Monday, March 16, 2015


Ever since I was first published nearly twenty years ago, I wanted to go on a book tour. Unfortunately, book tours aren't as common as they once were; publishers have decided they're expensive and don't offer a very good return on investment. So I was stunned when my publishers offered to send me on tour for the tenth Sebastian St. Cyr book. Then I saw the schedule and I thought maybe I'd fallen into one of those "be careful what you wish for" scenarios.
Yes, it was exhausting, but it was also unbelievably exhilarating. The nice thing about going on tour for your tenth mystery as opposed to, say, your first, is that the people you're meeting already know your books. I met so many readers who love Sebastian and Hero and Gibson and Tom and Hendon and Kat as much as I do, and I can't tell you how exciting that was. I could talk about these books forever and the book tour gave me the opportunity to do juch that.
The only frustrating aspect (apart from the whole lack of sleep and mealtimes thing) was that I spent so little time in each city. I'd fly in with barely enough time to dump my bags at the hotel and get to the bookstore; have the signing; eat dinner; go to bed; get up at the crack of dawn (or before) to make it to the airport and move on to the next city. It wasn't until Seattle, the last leg of the tour, that I finally had an afternoon to play tourist. And since I hadn't been to Seattle since 1978 (yes: ouch), I loved it. (Thank you, Sabena!)

My hosts ranged from New Orleans' own Garden District Bookstore and Houston's Murder by the Book, both old friends; to the amazingly huge Powell's in Portland (it really says something about the readers of Portland that they support not one, but multiple independent bookstores of that size); to the cozy and charming specialty bookstore, Seattle Mystery Bookshop; to Poisoned Pen, which is a truly awe-inspiring operation. A huge thank you to each and every one of my readers who came out to see me and helped make the tour not just a success, but fun.

And I even managed to snap a photo of Idaho's snow covered mountains and wave as I flew home.

CAUTION: There are spoilers in the comments, so if you haven't finished WHO BURIES THE DEAD, don't read them!


JustWingingIt said...

I really enjoyed getting to hear you in person during your Houston stop. I don't know if you were nervous at all but you seemed like a natural. Now begins the long wait until book 11! I'm really looking foward to Sebastian digging into his family's secrets. I'm a bit bummed about Knox though, I can not tell a lie.


cs harris said...

Vernoica, I really don't get nervous, probably because I'm talking about something I love. I must admit I'm bummed about Knox, too. I had a lot of reasons for doing it. One day I may do a "below the fold" explanation of why.

JustWingingIt said...

I thought Hero's brother was named David. I could be wrong.


paz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
paz said...

Very intense! Though this is probably the last thing you want to think about, for your 11th book tour perhaps you can stop by the NY/PA/CT region ...

I did want to ask -- who and how were the cities you visited in the tour chosen? Strong independent bookstores? We are beginning to get some of those back in several neighborhoods around here, but obviously nothing like what you are describing.

Finally, like Veronica, I did get very sad about Jamie's passing. It was particularly poignant because he seemed to be mellowing out. Of course, totally get the complications that his life presented for the plot. But it was fun watching him and Sebastian try to figure each other out.

MelodyInOR said...

Thanks again for coming. Was funny to run into you before it started. Sorry that everything happened with indie afterward. Also, I was wrong about thinking I had to catch up on more of the books. I forgot I had caught up on all of them except Why Kings Confess. I'm currently in the middle of reading it now.

Melody said...

Oops I just saw the Knox comment so now I've been spoiled. Oh well :)

Lynne said...

Spoilers don't matter...I'm just waiting on the library for my copy. Whoever got in line ahead of me is a slow reader!
Your trip sounds wonderful and fun and I'm sure I saw you fly over, heading for those mountains in Idaho. (It's about all the snow there is in the Pacific Northwest this year.) And I'm the middle picture at Pike's Place Market? It sure looks like it. I'm so glad the tour was a success!

cs harris said...

Veronica, yes, his name was David. It would have been a nice touch to name the baby after Hero's dead brother, but I had a boyfriend named David from whom I parted on unpleasant terms. Should have named her brother Simon!

Paz, I think they chose them by looking at the parts of the country where my sales are strongest, plus if there is a bookstore that has asked for me to come. I know Poisoned Pen has been lobbying Penguin to send me out there for years.

Melody, oh, dear; I'm sorry. I've added a warning to the post to avoid the comments if one hasn't finished the book.

Lynne, yes, it is Pike's Place Market. I was amazed how little snow there was in the Cascades.

rebecca said...

I took the day off last week and sat in heaven reading the book with my map of London nearby to spot the locations. I loved it! I especially liked your handling of Jane Austen and absolutely adored the fact that there was an Anne and a Captain she had to wait for as suspects. I caught the allusion to Persuasion--perhaps that is how Ms. Austen got her inspiration for that novel ?!
This was my favorite so far with a number of moments to savor between Sebastian and Hero. I was pleased that Sinclair Oliphant met his timely demise at the hands of another so that it doesn't hang over Sebastian's head.

cs harris said...

Rebecca, oh, I'm so glad you enjoyed it. And yes, that's what I was playing with--as if Anne and her captain inspired Jane to write Persuasion. And I'm glad you liked the fact that Sebastian didn't kill Oliphant because the PW reviewer hated that. I thought it showed evolution in the way Sebastian deals with his trauma, but I guess all didn't agree!

JustWingingIt said...

I didn't mind that Sebastian didn't "handle" Oliphant himself though, yes, I admit that as a reader there would've been a certain satisfaction to it. Maybe we're all a tad too bloodthirsty, lol. That said, I found the manner in which he chose to ensure that particular loose end was tied off highly amusing. Though...part of me would've liked to see Oliphant hang around as a looming threat for a bit longer.

Basically, there were a number of ways you could've written this particular aspect of the story and all would've worked, in my opinion.

Oh! Hero's necklace (that used to be Sophia's) - will there be more coming up with that or is that the last we'll see of it?


Anonymous said...

C- so your trip sounded very successful and rewarding! i'm so happy for you. but it also sounded beyond exhausting. i would have fallen down by now. i hope you are able to take a break and rest up. i don't know if you saw my post on indie but like everyone else - i am so very sorry and hope you and the family will feel better soon. words are never enough. best, Ali

Anonymous said...

I found a mistake in Who Buries ...

On page 6, Lovejoy is referred to as being in his 50s. On page 7, Devlin is referred to as two score and five years younger. A score is 20 years. That would make him about ten years of age. I suspect the intention was a score and five years which would make Devlin 30 if Lovejoy is 55.

I so enjoy the series and the characters. Thank you.

cs harris said...

Veronica, yes, the necklace plays a significant role in WHEN FALCONS FALL.

Ali, it was very exhausting, partly because I'd get an adrenaline high from the signings, not be able to sleep, then have to get up super early. And then after I got home I went days not sleeping with Indie. Now, of course, I'm sick (but getting better).

Anon, yes, several people have pointed that odd mistake out to me. Unfortunately, it's too late to fix all those books!

Susan J. said...

I'm glad you enjoyed your tour, even if it was exhausting. The Jane Austen theme sounds interesting in 'Who Buries The Dead'. I read somewhere that she once visited a house where there was a portrait of a woman who had actually had a secret marriage to a Naval Officer and it was suggested that she may have got the inspiration for 'Persuasion' from that story. I think the house belonged to a relative of her mother's. I'll have to look through my books on Austen to see if I can find the actual facts.

RevMelinda said...

I so enjoyed meeting you and I love having a personally autographed copy of "Who Buries the Dead!" Your presentation and question/answer session was fabulous (and by the way, I bet if anyone could pull off a French Revolution-set series, it would be you). I'm sorry that you didn't get a chance to see more of Portland. . . next time (!) perhaps you can strong-arm the publishers to build in a few more hours for wandering the city (or perhaps tea with fans at the Heathman Hotel, or doughnuts at Voodoo Doughnuts?). It breaks my heart that you came home and had to face the death of your dear Indie. You are in my thoughts.

Wizardess said...

Gah. Really? Really? JK & Sebastian seemed like they were just getting started!Respectfully disagree with this decision. Loved all the Austen stuff, though. Will look forward to the next one. Maybe you can do a prequel w/JK!!

cs harris said...

Susan, that's interesting! I'd never heard that. Persuasion is by far my favorite of her books.

RevMelinda, I was so glad to get the chance to meet you. And I would love to go back to Portland and spend some more time there. Given how fast Indie went, I'm just grateful he didn't die while I was gone. That would have been unbearable. Instead, he died in my arms.

Wizardess, I did have very good reasons. I really should do a "below the fold" post on why I did it. My editor agrees with you--she also is making noises about a prequel!

Judith Weller said...

I was so upset about Jaimie Knox's death - I felt that it was gratuitous and unnecessary. There were other ways you could have used the nightingale in the plot without making Jaimie die. I have never understood why authors feel compelled to "kill off" a popular character. Maybe you did not consider him popular but I did. I almost wish you could rewrite that part and issue another version of the book. It really upset me.

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