Probably one of the most interesting things connected with the launch of a new book is all of the unique people that you get to meet in the course of doing book signings and related events.
This week I had a signing at the 'famous' Harvard Sq. Coop - site of many a setting for Mick and Bridget the two main characters in my new novel, Shadow of Innocence, and just one block from the fictitious cramped 3d floor walk-up office of the family business, McCarthy & Son Private Investigations.
It was interesting and certainly stimulating but I gotta say, I had forgotten just how 'different' Harvard Sq really is. For one thing, even the bag ladies and homeless people panhandling outside the entrance to the T Station are intellectual. Give them a quarter and they'll recite a Shakespearean couplet. Drop a bill in the cup and you can hear a dissertation on Socrates.
So you can imagine the crowd I drew for the Shadow signing at the Coop. There was an espresso bar on the 3'd floor where the visiting authors speak and I'm quite frankly not sure if it was me or the free espresso that drew them in, but it fueled a three hour discussion of Shadow in ways I'd never thought of in my wildest dreams ( and I've got to tell you that some of my dreams are pretty freakin' wild)
There was a lady from Yugoslavia, educated in Russia and on a research grant at Harvard Med. who told me that my story reminded
her of Anna Karenina ... Really ?!!
And that started a long group discussion as to why the McCarthy father, ' Big Mike' would attempt to marry above his class and betray his roots as a proletariat. I had to tell them that this would never even have occurred to Mike and that he was less concerned with class struggles and more with bopping bad guys over the head and bailing his kid Mickey out of trouble. They all nodded and then another free-for-all started between a guy from Jamaica and a girl from Macedonia over post-modern Marxism as an underlying theme of my book. Fascinating.
I never dreamed that my little novel about good guys, bad guys, a feisty pair of lovers and a deranged but highly intelligent psychopath, could provide the tinder for such a bonfire of intellect. Almost makes you feel worthwhile doesn't it?
I'd like to be able to tell you that they bought dozens of copies of Shadow to grace the walls of Harvard's Winthrop House or Elliot Hall, but in the end, I think it worked out to about a half dozen copies. Outside of the Yugoslavian Med School researcher on a grant and a couple of undergrad's with accounts at the Coop, I got the impression that although the brain power was illuminating, the ready access to capital was in shorter supply.
Well you can't have everything. I did another signing this week where a guy bought two copies and had them signed to his wife and daughter. "I don't like to read, "he told me. "But my wife and daughter do, and when you were talking you sounded kinda smart and sort of funny. Who knows," he added as he walked away, "maybe some day you'll be famous."
Hummm, I thought. Will I be? And if so, will it last for more than the 15 minutes that everyone is supposed to get?
Sounds like a good question for my next trip back to Harvard Square.
Shadow of Innocence
Kunati - April 2007
New from Kunati Publishing: SHADOW OF INNOCENCE - The Newport Folk Festival provides a groovy backdrop for this fun and exciting mystery set in the music and drug soaked sixties. The Baby Boomers and everyone else are sure to enjoy this appealing mystery featuring a pair of musician partners in love and danger. Don't miss Shadow of Innocence! From Kunati Publishing. Available now on; Amazon and at bookstores everywhere.