A friend had sent me a message during my talk at the ALA conference. "I love the caricature of you in the Sunday Times" it said. I knew nothing of any caricature, and so slightly perturbed, I asked if I could see it, and a few days later I was sent this. I think it's pretty good, really - they've captured my likeness well, though I would never wear a Hawaiian shirt...
Anyway, back to the tour. The day after the event at the ALA conference didn't get off to a great start. It was a travel day, mostly, but I'd had some radio interviews arranged for the morning before the flight. Slightly worse for wear (having sampled some of the delights that New Orleans' nightlife has to offer the previous evening) and armed with a sheet of paper filled with phone numbers, I sat down to make the first call.
I couldn't get through. There was an odd beeping sound on the other end of the line. Panicked, I held out the receiver to the person who was delivering my breakfast (I normally don't order room service, but when you have a call to make at 6.45am and then no break until your flight at 2 needs must). 'What does this mean?' I said. She looked at me blankly. 'This sound! What does it mean?' She listened and then very politely, said it meant the line was busy.
I called Donna, the brilliant PR person who'd been given the unenviable task of shepherding this Englishman on his first 'phone' tour. 'Which number did you call?' she said. 'The first one.' There was a pause, then she said, 'You were supposed to call that one an hour ago...'
It turns out my sheet was in Eastern Time and I wasn't. 'Don't worry,' said Donna, aware that I was about to burst into tears. I explained that I was English, and we're not used to having more than one time zone in the same country, and even though I knew that that was the case in the US it'd never crossed my mind that I might have to correct the time myself. She laughed. 'This happens,' she said. 'It's fine.'
And it was. She rescheduled the interviews I'd missed through being stupid and asleep, and the rest of the calls went without a hitch (more or less...). And then I flew to...
I've never been to Miami before, and I wasn't really sure what to expect. The hotel was lovely, though (good job, as I was to spend most of my time sitting in it, on the phone to radio presenters around the country) and the city itself felt very welcoming. On the first night went to Books and Books, which is a great store in Coral Gables, where I read some of Before I Go to Sleep and answered some questions from the audience. Then it was a day of interviews before another very enjoyable event in Murder on the Beach in Delray Beach. This time I didn't read from the book, but instead talked about some of the ideas in it. Once again I was struck by how interested and engaged everyone seemed, and I had a great time.
Then it was off to South Beach, where I had a few more radio interviews to do before spending a couple of days relaxing before the flight home.
It was a great tour, all in all. Busy, but exciting, and it was wonderful to meet people who'd read the book or were interested in doing so. I hope to meet many more over the next few months!