This book tour has been wild. It started with a week in Berlin, and then we hit London like drunken teenagers hitting Cancun for Spring Break. But without the umbrella drinks. Interviews with Yahoo.com, the BBC, Simon Mayo, Angie Greaves, and many more. I’ve signed at least 1,200 books. I’m not kidding. 500 of those were upcoming SHIFT special editions. The rest were huge pallets of book stock. I’d sign 1,200 more if they put them in front of me.
Today was the icing on the cake (not that we’re done by any stretch). I got up a little before 5 this morning, wrote a bit, grabbed my coat, and took a cab to Heathrow for an 8:00 flight. We landed in Dublin and were joined by Vivian, our chauffer extraordinaire. What followed would have to be seen to be believed. Seriously. I would tell you that it was impossible, except that we did it.
Less of my creepy mug staring out at you, eh? We are less than two weeks away from the Stateside release. Man, I can’t believe it’s coming up that fast. A few more days in the UK, and then I’ll be home with the family for 48 hours or so before hitting the road again. I keep telling myself to soak up this experience; it isn’t every day you go on a world book tour. It may never happen for me again!
It’s been nearly one year since my Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything). The timing is amazing. On March 13th, I put up an AMA entitled: “I’m a self-published author, and I just quit my day job.” I had no idea what to expect. It ended up being one of the more incredible days of my writing life.
The AMA was voted up to the #2 spot on Reddit, and hundreds of questions poured in. This was long before Ridley Scott and the Random House UK deal. It was back when I doubted whether or not I’d be able to write full-time for a year or just a few more months. I was terrified and excited, and the Redditers were incredibly generous to me. I spent the entire day pecking back replies and trying to keep up.
On March 12th, the print version of WOOL hits U.S. bookstores. Just under a year to the day since the AMA (or better: exactly one elapsed year). There’s no way I could have imagined all that would happen within those 365 days, which is why I’m planning another AMA. I’ll be on the road for the book tour, but I think I can still make it work. I feel like it would be an amazing set of bookends for the past year, a way to reflect, and a chance to answer questions and dole out any crumb of wisdom I may have picked up along the way.
My first international Meet-Up! Enough Londoners have asked for one, so we’re putting something together. It’ll be Sunday night, March 3rd. The location has yet to be determined, but it’ll be that night somewhere in London, so clear your schedule. And start rounding people up. I want this to be the best Meet-Up yet (my editor will be there, and I’d hate to disappoint him).
Update: My official book signing will be at the Piccadilly Waterstones on Thursday at 2:00. I might be doing something there at 1:00 as well. I would call them ahead of time to make sure. Now tell everyone you know in London to be there — and to get out and buy a book!
…because I have a new metropolitan love affair. Berlin is amazing. It’s hip, vibrant, easy to get around, and just drop-dead gorgeous. I had last night and all day today free, and I really made the most of it. Spent last night seeing the remnants of the wall, Checkpoint Charlie, and the Wall museum, then walked through old East Berlin, which reminded me of the East Village in NY. Awesome little shops, cafes, bars, bakeries. There’s even a bookstore that ONLY sells science fiction and fantasy. My heart fluttered.
At night, the city absolutely glows. And while you can disappear underground in the U-Bahn, it’s the S-Bahn that makes this a city like no other. For much of its stretch, these aboveground trains glide through the city a few meters above the streets. The stations are huge glass domes, so even when you stop “inside” you are still “outside.” Museums fly by just a few paces away. Old buildings and new buildings. Snowy streets. Rivers. Berlin is extremely spread out, which makes it feel uncrowded, and yet it’s a cinch to get around.
Well, today was a blast. Four interviews in Berlin. The first was with an Austrian TV channel. I stood in front of a camera with bright lights aimed at me, a red microphone held a few inches from my face, and answered a string of questions. Interestingly, my answers are going to be dubbed over with a German voice rather than subtitled. It’s what they do here. I asked for someone husky with a touch of Bavarian. The assistant made a note of this.
I also had to walk down a hallway and make a turn without looking at the camera. Not once. This is harder than it sounds. A naked woman would’ve been easier to ignore. I concentrated on forcing my arms to swing opposite my legs, as walking gets tricky when you’re on camera. I’m proud to report the job of walking was done with a single take. They said I’m a natural. I didn’t tell them how late I was at walking or being potty trained.
I thought I should post this here for the mad collectors among you. Goldsboro Books has just announced a signed, numbered limited edition run of slipcase hardbacks for SHIFT (500 copies). I get emails asking about the WOOL limited edition they did, which sold out all 500 copies in 2 days. I hate that anyone gets left out of these things, so I’m announcing this as soon as I heard about it for those of you who check in here all the time.
My first sight of Germany comes as the pilot banks hard over Berlin. We’ve been in the air for just over nine hours, with nothing but the Atlantic and clouds below. And suddenly there’s a stark white landscape with buildings sticking up out of a dusting of fresh snow. I’ve gone from 80 degrees in South Florida to below freezing in Berlin, and I couldn’t be happier.
I’m met at the airport by my cultural attache. Okay . . . it’s a woman driving a taxi, and she’s not really there for me; she’s there for any fare. But the fates have placed us together, me and this woman with copious amounts of makeup over her wrinkles and other signs of heavy wear. She looks rough, but her rearview mirror is full of smiles. And her taste in music is impeccable.
The entire way to the hotel, she blasts American rock. The first song out of the gate, I shit you not, is Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall. As soon as it comes on, the cab driver says “Good” and cranks the knob (well, she taps the volume button on her phone, which is strapped to the dash — but there’s no tapping of buttons in rock and roll, there’s the cranking of knobs). We dart through traffic and drifting snow and bang our heads and sing much too loudly, feeding off each other’s inability to carry a tune, and I’m thinking how damn perfect this song is for an introduction to Berlin.
I landed in snowy Berlin today. Or tomorrow. It’s hard to tell when it is, exactly. I haven’t had jetlag this bad before.
I’ve had a few emails asking if I’ll be doing any signings in Germany. Unfortunately, the book is not yet out, so this will be a visit for interviews and a chance to meet everyone at Piper, my awesome German publisher. Hard to sign books that aren’t available yet.