It wasn't easy.
But it had to be done. When I read House at Riverton, I was hypnotized for days and, as a writer, rather depressed. Who can compare with that for a first novel? It made my own little manuscript look like left over play-do on a Seasame Street set from 1982. And I'll be honest, I cried. A lot. But then, when the tears had stopped (or, I was in public again) I realized how grateful I was that there still were true artists in the world. Kate Morton is the real thing. Like Bronte, like Austen, like Cezanne. She's it.
Her and JK Rowling. But I digress.
As I sat down to read the Distant Hours on Sunday night, a little needling started at the back of my brain. "I wonder if she would ever visit Vroman's bookstore in Pasadena, California?" Now, if you've never been to Vroman's, I'm sorry. One of the last independent bookstores on the West Coast and just about the cutest thing you'll ever see, it also happens to be 2 hours away from where I live. However, back in the day when my best friend and I used to do cool things like hang out in independent bookstores, we accidentally found ourselves at a book signing for Anne Rice. And if Anne Rice could be in Vroman's, why not Kate Morton?!
So I looked. On Sunday night. She was scheduled -- on TUESDAY!
Oh how the logic and reason tumbled together with laziness and fatigue shouting that driving to Pasadena after teaching for 6 hours only to drive 2 hours home again might actually kill me. But this was Kate Morton, the only living writer I worship (and JK Rowling). So I did it. Yes I did. Got there two hours early ( you never know! The woman has sold more than 3 million books! Sheesh!) And I waited, alone for two hours. In the end, there were about 20 of us and I think I was the only one who had actually read the book. 20 people. For Kate Morton!
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ME!!!!!!!!
Those of you who write will understand. Most of the time you are a foreign species worrying about things most people would never consider. You have an inner dialogue that goes something like this "but she can't just go out in the forest, who would go out into forest in the middle of the winter. I don't care if there is a glow in the woods. Who cares?! I suck! This is horrible. My character has no backbone, no pacing, no motivation. I have no backbone, no pacing, no motivation. I'm fat." Something like this. We think about things like word choice and tone and bang our heads against walls when we suddenly realize that we've spent 2 long years writing a half-wit version of Jane Eyre. How marvelous it was to actually talk to someone who is so decidedly an expert and realize that she speaks "writer" too. That I speak "writer". I'm not making it up. My weirdness is allowed. I'm part of a group. A group with Kate Morton in it.
She spoke of her love of reading, the process of writing her book and the writing process in general. And here's the deal, folks, she's living the dream. She is quite simply as stunningly poised and beautifully elegant as her characters. She is an international best seller on an international book tour after spending 6 months living in England for research for the Distant Hours.
And she's gorgeous.
If there is a Heaven, I am convinced it looks a lot like the world of Kate Morton and if you want a peek into what that is, pick up one of her books -- you'll swim in it.
You can search here for my review on "House at Riverton".