Monday, March 23, 2015

The non-book side of the Tucson Festival of Books

I agree with the dictum that blogs about events should be timely. Last weekend, not this past one, I had the pleasure of participating in the Tucson Festival of Books, an event that brings together writers on all levels, lots of publishers in the Southwest, as well as producers of educational aids, museums, and local groups. I had a lot of fun, sold a few books, and thought about posting a blog about the event. Other writers have done this already, so I put the idea aside. But I didn't forget it. A few things stood out, lingering in my memory, so I've decided to post them, even though I'm a week late.

First, Tucson is a very friendly city, and for someone born and raised in New England, the openness and friendliness is definitely culture shock. Plus there was no snow anywhere. I met a lot of people who evinced interest in my books, and to my surprise, actually bought copies. When I checked my Amazon sales records, I discovered they bought ebooks and paperbacks online as well. 

One of my hosts was the Desert Sleuths chapter of Sisters in Crime, a group I had never met but who invited me to join them on Saturday for an hour of signing.

Second, even allowing for the wind that sometimes felt like a visitation from the guy upstairs, the crowds were consistent throughout the weekend, without the extreme variation between the beginning of the event and the late afternoon on the second and last day. I expected the numbers to drop noticeably, but that didn't happen where I was.

Third, the tents with music were placed in such a way that one singer wasn't thwarted by another. This is just one example of the careful planning that went into the event. I saw Help tents at every intersection, large posters of event schedules (when the wind didn't blow them over), and numerous tents large and small for refreshments.

But last, I came across a tent that captured my attention and held it. The heading was "What if tomorrow never comes?" This is certainly provocative, and it set me to thinking. (I didn't know at the time that it was the title of a memoir by Neil David Schwartz.) The two empty chairs behind the table seemed to suggest one answer. If the future never comes, we won't be around either.

I decided to take away a simple homily. Today is better because it's filled with people, people doing
things even if what they're doing is longing for tomorrow or a different future. They're here, and life is now.

I've been working on an Anita Ray mystery that could have this heading for a title, and forcing each character to answer a similar question has proved far more interesting than I expected. Even Anita isn't ready for the question, but her Auntie Meena is. For once, dear, scatter-brained but devoted Auntie Meena is ahead of her beloved niece, Anita. We'll see what happens--in the future.


  1. Sounds like a great take-in! Wise choice for lots of reasons.

    1. Thanks, Marian. The festival is becoming known as one of the best. Thanks for commenting.