Sunday, 29 May 2011

New York: books and jazz


I’ve been far away from Provence this past week, and from the blog world for that matter – having the most wonderful time in New York. Book-related matters dominated with the huge Book Expo America book fair.

The hotel was a few minutes away from Saks and the Rockefeller Center. 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 New York wit to be in such full flow all around, or the sky-high levels of friendliness to match the soaring towers.

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 UK.

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.

17 comments:

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Deborah:
This all sounds so very exciting and what a wonderful time you have clearly had in New York. The world of publishing is such an interesting one, and one where one gets to meet all manner of engaging and fascinating people.

New York is high on our list of places to visit; this post of yours today has confirmed our wish to go there. Soon!

khashway said...

I'm so jealous! I'm dying to go to BEA. Thanks for sharing your experience so those of us who weren't there can live vicariously through you. :)

~dawn said...

NYC - Exhilarating!!
Imagine you did not make it over to Minnesota!!?
I trust the tour went well and "The Lantern" will sell famously here and there!!
~d

Miel et Lait said...

I *wish* I had known! I was THERE! We could've met for all of 4 seconds and I would've gotten a review copy! Grr. Maybe next time!

James Kiester said...

That's wonderful. :-)

My SINFONIA said...

Hey Deborah, congrats on such a successful soft launch?? of your book and obviously a wonderful time in NY as well! Hurrah!

Spangle said...

Wow what an amazing few days you have had! Congratulations on the launch of your book, I hope it does well.

Helen Smith said...

Deborah - it was such a wonderful surprise to see you at my reading in New York. Good luck with your book - it sounds like it had a great reception.

bookspersonally said...

Deborah, it sounds like a wonderful week, and so exciting your galley copies are out! Congratulations and so glad it was a success.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

How fun! I was at BEA as well and did not get a chance to meet you. So many things to do - so little time right?

Brenda said...

Oh yes, jealous but so excited for you.. New York, BEA, and everything in between. Enjoy these wondrous moments.

Leovi said...

Congratulations on the happy news that accounts for your stay in New York, so pretty in your words and photos. Greetings.

Steve said...

The lovely thing about following your blog, and pre-ordering the book of course, is that it makes the anticipation of reading it even greater.

Julia Munroe Martin said...

Congratulations -- sounds like great fun (but also a lot to do!!). How exciting to run out of books!

Olga said...

Congratulations on the launch of your book and realization the dream scenario in real life!

Deb said...

Oh my gosh, your friend Helen is so darn funny! Everyone already thinks I'm corney so I'll fit right in over there.

Congrats on the great BEA turnout!

vanessafrance said...

It's a long time since I was last in New York - about 22 years - so I'm green with envy. What I love most are the art galleries; fabulous. You were obviously given VIP treatment; they certainly know how to do that the other side of the pond.

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