Saturday, 5 April 2008

second printing and bestseller list!

overcast, cold, light rain, temps 5

Well, heard from my friend Susan McKenzie (she calls herself Kato because she comes and stays in the guest cottage, and just never seems to leave) that it was snowing so hard in Montreal yesterday (Friday) that flights were cancelled. I sent back a smug email - only to hear from Michael a few minutes later that snow is forecast for London this weekend!

Petards everywhere, hoisting away.

Spent today getting back into the book - revising a couple of chapters and feeling yet again that this book is crap. The oddest thing is even as I felt like that I also felt a thrill, that indeed this book was far from crap...a kind of nervous excitement that this was the best book yet. But I still managed to also be very worried. Clearly the Critic has traveled to London with me, probably in the First Class cabin, with lie-flat beds and champagne...all rested and ready for the attack.

What I find strange is that I can feel two contradictory and strong emotions about this book at once. Maybe I'm just nuts. Let's hope.

One sure sign that this book isn't actually all that bad is that even as I tried to revise it I couldn't help just reading it, forgetting to edit, wanting to read more and more.

Had a fun day yesterday. Lunch with Erika, the woman who owns this quite magnificent flat in Knightsbridge, on Lennox Gardens. We popped into her tiny car and she took us at break-neck speed down these tiny side streets until she'd screeched to a stop in front of a small Italian restuarant...I'm sure we were about 100 feet from the flat and could have easily walked, but with the network of windy, one-way streets in London it seemed as though we'd driven to Wales. Food was great...for once I didn't over-order - aware that this was just the first of two extraveganzas.
After lunch Michael and I walked through South Kensington then I hopped on the 14 bus and arrived at Piccadilly for my Afternoon Tea with Sherise, my UK editor. One hour early. Dropped in at one of our favorite galleries - the Royal Academy. Needed to speak to Rachel who is one of the curators of the sculpture department. She helped with Book 4 as you'll see when you read it. Then I was going to go to Hatchards - a wonderful Independent bookstore - but was kidnapped and held against my will by Fortum and Mason. Just fun to wander the aisles and look at the teas and cookies and candies. Bought Michael a couple of birthday gifts - then headed off to tea.
But not before Michael called with fabulous news from the USA. The Cruelest Month has gone into another printing!!!
And Still Life is on the BookSense bestseller's list!!! It's a network of 12-hundred Independent Booksellers across the States! This is a real dream - and bodes well for the series, since the hope is that people will buy the first book, and then want to read the rest.
This doesn't happen out of the blue. It happens because people like you - probably even you - told others and they told others, and before long people are buying the books. I'm just so grateful to you! Makes struggling through the Critic infested waters all worth it!
Had more good news from Sherise. Waterstones, the largest chain in the UK, has taken The Cruellest Month in it's 3 for 2 promotion - which Sherise assures me is huge. And Borders, the second largest UK chain, has decided to make The Cruellest Month a lead title.
I asked Sherise what that meant, and she didn't know, but we agreed to decide it was great news.
Then we ordered more scones and clotted cream.
On my way home I tried to call Michael - no answer. Called and called. Still no answer. I knew he should be home. Got more and more worried. Then frantic. Had visions of him crossing the street, forgetting to look in the right direction and being schmucked by someone like Erika, zooming along. When I arrived home still no Michael and no note. Was just about to totally panic when he arrived back, having spent a relaxing and gentle hour or so in the garden doing a stunning watercolour.
So, successes seem to come and go, but there is one constant - being nuts.
Writing more tomorrow - then Michael and I are having dinner at a restuarant on the Brompton Road with a man Michael's interviewing for his book - a prominent British physician and medical researcher named Sir Alan Craft.
Speak tomorrow. Anyone want a slightly used Critic? Very experienced. Going cheap.


Elizabeth said...

I'm reading your blog enjoying London vicariously. I was going to add that I was enjoying spring through you too, but spring has finally arrived here. The snow yesterday was only a tease. Today it's sunny, warm and I can actually hear the snow melting--little whispery sounds as the ice crystals collapse. I have a writer cousin in London, Judy Hillman, who is also active in the Royal Academy. She lives in Primrose Hill and has far too much energy. I'll recommend your books to her.

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Elizabeth,

Thank you! Even in the snow and drizzle London is fantastic. (Everytime I say that word here I think of Patsy from Ab Fab. Fantastic, darling - thanks alot. Cheers)

Love your description of hearing the snow melting. It's so true. Lovely.


Kay said...

I, too, am loving your London saga. My dream someday. Congrats on the honors for the books. Well deserved. And...hmmm....I probably shouldn't tell you how beautiful it is here with wildflowers blooming and a perfectly gorgeous day (high '70's). No, I won't tell you. Carry on with your trip and you can send that nasty 'ole critic down here and I'll just toss him/her in the lake. It's still too cold to swim and that should silence him/her.

Louise Penny Author said...

Dear Kay,

Thanks for wrangling the critic! Seems to have worked. And the wildflowers...and they the blue bonnets? I have a vision of them covering meadows and forest floors. Beautiful.


Kay said...

Yes, bluebonnets and others, Texas paintbrush, Indian blanket, and so on. Here is a site that shows some lovely pictures:

We don't have many forests here but we do have fields and clumps of trees in the fields. Our roadsides are seeded each fall for the wildflowers, a legacy from Lady Bird Johnson. This is my favorite time of year.