Phewf! I just returned home from a BC/Alberta book tour, promoting The Little Washer of Sorrows. Whistler, Pemberton, Nelson (x2), Fernie, Canmore, and Calgary—seven reading/signing events in seven days. Me, the dog, my fiddle, a box of books and bag of Brazilnuts. What a way to spend spring break.
Here are a few things I learned along the way:
1) You may think you can just wear the same outfit to every event because you’re in a new town every evening, so who’s gonna know? Then you remember social media and see yourself in the same green sweater over and over…
2) Traveling with a bouquet of black helium-filled balloons can get a bit squeaky.
3) There’s no easy way from the Vancouver airport (kids flew to grandparents) onto Highway One towards Hope. Even Siri gave up.
4) Independent bookstore owners are some of the kindest, most open-minded, optimistic, creative people on earth. Supportive of small publishers and local authors, they know what readers are looking for and they create beautiful spaces for mental exploration. Thanks to Dan (Armchair books), Samara (Otter Books), Patty (Polar Peek), Joy and Jocey (Cafe Books) and Patrick and Kendra (Pages on Kensington). You guys rawk.
5) Don’t try to eat guacamole and chips while driving through the mountain passes.
6) Listening to Stephen King’s “Doctor Sleep” audio book while driving may not be the best choice before checking into a hotel alone…
7) Bighorn sheep always seem to all face the same way when they’re eating. I don’t know why, but it’s very feng shui.
8) Seems every small town I pass through has a kick-ass juice bar.
9) If it all went tits-up, I could see myself moving to Creston to become a fruit-picker at an orchard.
10) It’s both delightful and stressful to sign books people purchase: there’s a pressure to be witty, original and personal on that signature page. Most of the time I can barely remember my own signature. I’m just so excited to be actually SIGNING A BOOK THAT SOMEONE’S GONNA READ!!!!!
11) You forget just how big the sky is until you drive through Longview, Alberta.
12) It’s hard not to be cynical hearing Alberta friends’ excitement over a pale and puny crocus poking through the brown grass when we’ve been cutting daffodils and tulips for over a month here in Pemberton. (Sorry, AB. But take heart: your gas will always be cheaper.)
12) Best part: hooking up with family, old friends from waaaaay back (hi Dani!) avid readers (hello Kathy’s book club!) bookish fiddlers (Virginia, Ani, Michael, Heather, Kerri etc from Fernie,) neighbours from decades ago (thanks Mr. and Mrs. Webster,) other authors (three cheers for Angie Abdou,) strangers who wander in (yay Urszula and Richard) and even a great Canadian indie sing-songwriter (I love Rae Spoon.) Thanks for all your support on this journey. I hope reading the stories in TLWOS makes your forget what else has to be done, even just for a little while.