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A Dinner in Boston

This is the first blog from the pre-sale book tour for my first novel, Amity & Sorrow. What’s a pre-sale book tour, you ask? It’s a new term to me, too. But it means that writers get to meet the booksellers who will be handselling their books before the book is out – but it seems that only the marvellous Hachette does the Pre-Sale Author Dinner, with great food and book chat.

Braving the snow, intrepid booksellers arrived from the towns and cities of Massachusetts. We met at Boston’s elegant The Met Back Bay, hosted by sales rep Roger Saginario, and became fast friends over salad and the enormous main courses that served to remind me I was back in America. It was my first dinner, but they broke me in gently, asking questions that helped to bring out the larger ideas of the book’s world. It was also my first event meeting readers – in the flesh – and I must admit that it was very heady, very thrilling. Conversations veered from the nature of cults and faith to the Dust Bowl and the great books of the west. As a former bookseller, it is a giant leap forward for the life of my book, which will soon exist in all its paper (and electronic) glory. And as a writer – and a reader – it was the very best of book chats, one I wished would never end. I went home with a list of books that I “must read” and fizzing with ideas about how to talk about Amity & Sorrow through the questions and observations of these incredibly knowledgeable and generous booksellers (and the lovely librarian, Maura.) It was my first event with booksellers and I will never, ever forget it. And the best part of it all? These are independent booksellers from thriving, beautiful, independent shops. If you find yourself in Massachusetts, do go and visit them – I plan to!

Special thanks to these fantastic independent bookshops for a lovely, lovely evening:
Buttonwood Books:
Harvard Book Store
Hugo Bookstores
Odyssey Books
Porter Square Books
The Paper Store
Willow Books & Cafe
And the librarian for Weymouth Public Library

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