Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Lessons From the Road... or the Adventures of Thelma and Louise

by Libby Hellmann and Cara Black

It’s that time again. I’m on book tour for EASY INNOCENCE, my fifth crime fiction novel. Actually this is going to be a joint blog with partner in crime and road runner Cara Black. Her new novel is MURDER IN RUE DE PARADIS.
We’re going to share some lessons we’ve learned from the road. BTW, Cara insists that whoever Susan Sarandon played in the film is who she wants to be, which makes me the other one. Got that?

Lesson 1. Don’t go it alone. I’ve done tours alone, I’ve done them with people. It’s much more fun when you’re with someone who can share costs, driving, toiletries, and more. Also keeps you from talking to yourself.

Lesson 2. Cara and I toured together four years ago. Part of that time Kent Krueger was with us. Besides being a fabulous writer, he has an unerring sense of direction – even in Pittsburgh. We don’t have Kent this time, but we do have Lucy…my brand new portable GPS navigator and new best friend. Lucy never talks back, she’s patient when we make a wrong turn, and she always lets us know where we are and where we’re going. Even in Pittsburgh.

Lesson 3. Tour with someone who’ll turn to you in the car and say “You know, you ought to consider putting your climax a few miles south of here in Douglas, AZ.” Or, someone to whom you can say “I think Aimee would love that scarf, don’t you?” The best part of the long drives is the brainstorming…ideas, plots, character development, obstacles, and settings. I usually get back home fresh and inspired and ready to muscle up my writing.

Lesson 4. If a rental car company offers you a gold card, take it.

Lesson 5. Eat well at signings and other events. It might be your only meal of the day.

Lesson 6. It helps to travel with someone whose children are approximately the same age as yours. Those frantic cell phone conversations in rural Ohio during which your daughter tells you the police have just left the house, or your son tells you his best friend’s father’s car had a little problem while he was driving it, are much easier to tolerate when the person you’re traveling with understands.

Lesson 7. Don’t be upset when the empty seats at a signing event outnumber the occupied ones. It’s not your fault, it’s hers. On the other hand, when you finally meet a fan whom you’ve gotten to know through years of emails, there’s no better sense of affirmation. That’s really what it’s all about.

Lesson 8. Note to selves: Instead of a Ford Focus – need a convertible next time. But do not drive over cliff.

Also...find Brad Pitt or other boy toy.


Wilfred the Author said...

Great post! Convertibles are the way to go. Wait, two women traveling together? Not enough trunk space in a convertible for all those shoes.

Bethany K. Warner said...

Anybody coming to Indianapolis on tour? I'll be one person in the filled seats!

Dana King said...

I was lucky enough to see Libby and Cara's appearance in Pikesville recently, and I highly recommend a visit if they're in your neighborhood. Informative, fun, and some things I'll guarantee you didn't know.

Just one jarring thought from the post: Touring together may only work for women. I don't see too many men going for the whole "sharing toiletries and other things" part. Squicks us right out.

Libby Hellmann said...

Thanks, Dana... it was great to see you the other night. More later.

BEthany.. I will be in Indianapolis, but not till June and not with Cara. But Michael Dymmoch (an Outfiteer) will be with me... at Jim Huang's shop... The Mystery Company.

And Wilfred, there may not be enough space in the trunk for shoes, but it could hold a nice sized body....

Picks By Pat said...

Traveling isn't so bad when you've got company, that's true.
I look forward to seeing you once you come to Kansas, but good luck with the Official Book Launch Party.

I used to live in Pittsburgh, so if you need a driver, I'll meet you there (LOL). It's a great town, though. Be sure to get a sandwich at Primanti Brothers...it's a local institution.

Sara Paretsky said...

libby, tell cara i was at wheelbarrow today on r. st paul where, as she knows, she is adored--also by me. happy landings


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