London Calling (and book signing schedule)
I'm feeling awake and refreshed this morning (perhaps having to do with sleeping past 5:30 am for the first time since Saturday), and excited for my first full day in London. I arrived back from Dublin yesterday morning and immediately went for a lunch with several reps from my publisher as well as journalists and book retailers. We had a great conversation about books, politics, the economy, and I've noticed that almost inevitably when speaking to someone not from New York 9/11 ends up a topic of conversation.
After lunch I passed out for a few hours, then took a long walk into Hyde Park and over to Notting Hill (sadly I did not see Hugh Grant or Julia Roberts, though I did see a lot of guys that looked like Rhys Ifans). My midnight interview went smashingly (I'm already turning into Madonna), and today I have a slew of BBC radio interviews scheduled, followed by several signings (see below for times).
Tonight is a dinner with my UK publishing team, who have gone far above and beyond the call of duty. Plus I've been told to wear my drinking hat. (That I've been traveling around Ireland and London for nearly three days and have only had one single, solitary pint of Guinness is inconceivable)
I've read two books on the trip so far: Ian Rankin's classic first Rebus novel KNOTS AND CROSSES and Kevin Wignall's multi-nominated WHO IS CONRAD HIRST?
The response to THE MARK has been wonderful here. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, as I'm pretty unaware of how foreign tastes in crime fiction compare to the U.S., but so far it has been a great experience. I've also had a chance to address some questions about my career and about publishing that I don't get to touch on too often. The genre's role in literature (sadly most people consider genre and literature to be two entirely different species). Whether age or looks help get more publicity for your book (if you're a young woman writing a roman a clef about fashion, publishing or gossip, yes. If you're a young man with unruly hair and/or a pocket square with a 'literary pedigree' writing either a memoir or thinly-veiled memoir, yes. If you're a young man or woman writing crime fiction, no).
One thing I've noticed on the bookselling side--from the relatively few stores I've been in, granted--is how few hardcovers are sold in the UK. I've only seen three books being sold in hardcover: Ken Follett's WORLD WITHOUT END, Jeffrey Archer's PRISONER OF BIRTH and Sebastian Faulk's James Bond novel DEVIL MAY CARE. I've been told that larger paperbacks are the most popular format for big-name authors, both for price and convenience, and only the top, top, top authors come out in hardback.
Oh yeah, and the dollar don't buy squat here.
Since I've heard from a few UK readers, I'll be signing copies of THE MARK at Waterstone's at 421 Oxford Street at 2:30, and then at Waterstone's at 19-23 Oxford Street somewhere around 3:15.