Saturday, April 5, 2014

"This is Your Life" Meets a Book Tour with a dash of Thelma and Louise

If you're even a casual reader of this blog, you know I've been writing and pursuing publication for years and day dreaming for just as many years about what it would be like to have my book on the bookstore shelves. My day dreams tended to be very specific. I could visualize myself signing books and doing library and school visits. I imagined the book launch party and the interviews and the movie deals and the large advance and royalty checks.

Some of these things have come true (see: book signings, library and school visits, interviews, book launch parties)

Some, alas, have not (see: movie deals, $$$) 

But, one thing I did not ever think about was what I will call the This is Your Life aspect of book promotion.

My book launch party last September had a guest list that included my book club, my neighbors, my Bunco group, my local SCBWI chapter fellow writers, my best friend and her teen daughter, my best friend from college who now lives in Minnesota, my mother, and my in-laws. Plus, numerous librarians and teachers from the area.

When I went to Lexington KY (a place I lived for ten years) to sign books at Morris Book Shop, I visited a school where I used to teach and had a blast catching up with old teacher friends and students, and I reconnected with friends from my uber-volunteer PTA days, many of whom had no idea that I was a writer. 

During my visit to Memphis (where I went to college and taught high school English) I signed books at the Booksellers at Laurelwood and saw old college friends, including my roommate and several sorority sisters, a few of my former students (and their parents!), the best man from my wedding, and my cousins.

A trip to Nashville to sign books at Parnassus Bookstore led to a reconnection with a college friend (and a trip to the university where she is now a professor) and a cool bonding experience with my in-laws. I also had a chance to have dinner with a sorority sister and lunch with another college friend who is now a sociology professor at Vanderbilt.

I feel like I'm caught up in that old game show "This Is Your Life," where the announcer parades long lost relatives and friends on stage while you cry. (I've never actually seen this show, but I have seen the Sesame Street version.)

But now, the grand daddy of all book tours is about to begin... 

Tomorrow, I embark upon a whirlwind trip to Connecticut (where I grew up). I'll be visiting schools and libraries and a bookstore. Also, I'm doing my first ever TV interview at a local public TV station. 

It's all very exciting and cool but I must admit there is an anxiety factor involved too. Picture how you feel before you attend your 25th high school reunion. You're curious to see old friends. You're a little nervous about how they'll perceive you vs how they once knew you. Now, throw in a talk at the library where you checked out books when you were ten and a bookstore visit with three writers you don't know and

a ten hour car trip with your mother

if you want to get a sense of how I'm feeling as I pack my suitcases today...

Yeah. This is going to be interesting. 

Here's the schedule--in case you live up that way and want to poke your head in to see how I deal:

Monday April 7
*Wilbraham & Monson Academy in Wilbraham, MA

*Storrs Library, Longmeadow, 6:30 (open to the public) (My college friend and sorority sister Noel set this visit in motion. Fun fact about Noel that she may not know: she is the reason I married my husband.)

Tuesday April 8
*Interview for the Meet the Author series at Wethersfield TV14 (thanks Uncle Don for getting this one in the works!)

*New Britain High School (thanks to Beth M., now an English teacher there, once my across the street neighbor) 

*Book Club and dinner with Beth's mom and her book club. Also, my mom.

Wednesday, April 9
*Willard School, Berlin, CT (I keep forgetting I have story in Highlights Magazine. I will be reading and discussing it with the second graders there. Thanks to my Mom and darling niece for setting this visit up)

*New Britain Library, New Britain CT 7-9 pm (Open to the public) I'm talking writing and growing up in New Britain (This is going to be a fun one--equal parts Casella family reunion and St Joseph School and Aquinas High School class reunions....) Also, I may once and for all solve the Mystery of the Missing Librarian

Thursday, April 10
*Metropolitan Business Academy, New Haven CT and the all-city New Haven teen book club
(Plus, a side trip to see my son at college)

*RJ Julia Bookstore, Madison CT 6:00 (open to the public) Book Panel discussion with Jennifer Castle, Kim Purcell, and Phoebe North. We're talking "Survivors in YA Fiction," answering questions about writing and publishing, and signing our books. 

Tune in soon for the post trip recap.


  1. Also excited about the ten hour road trips. Very proud of my author daughter.

    1. Oh, dear sweet mother o' mine. How I adore you and your conversation and your intense desire to share all possible routes to every destination.

  2. I'm upset that I only just heard you were here in CT & I missed you by a month! Not only in CT, but in Berlin, where I live! Guess that's what happens when one cancels the newspapers. I stumbled across a Facebook post on a friend's wall who works at NBPL about an author coming to the library. Then it said Jody Casella, & I thought "my Jody?"... then your photo appeared!! Omg, it was like looking at your lovely mom! I definitely would have been there, Patty & Jody! Xoxo, Rosie DeConti Weed

    1. Shoot, Rosie! I can't believe we missed each other. I would've loved to see you! I will be back again soon and I'll be sure to let you know : )

    2. Excellent! Hi to the family!