The silence of my early winter is almost over. On February the 15th, HarperCollins US will publish 'Ireland -a Novel' all across the continent of North America. This is the moment where an author divides - between the need to be silent and thinking, and the necessity to get out there and talk! All the early indications suggest an exciting publication; the previews have been encouraging and complimentary, with some reviews starred and the reader interest already has me answering questionnaires for Barnes & Noble Reading Groups and the HarperCollins readership. Which, by the way, is for me the most enjoyable part of promoting a book - connecting with actual readers, answering questions that go deep beneath the surface of the text, gathering on-the-ground, no-axe-grinding responses to a piece of my work.
Nothing sorts out a writer - nothing sorts out me - more quickly or beneficially than reader response. Book reviewers have their own profiles to consider when commiting their opinions to print - readers in book groups have no such considerations to inhibit them and consequently they offer unvarnished and immensely useful opinions. If you have failed your reader, a book group member will tell you. If you have rewarded your reader insufficiently, a book group member will suggest how you might have gone farther or in a different direction. If you have gratified a reader, they tell you too and the effect it has on me - in all cases - is to do better for the reader next time.
I am already scheduled for a number of events across the US and Canada in the coming months, beginning in Boston on Sunday and Monday, the 16th and 17th of January at the American Libraries Association midwinter conference. All details of all such appearances will begin to appear here on the website and if you find one about to happen near you, please come along and speak to me, mentioning the website. After all - no readers, no writers.