With so much traveling last week, I didn’t get a chance to properly mention the actual publication day of Fog Island Mountains. Officially, on November 4th—while I was somewhere 30,000 feet up between Geneva and NYC and reading several wonderful novels—the book came out. It is extremely exciting to note the publication of my first novel. This is something I’ve waited and hoped for, and I’m extremely grateful in terms of the book’s road to publication with Tantor and Audible through the Christopher Doheny Award from Audible and The Center for Fiction. I had the chance to learn more about this remarkable young man while I was in New York and I’m really touched that the judges thought he would have enjoyed my book, but also that they felt it was a suitable tribute to his life.
I read from the book last Thursday at The Center for Fiction. And there are some photos of that event. The Center for Fiction is a beautiful gem of bookish goodness right in the middle of Manhattan. If I lived anywhere near New York, I’d be spending as much time as possible here. That night was also special because I finally got to meet Rebecca from Of Books and Bikes. We’ve been blogging friends for years and it was such a treat to finally meet her. (She is as smart and kind as we’ve all suspected all these years.)
And on Friday evening, there was a reception at Audible with Christopher Doheny’s family and friends. It was so wonderful to hear stories about him—my favorite being that he set up a program at Audible to curate books from the small/independent presses to be made into audio books. He was an early champion of Paul Harding’s Tinkers, an exceptional book and one of my all-time favorites. I left that evening wishing I’d had a chance to meet him, I think we would have had much in common.
Beth Anderson at Audible conducted a small reading and interview with me that evening, but one that is also a wonderful tribute to Christopher Doheny and the award that will continue on in his name.
The book is out in the world now, and there are reviews popping up here and there. I’ll be sure to link to them for anyone who is interested. On Thursday morning I spent about six hours talking to twelve different radio stations. This was a fascinating experience – to hear how people are approaching the book and to get the chance to discuss it and answer questions. I have been stunned at the kindness and curiosity of so many people. Some of my favorite questions were about the book’s structure, about how the book dealt with cultural issues, and just simply about the setting in rural southern Japan.
One of the best parts of this experience with the radio was three hosts who read out parts of the book, passages they had marked. It is a little strange (in a good way) to hear my own words read back to me, and it was neat to see which parts they really enjoyed. I’ll finish up here with one of those passages:
Now the floor trembles without his taking angry steps; this is how the mountain releases its own tension, little earthquakes, shudders of rock against earth against rock, mild displacements—all reminders of the steam and heat beneath the rocks, beneath our feet.