I know lots of writers–very prolific writers–who get a considerable amount of work done on the road. I only travel about four or five weeks out of the year, so maybe I’m just not in the habit–but I can’t write on the road to save my life. It takes all my concentration just to get from one event to another, to double-check directions and appearance times (several websites had my Dayton appearance for tonight instead of last night), do local media, call home, catch up on email, find food, and, most of all keep all my stuff organized. After an event, I’m always starving and jazzed-up, good for nothing except crashing in my hotel room, wearing my comfy Uggs, and, maybe, if I’m a good girl, writing my thank-you notes.
There is one important thing that traveling does for me (and always has): it clears my head so new information can get in. When I drive long distances, ideas flood my thoughts. In fact, this week I learned what the book I’ll write after the one I’m currently working on will be about. I had known for a while what the main direction would be, but now I know the setting. And the setting is of primary importance to me. Anyone who has heard me talk about my work knows that I write most confidently when I write from place.
Calling Mr. Lonely Hearts takes place in Cincinnati, the city where I was born. It’s always so fun to read there. My parents were at my house watching my kids (P is on the road as well), so they didn’t get to attend, but plenty of other folks were there, despite the near-zero weather. I love hanging out at Joseph-Beth Cincinnati–they bring in many, many writers (my friend, Steve Berry, Jan Burke, and Dana Canedy were all there before me this week), and spoil them in the loveliest ways. Here I am with the delightful Barbara Hudson. And how cool is the poster they did?! (And, yes, I’m wearing my favorite long sweater, which I also wore in St. Louis. I’m very attached to it. Though I brought plenty of other clothes. Way too many, in fact.)
I got distracted and totally forgot to take pictures at Books & Co in Dayton yesterday. Christina Tomazinis handled the event, and we had a chance to have a good long talk about CMLH. And today I was at Mitchell Books in Ft. Wayne, IN. Katie, the store’s book buyer, and Sandra, one of the managers, and I welcomed some aspiring writers in the reading area by their cozy fireplace. We had a great talk, and I was thrilled to get their feedback on my work.
Tomorrow I’ll be at Jim Huang’s Mystery Company Store here in Carmel, IN. I’ll go home for a couple of days, and then up to Chicago for an event at The Book Cellar on Wednesday night.
Okay. Two random thoughts that occurred to me as I was driving over the last couple of days: 1) Seriously. No one should ever be allowed to cover Steely Dan songs. It’s just wrong. The same goes for Led Zeppelin, U2, and, perhaps, The Who. I realize that this identifies me as an old fuddy-duddy, but that’s just the way it is. (Technically, I.G.Y., the song Howard Jones covered back in the nineties was from a Donald Fagen Solo Album. Still.) 2) If you’re in a relationship, marriage, etc., have you ever wondered if you and your partner would be matched as compatible by one of those relationship websites like eharmony.com? I wonder about that. One sees these commercials with happily matched couples….but does nature work in the same way as a computer program, or vice versa? Just thinking.