Friday, August 12, 2011

Book Tour (Birmingham)

The day after my reading in Atlanta, I headed out to Birmingham and got there very, very early. I had time to kill before heading over to Alabama Booksmith, so I went to Demetri's BBQ, which I had heard good things about. Demetri's was a pleasant kind of barbecue restaurant where the building looks old and lived-in but it's populated by mostly men wearing dress shirts and ties. I enjoyed the experience because the barbecue was unlike anything I've eaten before. The pork barbecue was served sliced, with a red, tomato-based sauce with Greek spices. It was more like eating a really good pork loin than barbecue (I got very little smoke taste from it). After that, I still had time left over so I drove thirty minutes to get some bubble tea at a shopping mall. I walked around the entire mall before I was informed that the bubble tea stand was gone now. I drove thirty minutes back to Alabama Booksmith.
The reading was a blast. Jake, the owner, was incredibly kind and really enthusiastic about the book. A good group of people came. I got to see my friend, the poet Adam Vines. We had just spent the last two weeks on staff at the Sewanee Writers' Conference, so I was touched that he came to the reading. Also, one of my favorite writer friends, Kerry Madden, who really encouraged me to keep writing when I was just out of college, came to the reading with her awesome and talented daughter Norah, who I last saw when she was a toddler. The reading was fun, I sold a lot of copies, and totally enjoyed meeting all the nice people in Birmingham.
After this, I start the portion of the book tour where my dad will join me. We start in Memphis, then go through Mississippi.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Book Tour (Chattanooga & Atlanta)

Now that The Family Fang has officially been released and getting generally nice reviews from places, I'm starting the book tour. Yesterday, the release date of the novel, I read at the Barnes & Noble in Chattanooga, TN. My mom and dad came with me because they love me a lot. They would come to a four hour ceremony to watch me receive a third place trophy for "Most Comic Book Figurines". We got there and we looked at the Nooks, which look very cool, and then it was time to read. Besides my parents, there were eight people there, which is so much better than the first reading for my last book, when two people showed up. A couple asked my mom and dad if they had read the book and if it was any good and my parents, who were pretending not to be my parents, said it was very good. Then I walked over to them and asked if they could hand me my galley copy of the novel because I was about to read. My mom just stood up and walked off. My dad admitted that he was my dad. It was awkward. I read the prologue from the novel and then answered questions and everyone was really nice and the Barnes & Noble people were incredibly nice and I sold some books and then my parents drove me home.
Today, I read in Atlanta, GA. I was ten minutes late to the reading at the Buckhead Barnes & Noble even though I had left my hotel (which was 2.5 miles from the bookstore) 45 minutes before the reading started. I got lost, I got stuck in traffic, I called my wife and cried. Then I got there and ran into the store and read for a nice group of people who had waited for me and answered lots of cool questions and then signed book. My cousin-in-law Chip and his mom, Peggy, came to see me read, which was very nice. And my cousin, Joe, who just moved to Atlanta, came to the reading. And a former student from Sewanee, Will, came to the reading. And Nicole, who is studying creative writing at Vanderbilt and worked with Tony Earley was there. And Vanessa Escobar, who I've talked to several times by email when she was writing an English paper on me, was also there. If every reading was like this, aside from the crying and being ten minutes late, I'd be very, very happy. I was excited to go to The Varsity Junior, an offshoot of The Varsity (one of my favorite food places in the world) and was then informed by a staff member at the bookstore that it had closed. I thought I was going to start crying again.
I'm reading tomorrow at 4:00 pm at the Alabama Booksmith in Birmingham.