Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dispatch from a Week of Warmup Touring

In the Devil's Territory is doing pretty well in its first week. I'm hearing reports from around the country that it's well-stocked at Barnes & Noble, and my editor says they've shipped lots and lots of boxes. All good signs.

I'm on the road, doing a few readings in Kentucky and North Carolina, and, in-between, holing up in a hotel room to do some revisions on my novel.

Monday night I read in Nicholasville, Kentucky, one hour south of Lexington, at the Jessamine County Public Library. The crowd was small but enthusiastic, even though it was Election Eve and there was a University of Kentucky basketball game going on at the same time. The best part was that I got to read with Jim Tomlinson, author of the beautiful story collection Things Kept, Things Left Behind, which was chosen by George Saunders to win the Iowa Short Fiction Prize a few years back. I've been a fan of Jim's for a long time, so it was a treat to meet him and hear his work in his own voice (which was, upon reflection, pretty much like the voice I heard in my head as I read him before I ever heard his voice.)

On the way down, I stopped in Chillicothe, Ohio, and ate a late breakfast with my buddy from grad school, Don Pollock, whose story collection Knockemstiff is probably the most explosive book anybody in the world published in 2008. I also got to eat dinner in Nicholasville with Juliana Gaddis, the library's events director, and Ron Critchfield, the library director. We had barbeque and swapped stories. Juliana's was the best. Her parents were missionaries in Medellin, Columbia, at the height of the conflict between the American government and Pablo Escobar's drug cartel. As the feds began to seek extradition on Escobar's drug lords, the cartel let it be known that for every Columbian extradited, twenty Americans would be kidnapped. All the American businesses pulled out, but Juliana's parents stayed. They didn't tell their children about the kidnapping threat, and watched through the window of their compound every afternoon, as the children danced in short pants in December, thinking they were in paradise.

I'm also doing a "blog tour" this week, and the first post is up at Laura Benedict's Notes from the Handbasket blog, where I type about the ten books I hope my children will read before they're grown. Later this week I'll also post at Largehearted Boy, Sarah Weinman's Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind, and The Syntax of Things.

If you live anywhere near Winston-Salem, North Carolina, please come out and see me read at the Borders at the Thruway Center, Friday night at 7 pm, with Denzil Strickland, author of the novel Swimmers in the Sea.

Also, don't forget that Kathy's new book of poetry Oneiromance is now available for sale. I've seen it. It's quite good.


Anonymous said...

Kyle, I will be there in Winston Salem driving up from charlotte. I have read your book cover to cover twice already. My favorite stoyr is the title story. I like the way you end it. its a good metaphor for the way everybody is half sorry in a corporate way. no responsibility taken. Its a good book anyway. Thank you for writing it. I hope to meet you soon.

Scott Locke

Anonymous said...

Hey Kyle, will you head North to the Washington, DC area? Do you have an appearance scheduled? rsvp!

Anonymous said...

Kyle will you be in San Francisco Bay area? We want to meet you in person. Your book is very good.