Today was my last day in New York, and as a very special final reason for being here, I had a meeting with my US publisher Lucia Macro, who will be publishing The Paris Wedding. Visiting a publisher is always less like going to an office and more like going to a candy store. The Hachette offices in Sydney have always been like that for me (books everywhere) and HarperCollins in New York is no different. It's way downtown, on Broadway quite near the World Trade Centre, and has books, everywhere, books, including a floor for children's publishing where such immortal favourites as Where The Wild Things Are and Goodnight Moon looked out from the shelves. I know both of those by heart. It was very special to stand in a place like that.
Of course, I spotted a good deal of amazing adult titles as well: Rachael Gibson's many novels, a few of Neil Gaiman's, gosh dozens of others … there was even a SECRET CUPBOARD FULL OF BOOKS with a sign that said to TAKE WHATEVER YOU PLEASE (***honest, this was true, except not really a secret) and then I rounded a corner and saw this: (Cue fangirl moment)
For anyone who doesn't know me, Michael Crichton's books were a huge influence in my life. They got me interested in reading again in my early teenage years, and I've read every novel he ever published (excepting one or two of the early, pseudonym ones). I've also re-read a number of them over and over. Needless to say, it's a special case of fandom, which is something I am not for just about anything else (except horses, and Michael Biehn's work in the 80s). You know how you're supposed to remember where you were when you heard that Princess Di had died? Well … I remember where I was when I heard Crichton had died, sadly far too young. That should perhaps tell you enough.
Posthumously, two more of his novels have been released, but those have been out for ages, so I was really surprised to learn several months ago that another was coming in May. I've had it on order. So knock me down when (after my fangirl moment) I was offered a copy on the spot. YES. It's very carefully wrapped in my scarf now, so that I can at my leisure read it on the flight home. It's a hard cover, with cut pages, and gloriously beautiful maps on the inside covers. I'm very rarely thrilled by material objects, but this is one of those occasions. It's the spinkles on the chocolate sauce on top of the cherry.
Speaking of food, after all that excitement, I got to enjoy a lovely lunch with my publisher where we talked about so many things - New York, Australia, publishing, politics. A great time was had, especially by me. My publisher took a great deal of time out of her day to show me around and do lunch, so a huge, huge thanks for such a generous gesture. It made my whole week.
After that I had to head to the airport (that story in the next blog) where I am now sitting, eating skittles (because metaphorical candy stores can be followed by actual ones) and wishing there was a Starbucks or something like it on this side of the security gate (JFK is not known for its friendliness). Ahead is about another hour of waiting, then a shade under six hours to LA, two hours of layover, and 13 or so hours back to Brisbane. It's a long way home, but no regrets at all about coming. None at all.