I’ve been far away from
Provence this past week, and from the blog world for that matter – having the most wonderful time in . Book-related matters dominated with the huge Book Expo New York book fair. America
The hotel was a few minutes away from Saks and the
. The Stars and Stripes fluttered from every flagpole in readiness for Memorial Day weekend; sailors in pristine whites roamed around like modern day Sinatra’s and Kelly’s in On The Town. I hadn’t expected the trademark Rockefeller Center wit to be in such full flow all around, or the sky-high levels of friendliness to match the soaring towers. New York
The first night there was a party at The Park down by the water in Chelsea, given by HarperCollins where I was introduced, among others, to some of the loveliest lady librarians anyone could hope to meet. Then it was off - in another shiny black limo, natch – to dinner with my fabulous literary agent Stephanie Cabot, and to toast the night, exactly a year ago, that this dream scenario began with the sale of the manuscript.
The next day I was signing galley copies of The Lantern at BEA, trying to master the art of talking and writing at the same time while meeting booksellers, avid readers and many more lovely librarians. It was exciting and frenetic – like being in the centre of a whirlpool. We had to close the line because we ran out of books but these early copies have been so beautifully produced it’s not surprising they were in demand. Also, something of a collector’s item as the cover is being changed for the main edition, as it is in the
It’s only fitting that I pay tribute here to my American editor, Jennifer Barth. It has been an absolute joy to work with her, and she has taken such infinite care with this book. Huge thanks too to everyone at HC that I’ve been working with – many of whom I met in person for the first time on this trip – especially Mark Ferguson, Jason Sack and the scintillating Katherine Beitner, publicist extraordinare. At The Gernert Company, the literary agency, I met David Gernert and the team working with Stephanie for my book: Rebecca Gardner, Will Roberts and Anna Worrell.
That evening, after emerging shell-shocked from the BEA signing at the vast Javits Center, I went down to East Village where the very funny and laconic British author Helen Smith was reading excerpts from her work as part of a Guerrilla Lit performance with other writers at Bar on A. She kicked off with the opening of her novel Alison Wonderland, a new edition of which is published in August, and had us all hooked right from the start. Have a look at the video of her on her blog, linked here, reading her short story Aubergine. I challenge you not to laugh out loud!
Another night, I met up with my friend from university days, the musician and jazz vocalist Alexandra Frederick. Alex took us from live jazz in
Greenwich Village and dinner, to the amazing piano cabaret of Mr “Chicken Delicious” the artist formerly known as Hunter Blue at Mimi’s Piano Bar and Restaurant. I simply can’t resist reliving and sharing some memorable moments there…
Then, when Alex was invited to play and sing, she obliged with a short set that culminated in a superb rendition of Billy Joel’s New York State of Mind. It was just perfect.