BOOK & BLOG
November 6, 2009
I know you’re wondering why I didn’t include a BOOKS section this week. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to read much original material. I’ve read a book I’m going to blurb, I’ve read a manuscript that had to be copy-edited, and I’m re-reading all my old Sookie books. This is long overdue.
It’s very strange to revisit old ground. I’m actually enjoying the process. I hope to spot old threads I’d like to pick up again, characters I might want to revisit, and plot points I never used to their fullest extent.
As you know, last week was extremely busy for me. Paula and I drove down to New Orleans, encountering much construction along the way. We got in New Orleans and to our hotel (the Ritz Carlton) without much trouble, and our room was absolutely wonderful (thanks, Penguin!). Paula and I had enough closet space to house a small family, but that was for the best because we had a ton of clothes, plus our costumes.
On Thursday we went with an old friend of mine, Dr. Karen Ross, to tour the Jefferson Parish Forensic Center, which includes the morgue. Paula and I were very impressed with how advanced this facility is, and the coroner, Dr. Robert Treuting, was absolutely welcoming. (I almost hate to make such an obvious joke, but my guess is they don’t get too many drop-ins.) There was nothing to be scared of there. It’s sad that a morgue is necessary, but it’s wonderful to realize that the people there are dedicated to finding out the truth.
Paula and I also went to my very favorite cemetery, St. Louis Number One. For those who haven’t had the chance to visit New Orleans, please put this landmark on your schedule. You’ll be glad you did. Paula had some excellent chances to take pictures, while I had a great time reading the names of those past citizens. We had a good tour guide. Though I’d been to the cemetery before, it’s always good to go with a guide; not because it’s so very big, but because a guide can nearly always answer any question that occurs to you.
When we were getting ready for the True Blood and Gold Ball, we had the expert help of Amy Woods, a wonderful makeup artist. She made Paula and me (and my one-of-a-kind publicist, Jodi) look simply amazing, and we had a good time getting that way, too. Amy brought her friend, another Amy, who took pictures of us at all stages of the process. She promised us copies so Amy, if you’re reading this, we look forward to seeing the pictures! Paula took a few snaps, too.
Paula and I wore costumes “facilitated” by Audrey Fisher, the wardrobe head for “True Blood.” Anyone who’s ever watched the show knows how talented Audrey is, and the costumes she got for us are wonderful. I told her I wanted to go as a Victorian widow, and Paula opted for a more Edwardian look, in lesser mourning (lavender). Though it was a job getting our costumes up there and getting ready, I think the results were worth it. Jodi chose a modern costume, the short-skirt-and-boots look with lots of eye makeup and a black wig, and I think her own mother would have hesitated before she was sure that hot vixen was Jodi.
The organizers were wonderful to us and seated us in the VIP section and we had a limo ride to and from the party. We got there early, and it took a while for the party to fill up. The bands were good, the costumes were fun, and I had the honor of being serenaded by an excellent Elvis tribute artist, a young man who not only could sing but had the looks to back up his costume. I got a crown and a sash to prove I am indeed the Vampire Queen of Louisiana, and I shall cherish them! I have to admit, it was a relief to get back to the hotel and take off all my finery.
The signing at Garden District Book Shop went very well. I was able to meet a lot of readers who hadn’t been able to attend a signing before, and that always makes me feel it was time well spent. Paula and Jodi and I worked and worked and worked, and enjoyed the afternoon tremendously.
Paula drove my car back home, while I caught a plane to Houston for the Houston Chronicle’s Book and Author Dinner. I appeared with Lee Child, Julie Powell, Oscar Casares, and David Cross, a diverse and entertaining crew. I’ve known Lee for years, but the others were new to me, and though we didn’t get to talk very long to each other, I got to hear them speak. I signed some books, tried to be agreeable, and had the misfortune to be the last speaker, after all the others had been totally entertaining and funny.
It was great to fly home the next day. I have only two events left this year, a day at my alma mater (Rhodes, in Memphis) and the Darragh Lecture in Little Rock, which has been moved to the University Theater on the University of Arkansas campus because quite a few people have signed up. I’ll be through for 2009! I’ve shaken a lot of hands and signed a lot of books this year, and for the most part, it’s been a joy to do so. What an amazing year it’s been, both personally and professionally, thanks to you all.
© 2009 Charlaine Harris