My book tour in support of The Shaman of Turtle Valley is more of a hit-and-run than a tour, as I continue to make appearances now and then when the opportunity arises. I’m very pleased with the reaction I’m getting to the book and am keen to reach more readers with it.
I visited Richmond mid-month for a joint appearance at Fountain Bookstore with novelist and poet Valerie Nieman. This was fun for a few reasons. First, I went down early in the day and spent some time at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, where I’m an out-of-town member. I try to get to the museum a couple of times a year, whenever I’m in Richmond. I was especially keen to see the Awaken exhibit of Tibetan art, which was wonderful. Second, Richmond is a literary city, with an active community of writers, and I was hopeful that some of my writer friends would come out to learn about the book. And third, Val Nieman is an old friend—we both got our MFA from Queens University of Charlotte and have published books with Press 53.
We began by reading short passages from our latest books (Val’s new book, To the Bones, is from West Virginia University Press) and explaining what they’re about. Then, because the event was billed as a conversation, we asked each other questions: about the supernatural elements we’ve used, about the cross-genre nature of the books, about the importance of setting the books in the mountains, and, in my case, the juxtaposing of settings in Korea and Virginia. And then we opened the discussion to questions from the audience. The time went by fast because it was so much fun.
Kelly Justice, owner of Fountain Bookstore, is very supportive of small press authors, which I appreciate. Some bookstores are reluctant to host events with authors from small presses, but Kelly said in her opening remarks that much good work is coming from the small presses, and those presses and authors are very supportive of independent bookstores, so she wants to return the favor. That’s the kind of attitude I really love in a bookstore, so thank you to Kelly. She has signed copies of The Shaman of Turtle Valley in stock, so swing by the store to get one, or order one online from her.
Then, after a fun trip to New York—I’ll describe that in a separate post—I headed up to Winchester, Virginia, for an event at the historic Handley Library. What a beautiful building that is! The event was hosted and organized by 1455 Literary Arts (formerly known as Virginia Center for Literary Arts), which is slowly building a presence in Winchester, with plans for a festival, residencies, and a host of other activities. For our event, 1455’s founder and Executive Director, Sean Murphy, interviewed me in front of the audience (after I did a short reading), and asked me about the book, my varied career, and current projects. After a Q&A session with the audience, I signed books—sales were handled by Winchester’s Book Gallery, which has the book in stock for those who weren’t able to attend the event. (By the way, the 1455 Summer Literary Festival is coming soon—July 18-20—and has a great lineup of speakers.) I look forward to doing more with 1455 in the future.