Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Day 9 and 10
23 and 24 March 2009
Phoenix and Houston

So, with no further ado it’s summer. I feel slightly ridiculous wandering around with my winter coat over my arm. But next stop is Minneapolis and I have heard that a snow storm is expected. So I guess I should hold on to my rather wrinkled coat.
My hotel in Phoenix is again a conference type of place. Practical and functional. I manage to do my laundry in the provided guest laundry. I was tempted to take a swim in the pool considering the temperature, but a quick look at the rather small and rather busy pool changed my mind.
Not my exercise here either. But I’ll be better. Promise.

The book store event is at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe. The owner Gail Shanks ‘made’ my first book with a glowing review in Publishers Weekly. Very modestly she says my book made her, because that review caught so much interest. The store was voted independent book store of the year in 2007.
It’s well attended, of course, and rather moving.

My escort Lucy takes me back to my hotel. These moments are strange. Somehow they get very personal. I don’t know why. Perhaps it’s the notion that you will never meet again (though Lucy was my escort two years ago).
An early departure, only to discover that there has been a mistake with my booking and I don’t have a seat on the flight. Miraculously, they manage to get me on a flight three hours later. Five wonderful hours at this barren airport. I run out of battery on my laptop playing Sudoku and have a terrible breakfast.
On the plane I realise I am flying backwards and have to turn my watch back two hours. Houston airport is huge, hub for Continental Airlines.
Due to the delay my escort, Mary Ann this time, meets me at the baggage claim and we rush to her car and go straight to the book store, Blue Willow. Now, if Changing Hands is special, so is Blue Willow. It used to be a children’s book store, but now stocks an eclectic range of all kinds of literature.
Authors who speak here are expected to climb a ladder and sign the wall above the book shelves. I am surprised at what I wrote last time. ‘Tack för att jag fick sjunga mina milda sånger här’ – ‘thank you for letting me sing my gentle songs here’. I can’t think of anything much this time, so write ‘… and this time a sonata!’.
A very well read audience of about forty (women). A good discussion and VERY good sales. And I get to meet the local Penguin Representative. I come to understand what she did for my first book.
Back at my hotel, Zaza. So wonderful, and so wasted on this tattered tired guest who has to get up at 4.30 tomorrow morning. Why is it that I get the most time in the least charming hotels?
Minneapolis tomorrow.

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