigram in Cambridge. My dear and amazing son, Adam Stephens, will MC the evening. I’ll read from Caliban, open the floor to discussion, and sign the copies you purchase. There will be nibblies, tea and coffee, a great atmosphere. And you never know what remarkable things might happen in the course of the gathering.

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