I traveled to London, once-upon-a-time, and did the whole tourist thing: the Tower of London, fish and chips, quaint hotel where the restaurant maitre d’ went charmingly apoplectic when we wandered in at 10 pm looking for dessert (we were accommodated in the bar), days and days in museums. We were there so my husband, Pinckney, could receive Great Britain’s Steinbeck Award. After the ceremony at some ambassador’s home (I remember the salon’s gorgeous hand-painted wallpaper that had been “relocated” from a grand Scottish castle.), we were excused through the front entrance to find ourselves a cab and the gates were locked with much to-do behind us.
Later that night, at a very posh dinner, I was seated beside some famous editor from the Times Literary Supplement. Being new to the business–a single short story published in a West Virginia anthology, a first novel begun, but not finished–I had no idea that I was totally surrounded by British literati! I prattled on about our new daughter and the novel I was working on. Skin Hunger was the title. “Oh, how nice,” was the rather amused response. I used to cringe for my young-ish self when I finally realized my naivete. Now I’m a little less hard on myself. (A rueful note: I was in B&N the other night and saw that SKIN HUNGER is the title of a newly-released YA book. I knew it was a killer title!)
I want to eventually take our children to London and see more of England, as well as Scotland and Ireland. I especially wish I could be there tomorrow, because ISABELLA MOON is making her UK debut there. But she won’t be just at Waterstones, Borders and independent stores in the UK–she’ll be in Australia, New Zealand and Canada as well. My friend Jen, who runs Salt Publishing in the UK, has promised me a photo of the book on its shelf over there. I can’t wait!
I’ll be celebrating this week, but, mostly, my days are devoted to CALLING MR LONELY HEARTS.