Traveling is both the privilege and the curse of a writer’s life.
I spent the the end of March driving all over Southern California, some time in LA followed by a long stint in the Inland Empire. I did three book events in that time, when I wasn’t visiting my mom and trying to eat all the Mexican food that would fit into my gluttonous mouth-hole.
My first appearance was on March 19th, at the Menifee campus of Mt. San Jacinto Community College, of which I am a graduate and from which I transferred to Berkeley. It was a thrill to be back and to talk to a crowd that wanted to know what people do when they leave MSJC and shoot for the moon. What follows is 40 minutes of my story of becoming a writer and taking questions about that process.
(Put this on while you have time to spare, or while you’re washing the dishes or something. I am incredibly long-winded when talking about the thing I love most.)
My second appearance was at the Hemet Public Library. I believe in library systems and use mine every week. When we lived in Hemet, my husband and my MiL both worked at this branch, and it’s always been special to us. That crowd got a reading and a long Q&A, and then bought all the books I had.
I believe in libraries. As someone who grew up very poor, I think of them as one of the best spaces I had access to as a child. It was a clean, well-lighted place staffed with helpful people and full of books I could read for free. I learned how to use computers in a public library, and I was always allowed to belong there in a way that was freeing and unstructured and without expectation.
Finding my book on library shelves is still a pretty emotional experience for me.
My final appearance on this trip to SoCal was at a private book club in Redlands. This group turned out to be all women, one of who was a former college professor of mine. I’ve never been at a table with so many people who read my book before. It was overwhelming in so many fantastic ways—they had specific questions and conspiracy theories and wanted to needle me about the sequel. I was drunk before my first glass of wine. They were incredible, and it was without a doubt one of my best experiences as a writer thus far.
I came home with about a day to spare before leaving for NorWesCon and the Philip K. Dick award. But that is a story for next time.