A Day in the Life of an Author on Tour
GUESS what I have to talk about to a crowd of first-graders tomorrow? What it’s like to be an author on international tour!
Which is going to give them such an unrealistic vision of the writing life, that I hope I don’t send them chasing down totally the wrong path in pursuit of glory, but anyway…
The plus side is, it’s so very timely, because that was exactly what I promised to tell you about! But, alas, you don’t get to act out the roles of journalists, TV crews, chocolate party organizers and partakers, and even that of the author, and the first-graders do. I originally thought I was going to at least get to pretend I was the author in this First Grade Event, since that was why I was invited, but, in what is Highly Typical Fashion for Authorial Moments of Glory, I have been shunted off in favor of certain first-graders who want to be the author, instead.
What my actual role at the First-Graders International Author on Tour function is, I don’t know, and that is very, very like what happens after you share a book with the world.
But sometimes you go on tour. I mean, other authors always told me you didn’t, but apparently occasionally you do, because I just did. We will call it an Incredible Fluke of Beautiful Luck.
However, following certain comments from certain someones about “And you claim you’re working. Ha. You’re jaunting around Italy!”, I thought I would share a day of an author on tour. And you can decide whether any work might be involved.
So here’s an example of a day, and I’m going to use the actual hour-by-hour schedule from the post the other day on the Matera Women’s Fiction Festival day as it gives you a good idea:
7:00 a.m.: Wake-up call from the hotel. Note, this is ONE IN THE MORNING in the place you were just twenty-four hours before. I got into my hotel in Rome from the flight around noon or one the day before. In country less than 18 hours.
7:00-8:00 am: Frantic attempts to shower and get camera-ready in a very nice Renaissance palace hotel where the shower actually pours down onto the toilet. And the mirrors have no lights. OK, seriously, look at this bathroom. Look at the shower. Look at the toilet. Don’t say I never showed you anything interesting on this blog. I’m showing you shower-toilets!!!
This was in the 4-star Hotel Columbus, on the Via Consolazione in Rome, right by Saint Peter’s. A beautiful spot to be, no complaints. But tricky for getting ready for TV interviews.
8:00 a.m. Car to the airport.
10:00 a.m. Flight to Bari. From there, an hour in a car sent by the Women’s Fiction Festival to reach Matera itself. Olive-filled countryside to ride through and vivacious authors for company.
12:30 p.m. Arrive and install in the fabulous Palazzo Gattini hotel. Of the vaulted ceilings and luxurious bed that Ladra di Cioccolato was sleeping in last post.
5 seconds to touch up and off to…
1:30-2:30 p.m. Interview with RAI television, the major national TV station.
2:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Lunch with some of the people from the Festival, like organizer Maria Paola and my editor Isabella, and more. I discovered stracciatella di mozzarella! The fresh amazing kind. It was wonderful. I have to go back to Matera just to have more. Cream-soaked, dotted with strawberries…sigh.
4:00 p.m. Interview with Francesco Altavista of Il Quotidiano della Basilicata. Francesco had read the book, and his questions really dig at the why and how of writing.
At some points, we were having debates like this: “So how can you explain the violence of the love scenes?” “The what?” “The violence.” “I have violence? What violence! Let me see that translation!” “He grabs her hair.” “But…not violently!! What page number are we on?” My publicist: “Laura, can’t you remember your own book?” Me: “But…well, I did write it three years ago and I have JET LAG, but…just point me to the scene so I can see what we’re talking about! I don’t do violence!”
So after much heated debate…
5:00 p.m.: Interview with Carmela Cosentino of La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno. Out on a nice plaza sitting at a little coffee table in front of a bookstore, with a gelateria just across from us and a gorgeous view of the sassi over to our left. Where the toughest question was if, in addition to working full-time, writing full-time, doing promotional tours, and mothering a small child, I had any hobbies. And you know what? I Failed this Question. I felt so Guilty and One-Dimensional, that I actually said, “Well, I do triathlons,” and here is the Sad Thing, readers. I don’t anymore. I stopped a year or two ago. It was a brief fling, me and triathlons. But I was feeling pressured!
And then I thought…geez, we never really do enough, do we? What is it with that pressure we put on ourselves?
6:00 p.m.: Interview with June Ross of the blog Immergiti in un mondo…rosa. This is the famous video interview in Italian I talked about last post. Ha, ha, I was thinking this would be the most laid-back of the interviews, when I saw it on the schedule, but little did I know that videotape of me interviewing in Italian was waiting for me. 🙂
7:30 p.m.: Radio interview with Radio Radiosa. (Note that in all this schedule, you have to not only finish one interview but have time to get to the next one. So we’re racing from the June Ross interview to this.)
8:30 p.m.: Dinner. Another big crowd of authors, editors, festival organizers. Here are the three Fanucci girls. 🙂 Publicist Giulia Fea, Me, and editor Isabella Spanu. Who only allowed me to have this photo on the promise that I could get the red-eye out, which just goes to show how much you can trust me to fulfill my promises, doesn’t it? Oops. On the plus side, I might just look like the Dufus of Vampires, but Giulia could totally be ready to take over the Non-Vampire World in a classy, elegant, vampiric way.
9:45 p.m.: Chocolate Party at Shibuya Café. See previous posts for more photos. This involved not only eating chocolate but a talk from me and a book presentation question and answer session with Isabella.
12 a.m., midnight: Some people were repairing to the Clock Tower where apparently the hot chocolate was incredible, but I just couldn’t stay up anymore. Eighteen hours. Even for incredible hot chocolate. I’m still a little sad about that.
So that was pretty much a typical day.
To sum up: 4 Hours of Travel that included taxis, airplanes, and shuttles before arriving at destination. 5 major interviews, including radio, TV, video, and newspaper. 1 Major Book Presentation to a Large Crowd. 2 Meals with large groups of festival organizers/editors/authors. 1 Cop-Out of the Midnight Chocolate on the Clock Tower, which, admit it, would have been awesome. Especially from a rested hindsight.
ALL with awesome people in an extraordinary setting, so wonderful memories.
That would be ONE DAY of being an Author on Tour. What do you think? Does it sound exciting or scary? Exhilarating or exhausting? Work or pleasure? Or all of the above?
I have one thing to say: Everyone promised me this was a career I could do in my pajamas!! What’s up with that?