Monday, 7 June 2010

That GPS would be pushing up daisies if it wasn't nailed to the dash -

Overcast, sunny breaks, some showers, cool, temps 17

Back home...very long day yesterday but VERY fun. Didn't start until 10:30, when Donna Nopper, of Hachette Canada picked me up at the hotel. She'd rented a car (hers is filled with dog hair - too late she found out that is actually my natural habitat) - and took her husband's Tomtom GPS system, so we could find our way from the Toronto waterfront to the town of Shelburne in the Orangeville area. They had it programmed to John Cleese's voice.

but it soon became clear that Mr Cleese does not have a good sense of direction. He had us haring off all over Toronto. I was completely lost. fortunately Donna wasn't about to join the 'ministry of silly drives' - so she pulled the plug. And we found our own way out of the city (further complicated by a bike-a-thon for cancer that closed streets.)

But we got onto the highway, found shelburne and were there early so we sat in the car and discussed plans for the upcoming launch of Bury Your Dead. Sat so long we almost missed getting into the Grace Tippling Hall to meet with the 10 people who'd won the contests.

This is all part of The Brutal Telling being chosen for the One Book, One County book for this year...thanks to lots of people but especially Nancy Frater, of the fabulous bookstore, Booklore. The idea was to get the whole county reading The Brutal Telling.

Over the past few months the libraries and Booklore held all sorts of events, sparked by the book - for instance, a judge started the whole thing off. Then there was a workshop on forensics a month or so ago. And a few weeks back an antiques expert talked about the antiques discussed in the book. So there were all sorts of ways to pull people in. Including a trivia contest...and I was to meet the winners for coffee and cakes in the local village bistro! Great idea - except Donna and I stayed chatting in the car for so long we were then running late.

And we didn't really pay attention to the approaching bagpipes - which was a mistake.

When we got out of the car we noticed a crowd of people gathered right in front of the hall. In uniform. They were veterans and supporters commemorating the invasion of Normandy. June 6th.

We felt awful. Here were these heroic men who'd had courage - holding a solemn ceremony...and we needed to get inside. What to do?

Well, we stood outside, listening respectfully, for a few minutes - then Donna noticed a side door. So we snuck in. Just wanting to be invisible. Yech.

Once in we met the contest winners and by then the ceremony outside was finished and we went off to the bistro. Then back to the hall, which was filling up.

The event was such fun. Place was packed...and Nancy and the others had even found this amazing blues guitarist and singer, Brian Blain who is from the Eastern Townships originally. He'd written a number of songs about it and performed them live. I'm hoping to get him to the Sutton en Blues festival the village has started!

Then I spoke for almost an hour - answering questions at the end. Then there was a draw. I brought two mugs and two calendars - and Donna brought the piece de resistence... an advance copy of Bury Your Dead. It was so exciting.

then I signed books for half an hour or so - then had to scoot back to Toronto to catch the 6:30 train back to Montreal. Donna was wonderful, doing all that driving. And designing posters and all sorts of things for the One Book, One County campaign.


Next year I'll be in Prince Edward Island...the whole province had chosen to make Still Life the One Book, One Province book!

the train back was relaxing - though there was this fellow one row back and across from me who had his music turned up so loud in his ears I could hear it. Can you imagine what mush that was making of his brain. It must have attacked him impulse control first because about 10pm - when we were all trying to sleep - he started to sing along to whatever he was listening to. Sing is perhaps generous.

But I plugged into my ipod (after turning it on with the ear buds out of my ears to make sure no sound was leaking out) and stared into the night. Ahhhh.

Got into the apartment by midnight. A little wired. But fell asleep by just after 1am.

Wrote/edited this morning...wonderful to again have a quiet day where that's all I have to do. Phew. Am now at page 110 - of 260 pages. And have dropped about 3,000 words so far. I think I might be able to get another 3,000 out. Am actually hoping the finished manuscript will be around 110,000 words. Am aiming to be finished this first edit (second draft) by June 20th.

Walked over to Westmount Square for salad and sandwich to bring home for lunch - and some sushi for dinner. Vegetarian sushi, that is.

Tomorrow I have an 8am breakfast meeting with the publicist, Simone, for the launch of Still Life in french in early september. Then dentist at 10am - then home. Hope I'm in time to wrestle the beetle away from Michael - but I have my doubts. I think he might have slept in it last night.

Oh, there's an early review of Bury Your Dead posted. Here's the link...

Had a message from Catherine McKenzie. She's a Montreal writer...her book is called Spin - and she's started an interesting project. It's designed to make under-appreciated books and authors into bestsellers. Here's the link to her project.

Here is the link:

Hope the link works. If not, she his info on her website.

What a long post! I'll talk to you tomorrow, from home home...ahhh.


whalewatcher said...

Thanks for sharing! It all sounds very exciting and wonderful! You've worked hard to get there so keep enjoying!

whalewatcher said...

Did you say that your new VW is a powder blue beetle?
Talk about wrestling it away from Michael I think it just went down my street... and I live in IL....uh-oh
Ha! Ha!

Reen said...

Really great One Book, One County/Province idea. And congrats on having yours selected. Wonder if our libraries might adopt a similar program. Sounds like a fantastic approach to literacy.

What will the French title of Still Life be? It is such an intriquing title in English.

I love that you sound excited about all the facets of your work-- and hope that you take care of yourself.

Jeanine said...

Hi Louise,

I'm laughing about your Tom Tom GPS system. I would love to be able to set mine to John Cleese's voice. When I first got mine I set it to a woman's voice because I didn't want a man telling me where to go ... but then my husband couldn't hear/understand her, so I set it to a man's voice. I have fallen in love with him and have named him "Sexy Rexy". I keep frustrating him by taking shortcuts and back ways that he doesn't know about.

I get so excited reading about your editing process and all your publicity appearances and events. you have truly convinced me that I don't have what it takes to be a writer and could never keep up with the writer's life!

What is the name of your new book going to be?

Marjorie said...

When I first skimmed the above title, I thought it said "The UPS man should be pushing up daisies" and I thought he must have done something really awful to you for you to have a death wish for him! I am glad that it was only the voice of John Cleese who was trying to get you lost! And that you did find your way. The events sound wonderful.

--Marorie from Connecticut

lil Gluckstern said...

What adventures you have. Ultimately so satisfying. And home must indeed be an AHHH

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi all,

Yes, Lil, it is an ahhh!

Ha, Marjorie - I wonder what the UPS guy would have to do.

Jeanine - love that you frustrate him, just to get him to engage with you. Love that Sexy Rexy can even make, 'Recalculating' sound sexy! And keep writing!!! You get to choose your own schedule...doesn't have to be like mine. Please keep writing!

Hi Reen - actually, some communities in the US seem to be doing it. I've just pinned down that event in Pittsburgh for next year - The Gamache books will be the choice for the university of pittsburgh/Bradford PA area - One Book, One Community initiative.

It is SUCH a great idea...a no lose.

And kathy - you had Michael and me laughing and laughing...there he goes!!!

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