Up for Air!

Baaaah! Big intake of air! … I’ve returned from the murky depths of trying to get the word out about Running Away to Home. It’s good to be back on the keyboard again. Once you write a book, it seems, all you do is talk about yourself and not write.

Talking about the book for interviews, and pitching to editors and producers, sort of reduces the whole beautiful endeavor to a few brief talking points. “It’s about how my family and I sold our stuff and went to the Croatian mountain village of my ancestors” … “We never did get that recipe for rakija, but you can figure it out if you watch YouTube and can speak Bulgarian” … or, my personal favorite, “Well, not everyone can have a cow on the first floor of their house.” That was Jim, on CNN American Morning hosted by Christine Romans.

Christine and I went to college together, and we helped run the Iowa State Daily when we were students. She was an enthusiastic interviewer, and made it easy for the two rubes on the couch with her. At one point, when we were in the green room (which is not green), I slipped out to hit the bathroom after my fourth cup of free coffee. When I returned, Jim was talking to Deepak Chopra about the morality of drone missiles. Of course, Jim had no idea who he was speaking with. Here’s an excerpt of the conversation:

Jim: “Aren’t you nervous?”

Chopra: “No. I do this every day.”

Jim: “Ha! Me, too.”

So that’s doing press for a book. I’ve posted the CNN interview on the press page for this site. Photos from the weekend in New York with my sweetheart are here. I’ve posted other various interviews, including Talk of Iowa and All Things Considered, also on the press page, in case you wonder where the hell I’ve been for the past few months.

What I like best is meeting actual readers face to face. I’ve done several book signings, and those rock. People ask questions and talk about what resonated for them. Some show me old pictures or books or family keepsakes from Mrkopalj. Some complain that the book is too expensive, and I agree with them. I bring (storebought) rakija and I share, whether they think the book is too expensive or not. Some just want to say thanks for writing it, and I swear those words travel back in time to sustain the sweaty midnight writer who was just putting the finishing touches on Running Away to Home one year ago right now.

It’s pretty special to meet your readers, and to know that this thing you did was truly appreciated. It fills up the tanks in a way I’ve never experienced before.

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