Tuesday, 15 April 2008

IMBA Bestseller!

sunny, mild, temps 14

Now, this is more like it. Walked around London this afternoon actually carrying my coat. What a relief.

Had fantastic news yesterday from the United States. The Independent Mystery Booksellers Association (IMBA) bestseller list for March was just published and THE CRUELEST MONTH debuted at number 1!

Thank you, thank you for going out and buying it, and telling friends about it. I'm SO grateful to you. Michael and I yipped and yelped and danced around the living room when we read Hope's email last night. Absolutely over the top wonderful.

And - more good news from the lists - A FATAL GRACE has moved up to number 4 on the mass market list, from number 6 the month before. Generally books start high and go down. It's very unusual to go in the other direction...but I'll forgive it this once. Yippeee!!!!


Life doesn't get much better than spending a couple of hours at the London BookFair, schmoozing, then dinner at Carol and David's, then home to the flat in Lennox Gardens and the news that we topped the IMBA bestseller list. It seems a dream.

However, Karma alert, karma alert. This is not a test.

At the drinks party at the Canada booth at the London BookFair (lots of 'at thes') Teresa my agent kept introducing me to all these very charming women. Most of them European publishers who'd bought the series. So I was busy chatting, as delightful and charming as can be and even tried out my German on the German agent (since Germany is such a HUGE market I thought the extra effort was worth it) when the woman's face changed. I know that look. It's universal. It means: I'm in the presence of almost limitless stupidity. Seems she wasn't German, but Swedish.

She left.

I found her again in the crowd and talked knowledgeably about the strengths of the Swedish literary market, and the very exciting crime writers coming out of Sweden. The two women seemed impressed until, as they left, I noticed their nametags said they were my Finnish publishers.

Seems in one golden hour I might have exploded my entire European writing career. My only comfort was knowing I didn't panic completely and try out my Russian on the Russian publisher.

Adeen haladeelnik. One refridgerator.

Of course, I probably would have said it to the Polish publisher anyway.

Somedays I just shouldn't leave home.

Today was great. Wrote in the morning...not a lot, but I like what I've done. I'm at another turning point, where each sentence needs to justify itself, and each scene must carry a few meanings - and do it with a light touch. We'll see if it's worked, but so far so good.

Must say, I long for two or three weeks with nothing to do but write. No meetings, no visits, no lunches or dinners. Nothing but the computer, Three Pines, and Michael.

But if I can't have that, this is a pretty good second!

Tomorrow busy. TV interview in the morning, lunch with my wonderful US publisher, Andy Martin from Minotaur, then the UK Headline party to celebrate the crime list, at a restuarant called SWAY. Then a late dinner with Michael, Teresa and Patty, my US agent.

Danke, haladeenik sauna to you. And I mean that sincerely.


jamie said...

Here's a huge congratulations, Louise! I just love your Three Pines series, and I'm glad to see that so many other people seem to as well. That means we'll have lots of installments still to come!! I feel like I know Gamache, and I wonder what he's doing between books...
Thanks for giving him to the world! I'm glad he's being so warmly received!

And don't worry about your embarrassing day--they're all used to dealing with authors who are, no doubt, much stranger than you! They'll probably just remember you as that...ahem...eccentric...but inexplicably brilliant author! As long as your work is debuting at number 1 on the lists, they won't remember the rest! heehee :)

Louise Penny Author said...

Danke Jamie,

That really is very kind of you. Frankly I'm hoping they were drunk. And thank you so much for your support of the series. Wish I could take my feelings and smear them on the page and share them with you. It really is amazing.

Gamache sends his best too. He's back in Three Pines and is about to confront a serious suspect.