Today is my last day on book tour. Three more interviews, a few more meals, and then I wake up tomorrow and begin the long journey home.
The last two months have felt like an entire other lifetime. It all began at the Frankfurt Book Fair, which was a mind-blowing experience. Frankfurt is the size of EIGHT normal book fairs smashed together. It’s the largest collection of publishing and book people in the world. I met at least a dozen of my foreign publishers and ate a lot of sausages and potatoes. It’s amazing to think I haven’t been home since then.
After a week in Frankfurt, I took a train to Paris. I spent a week there doing promo for the French edition of WOOL, where it goes by SILO (as in Germany). The food was ridiculous, the city gorgeous, the schedule packed. I had five or six interviews a day plus other commitments. Really enjoyed my time with my publishing team. At this point, I was working on two short stories that I needed to have finished before NaNoWriMo began. Yeah, this was still early-October!
From Paris, it was a short flight to Spain. A week in Madrid (tapas!) with a short stay in Barcelona. When I landed in Madrid, I had a free afternoon. I found out Real Madrid was playing that evening, took a train to the stadium, and scored a great seat. Saw Ronaldo and Bale put together a 2-0 win. Amazing time. And had the best cheeseburger EVER in Madrid. It was the size of a single bite, made right in front of me. I could have died.
I left Barcelona and had to take three flights to get to Helsinki, Finland. Arrived late and found a freezing city full of warm people. And tall! Man, I’ve never felt so short in my life. For the next two and a half weeks, I was in Finland or Amsterdam, and I thought I was stooping. In Finland, I finished those two short stories and fired them off. I was ready for Amsterdam and NaNoWriMo. No part of me thought I would pull off 50,000 words on this trip. It just wasn’t going to be possible.
The little over a week I had in Amsterdam wasn’t enough. I loved this city. I met my friend Jasper Schreurs in the flesh for the first time and also one of my most loyal readers. Sat in (non-smoking) cafes and wrote my fool head off. Gave a talk at a museum, which went over much better than it had any right to (I told a very young and artistic crowd that the world was getting better, and they didn’t hate me for it). Lots of interviews in the coolest and quirkiest hotel I’ve ever stayed in (former boys’ prison). Another of the many places I’ve visited where I could easily settle down for a year or more.
From Amsterdam, it was off to Italy. I had extra time here because the trip to Turkey was postponed. I asked my mom to come join me, and we had 10 days in Italy together. This is a vacation I’ll never forget. We had never traveled together, just the two of us. It was great to see family, and Mom was awesome about making sure I got my writing in every morning (and often again at night). I was hitting 3,000 words a day as we jaunted from Rome to Orvieto to Siena to Florence to Cinque Terra to Venice. We hiked our butts off (though Mom complained that for all the walking, she went home the same weight as when she left. I told her muscle weighs more than fat).
It’s been crazy to see my book in shops all over the world. And to meet so many readers! I worried when I left that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with my writing, my e-mail, my blog, FB, Twitter, and everything else. But it all went very smoothly. My inbox is completely empty right now. I’ve nearly finished my next novel. John Joseph Adams and I have announced our trilogy of anthologies (I’ve also been editing some of those stories and organizing cover art while on this trip). It’s amazing what you can do while living out of hotels and spending all your free time in airports and on trains.
Now it’s time to head home, suffer a few days of jet lag, and enjoy some family time over Thanksgiving. This year, I’m thankful for you all. I really appreciate the support and kindness. I’m thankful that so many people took a chance on my writing, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know you via FB, Twitter, and your comments here. You’ve sent me on an incredible journey, one that I appreciate every single moment with no expectation for tomorrow. None of this would’ve happened without you. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.