December is the first month in four where I won’t board a plane even once, won’t drive to a distant city (forty minutes to my in-laws for Christmas Eve doesn’t count), won’t stand in front of friendly strangers to read from my book. Don’t get me wrong — I’ve been enjoying the attention, but it’s simply great to be home for a good long while, just me and the blank page.
First, I should announce — though I’ve announced it far and wide already — that Amazon.com named STILTSVILLE one of the 10 Best Debuts of 2010. I’m stunned and grateful. Amazon has been a great friend to my little book.
In September I read at my hometown bookstore, Books & Books Coral Gables, to an audience of about 230 — a personal record. I also read to a nice-sized crowd at Books & Books Bal Harbour. (This was my son’s first trip to Miami, incidentally, and his first four trips to the beach, which he loved.)
I’ve been on the radio three times in two months: once, for a segment produced by Martha Woodruff for NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday, wherein I got to say the phrase “hot sex” for a national audience. Also, in an interview with Mark Hayes for his Passing Notes podcast, and a third time here at home for an hour-long LIVE feature about National Novel Writing Month on WPR’s Veronica Rueckert show. (Also, my older segment with Mitch Teich on Milwaukee Public Radio’s Lake Effect has rerun twice.)
Also last month I had the honor of opening the Friday Night Festival of Fiction at the Wisconsin Book Festival, along with Danielle Evans, for Sam Chang and Gary Shteygart. When I asked Gary backstage if he still gets nervous before going on stage (this was a very big venue, at least in my limited experience; I’ve seen They Might Be Giants on the same stage where we read) he recommended Atavan. I counter-recommended beer. I consider us bonded.
I’ve done a good bit of guest-blogging and essay writing this month, including a piece for Cynthia Newberry Martin’s excellent literary blog, Catching Days, called A Day in the Life of Susanna Daniel (la di da). Also, a brief essay about the process of getting published, for LuxuryReading.com, and a third essay, called Novelists: More Swagger, Less Stutter, about promoting a book, for Robin Antalek’s blog.
The paperback version of STILTSVILLE is in production, and will contain a P.S. section in the back. This section will include my interview with Curtis Sittenfeld on Amazon.com, my essay for Slate titled What Took You So Long?, and a new essay about Stiltsville, the real place, called “Why Stiltsville?”