Autumn Means Book Tour

A box of
The first box of Saving Simon Books to come to the farm.

I can’t remember exactly how many years I’ve been driving Jon around on his book tours.  Seven or eight, I think.  It either began with A Good Dog or Dog Days.  We were barely friend then, just getting to know each other.  I drove Jon to local events and the airport. I bought him special pens to sign the books with, tea at the reading and dinner or lunch before and after readings.  Random House paid me for expenses and mileage and a flat fee for my time.

When he first asked me to drive him around,  I wasn’t sure I wanted to do it.  I expected him to change when he was out on the road.  He’d become full of himself,  bossy and demanding, he’d treat me different.  I was afraid the relationship would slip from friends, to employer and driver.  Honestly, I felt there was a very good chance he would turn into a jerk.  I didn’t have much confidence in men back then.

But wasn’t I surprised and didn’t I continue to be surprised when I found that no matter where we were or who we were with, Jon always treated me the same.  Whether we were in a TV studio, waiting for him to be interviewed or he was introducing me to the director of the movie,  A Dog Year, or we were sitting on his porch drinking tea.   So, since that first book tour, when I found out that not all men were jerks at heart, my autumns have meant not just the coming of winter and changing leaves, but Book Tour.  Jon’s book tours mark the season.  During that time, the rest of life fits in around it.

And, it’s always exciting, even this year, when there are so few bookstores to go to.   And although Saving Simon only comes out tomorrow, for me, the book tour has already begun.   It starts when we get that first box of books in the mail from the publisher.  It’s like opening a birthday present, even though I know what’s inside and it’s not for me. There’s something about seeing so many of Jon’s books, stacked side by side.  I know what they feel like before I even touch them.  I pull out one and open it, looking at the first few pages.  Seeing the photos and reading the words for the first time as a book.  Then I reach in and pull out three at a time, the most my hand can hold.  I put them in the cupboard in the living room, playing librarian, or shop keeper, stocking the shelves.  I restack, Second Chance Dog,  last years book now in paperback, to make room for Saving Simon.  They’ll all be gone soon, our own private stash,  Jon will give them away to friends and neighbors.  But for now it feels good to have them there.  Silent and waiting for the book tour to officially begin.

Today we’ll go to the Round House Cafe for a celebration breakfast.  Then to Albany for an interview at WAMC. More interviews over the phone at home,  then to Battenkill Books for the first reading.

Random House doesn’t pay me anymore, they haven’t since we got married. And no more special pens or worries about how Jon will treat me. Just the joy of Jon’s new book entering the world.  Coming alive each time someone opens it up and begins to read. What a miracle a book is really.  A creature let loose into the world, waiting to work its magic and open us up to different worlds and new ideas.

7 thoughts on “Autumn Means Book Tour

  1. I wish you both success with this new book, Maria and a times-have-changed book tour travels. It may be that the Universe knows Jon’s capabilities at the moment better than his ego does. Still recovering from open-heart surgery, this will be a less frenetic approach albeit the changing of times, approach to his new book. I called Battenkill Book Store on Sunday and sent an email to back up my address for the new Saving Simon book and will look forward to reading it. Without repeating myself, many years ago a friend gave me several of Jon’s books to read because we are both dog/animal lovers. In the country, it’s good to plan what we’ll do for the winter to keep our minds and hands occupied. Not being familiar with Jon’s writings, a happy winter passed reading Jon’s books and I look forward to this new book. Times do change, the digital age, like the birth control pill, have changed the world in ways we could only have imagined. People reading their telephone/messaging devices, getting killed driving cars because of them (five died over the week-end up here because of those devices, people going through stop signs, T-boning oncoming cars), people walking always with their heads down, absorbed in electronic devices, not watching where they are going, disconnected from the world. I’ve wanted to make a quilt about that, so far, nothing is coming up in my imagination or the motivation yet to do it. Jon is wisely changing his approach and his blog has made all the difference in the world to many people.
    Best of luck on this new venture Saving Simon,
    Sandy P, in Ontario, Canada

    1. Can’t wait to see that quilt Sandy. Jon signed your book yesterday. Coming across a name we know when Jon is signing books is like meeting a friend on the street. And I think you’re right about this actually being good timing for Jon to recover.

  2. HI Maria, I so enjoyed this post, thank you for sharing. You two make my day,when I can I check in the your blogs and see whats new. Your husband is lucky to have you, and I have truly enjoyed following him -and you- on your journeys. We are driving back from Burlington after visiting my daughter at college and hope to take the “back way” home and stop in at Battenkill to get a copy of Saving Simon. If you are ever in the Danbury area of CT and need a place to stay or anything, please do get in touch. Thank you for sharing your stories.
    Julie Blick
    Brookfield, CT

  3. I can’t wait for my book about Simon. We wish you both much luck with the new book. We are also happy about Jon’s recovery and know very well how hard this journey is.

  4. Here I am a week late! Harvest time on the farm means that I am on not on the computer at all. But thanks so much for sharing this, Maria, it is a beautiful story and I so love stories about you and Jon!! Annie

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