Sunday, May 07, 2006

Festivals (Part One - PLA)

Festivals ( Part One)

I'm doing a lot, this year. even though The Harrowing isn't out until August 22. (St. Martin's kept telling me September, September, but Amazon and Barnes and Noble list the release date as August 22, and 22 is a good number for me, so I'm going with that.)

Festivals are A Marketing Thing.

I've done three so far: PLA, Malice Domestic, and the LA Times Festival of Books. Three vastly different vibes (sorry, I'm from California, remember?). And next week I'm doing World Horror Con in San Francisco - home at last!!!! I CAN'T WAIT.

The first - PLA - the Public Library Association Conference, in Boston. I did this one because I happened to be in Boston anyway, doing research for my second novel, The Price, which is due in September, to be published by St. Martin's in 2007. I wanted to check out PLA because The Harrowing really is the book I was always looking for on the library shelves when I was a high school Goth girl, reading Madeleine L'Engle to Stephen King, Shirley Jackson to Graham Masterton, Ira Levin to Lillian Hellman; Leonora Mattingly Weber and Poe and Shakespeare and Ramsey Campbell and Sheridan Le Fanu and Anne Rice and Peter Straub and (okay, enough for now).

Where was I? Right. Libraries. I want The Harrowing in libraries, for Goth girls (and boys) like me to discover on rainy days. It's an adult title but these technicalities never stopped me from reading when I was -- well, basically from the time I could read. So I thought, well, if I want to meet librarians...

So I went to the PLA, and was overwhelmed by the hospitality of the incomparable Doris Ann Norris, self-styled 1000-year old librarian, known to all the Sisters in Crime as "The Patron Saint of Mystery Writers"; library goddess and dynamo Kathy East; dashing Bob (with one O) Smith; MWA's Dan Hale who spearheads Kids Love a Mystery; and pretty much the entire raucous chapter of the New England Chapter of Sisters in Crime: the most fabulous Dana Cameron, Clea Simon, Linda Barnes, Donna Andrews, Kate Flora, Hallie Ephron, Roberta Isleib, Sarah Smith, Susan Oleksiw, Toni and Steven Kelner, and Julia Spencer Fleming. I was also privileged to attend a book club meeting at Kate's Mystery Books with the great Margaret Maron, queen of Southern mysteries and one of the most gracious and wickedly entertaining people on the planet.

If all that weren't enough, the whole weekend culminated in an absolutely stupendous party at the BPL (that's the Boston Public Library, to non-Bostonians). Now I have to say I've been to some pretty amazing parties in my life - from seven-day Irish weddings in decrepit Irish castles where the roof literally collapsed on the dancers, to special-effects artists' otherworldly extravaganzas, to of course Mardi Gras, to the most ridiculously decadent Hollywood premieres (not to mention any given Halloween in the Castro - if you're ever looking for a really WILD party...)

But that party at BPL was in a class of its own. A salsa band in one wing, a jazz pianist in a marble hall, a costumed fife and drum ensemble on the front steps, a live gilded Statue of Liberty at the top of a sweeping staircase, a dozen different islands of spectacular food and drink, the fantastic exhibitions (1000 Jeanne d' Arcs)... the courtyard of the library just all on its own under a nearly full moon... and that building, that building, that building....

I'm here to tell you - librarians could teach Hollywood a thing or two about how to party.

Alex

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