Sunday, February 28, 2010

Book Launch

On Tuesday, March 2, at 7:00 p.m., I’ll be launching my 2010 Great American Book Tour for my new Civil War novel, Walking to Gatlinburg, at Linda Ramsdell’s wonderful Galaxy Bookstore, in Hardwick, Vermont. That will be the first of about 100 events I’ll be doing over the next several months, in New England and nationwide, mostly at America’s great independent bookstores.

One of the questions I’ve been asking myself as I’ve pored over my sun-faded Rand McNally road atlas, trying to figure out whether I can drive from Denver to Phoenix in two days and from Minneapolis to Milwaukee in a day (yes, I can), is whether book tours, in this strange electronic era, are still worthwhile.

I think that they are. Independent bookstores got me started and have kept me going. A tour gives me a chance to thank indie booksellers, and their customers, for enabling me to write fiction.

For novelists who may spend years chained to their desks to complete just one book – Walking to Gatlinburg took about 7 years, counting research time – a book tour provides a terrific break from the isolation of writing.

What’s more, traveling the country alone in a clunker, eating at diners and staying at cheap motels, is a great way for a writer to accumulate new material. And there’s something about driving, I don’t know exactly what, that seems conducive to break-through ideas for stories and stories-in-progress.

There are far worse ways to spend a spring, summer, and fall than riding the roads of America from one renowned independent bookstore to another. This time out, I’ll be chronicling my trip via Blog, Twitter, and Facebook. You may expect regular reports on where I’ve been and where I’m headed next, what new literary discoveries I make at our great indies, what I’m reading nights at my motels, and, of course, humorous encounters along the way.

My friend the acclaimed writer Garret Keizer, whose marvelous new book on noise, The Unwanted Sound of Everything We Want, will be in the stores in just a few weeks, made an interesting observation to me about books and the electronic age. When I told Garret about my Great American Book Tour and how booksellers, authors, and readers are availing themselves of electronics to get out the word on books and book events, he said, “Wouldn’t it be ironical and wonderful if the very technology that was supposed to kill the book as we know it helps keep books alive?”

Yes, it would!

Please check this blog, Facebook, and Twitter for “Dispatches from Bookland” as, once again, I light out for the territories, as Huck Finn might put it. I can’t think of any better territory to visit than America’s independent bookstores. It’s pretty exciting just to think about. (Don’t forget to check my website appearances to see when I’ll be in your region!)


Anna said...

I just signed up for your blog, and am very much enjoying it. My husband and I love your books, and have a special place in our hearts for Where the River Flows North stories. We live in S. VT near the Nshire bkstore. We'll be on the road on March 4, but hope to catch your reading at another store.
I wanted to tell you about a writer (you might already know of him) named Robb White. He was the brother of NPR's Bailey White. He died recently, and his wife put together a collection of his truly wonderful pieces, based on his life down in the Florida panhandle, and his life as a boatbuilder. Its title is 'Flotsam and Jetsam'. We think - because of the subject matter in your books - you would love this guy as much as we do.

Howard Frank Mosher said...

Thanks. When I get home from my book tour, I'll certainly read Robb White's book.