As the April 2015 publication date of The Book that Proves Time Travel Happens gets closer and closer, there will probably be more photos such as this, of the author on his trans-temporal promotional tour. (Sorry, it can’t be helped.)
Scouts sent ahead to the year 2015 report the book is selling like hotcakes. Which is unfortunate, because our local International House of Hotcakes has been boarded up for decades.
Addams, a rare example of conjoined writers (or, to use the antiquated term, "Siamese authors,") is, or possibly are, credited with the invention of the “mash-up,” the literary form in which two seemingly incompatible genres are brought together between the covers of a single book. In 1953 he incorporated characters from Pride and Prejudice into an oil-burner repair manual and spent fourteen weeks at the top of the New York Times best-seller list.
In addition to having two heads, Addams has also admitted to having two butts. As he quipped during a panel discussion at the 2009 San Diego Comic Con, "If two heads are better than one, then two butts are better than none, especially if you're constipated!"
The Q&A went very well, and we talked about everything from the middle-school guidance counselor who told me I would never be a writer (a deeply suppressed memory that the tweens’ needle-sharp interrogation brought to the surface; fortunately the library had a defibrillator ) to William Faulkner’s advice to writers, “kill your darlings.” My young audience had been unaware that William Faulkner was a serial killer, and many resolved to go out as him this Halloween. Suggesting, of course, the following Halloween doorstep scene:
Them: Trick or Treat!
Homeowner: Oh, how cunning! What an adorable Tinkerbelle! And such a cute zombie! And, oh! What a creepy William Faulkner! And, behind you, is that big, bad, Ernest Hemingway? Who’s that hiding in the cardboard box at the back? Oh! J. D. Salinger!
At my house, we’ve traditionally given out Oh Henrys and Clark bars on Halloween.
In case you were wondering.
Met with my editor and assistant editor on Tuesday in a restaurant where crispy pork bellies were on the menu but the waiter wiped them off with a damp cloth. We discussed the many sentences I write in which a pronoun’s antecedent is ambiguous. I argued that for a humor writer this can be a good thing. They (the editors, not the pork bellies) did not agree.
Discussed my next book, tentatively titled The Book that Proves Time Travel Happens, due out from Little, Brown in April of 2015, which only sounds like the far future if you’re mentally sitting at home on Friday, September 8, 1966, watching the premiere of Star Trek, which I perpetually am, communicating only during perceived commercial breaks, which makes conversation spotty. By 2015 we will all have flying cars and people will be reading books by swallowing them as pills, and I expressed the hope that mine would be published as a chewable, since the intended audience is children, but my editor informed me that by 2015 Amazon plans to be selling children’s books in the form of PEZ candy, while offering the proprietary Amazon PEZ dispensers at cost or slightly below in a ploy to corner the market.
Walked the dog when I got home. She spent a good five minutes sniffing the base of one particular stop sign, reading the traces of all the dogs who had passed that way earlier, then added a trace of her own, and I realized this is how dogs blog, which she verified by rubbing her back against the sign and looking up at me as if to say Best Post Ever.
It’s late September and I really should be back in school, but tuition is so horrendous I’ve decided to sit this semester out, and listen to old Rod Stewart records instead. (Don’t you hate it when a blog entry begins with a sentence that should have been used as a tweet? I know I do. It used to be one of the rules of good blogging grammar, but nobody's teaching good blogging grammar anymore.) Where was I? September.
The Eva Perry Mock Newbery Award nominees (so far) have been announced, and What We Found in the Sofa is on the initial list!
Mock Newberys are chosen by a number of different Mock Newbery book clubs, organized by libraries and schools across America. Kids in the clubs read books written for kids, and try to guess what the actual, non-mock Newbery committee, composed of mock children (that is, adults) will select in January as “the most distinguished American children's book published the previous year.” (And, of course, it’s that “distinguished” part that greatly diminishes the winning chances of any book featuring a hot-air balloon in the shape of a giant toilet bowl. What was I thinking?)
The twenty-five kids in the Eva Perry club have so far narrowed down the possibilities to nineteen titles, which they’ve listed alphabetically, and fortunately for me, National Book Award finalist Paolo Bacigalupi published Zombie Baseball Beatdown this year, so What We Found in the Sofa is not the last book on the list. (I, for one, never expected to use the phrases “National Book Award finalist” and “Zombie Baseball Beatdown” in the same sentence, but sometimes life throws you a curve, and it turns out to be a severed zombie head.)
If you click on the above screen capture of the book club website and go to the blog entry entitled “Favorites (so far) for 2013-2014” there are two photos of the extraordinary kids in the club. Click the photo at the top to see the kids who will probably vote for Clare Vanderpool’s Navigating Early. Click the photo at the bottom to see the kids who will probably vote for What We Found in the Sofa. (Or possibly Zombie Baseball Beatdown. Zombie is definitely a dark horse. Or maybe a flesh-eating cow.) The vote is going to be close; there’s almost the same number of kids in each group.
However it works out, gang, I’m really impressed with what you’ve read this year!
Yes, this is me, making "bunny ears" behind the stack of books sitting next to me. The habits of grade school die hard. And the habits of high school. And college. I always made the best, most convincing bunny ears. You'd swear it was a real bunny.
Bryan has performed stand-up comedy in New York City’s numerous comedy clubs, and for this particular book, that gives him a huge advantage, because my book is much funnier with a two-drink minimum. (Many years ago I, too, performed stand-up in New York - I proposed to my wife from the stage of Caroline’s; it was the only time she ever laughed - so it really is a small world, or, if not, certainly a redundant one.)
My marketing plan for the audiobook is to have the audiobook itself call people on their smartphones and say, “Hi! I’m the audio version of Henry Clark’s What We Found in the Sofa and How It Saved the World!
I am very well read! And you should be, too! Download me now!”
I’ve suggested this to Little, Brown’s marketing department. They said they’d get back to me.
The unexpected death of Sir Laurence Olivier on July 11, 24 years ago, has delayed the release of the audio version of What We Found in the Sofa and How It Saved the World. The audio book, which, according to Amazon, was slated for release on July 16, 2013, would probably have been read by Lord Olivier in the same voice he used for Richard III. Upon learning of Sir Larry’s death (those of us who knew of him felt privileged to call him Larry) the producers of the audio book scrambled to secure the services of the real Richard III, who had been found in a British car park earlier this year, thereby setting themselves up for yet another disappointment.
There is no word on a revised release date for the audio book.
My first book-signing will forever be my best book-signing, because of the unexpected turn out of friends, family, and former co-workers. Thank you all for being there. It meant a lot to me.
Since Thursday’s book signing at the Carle Place Barnes & Noble is for kids, and I tend to tower over most kids, and they insist on invading my personal space and looking up, I’ve adjusted my nose-hair clippers to the machete setting and spent a productive hour grooming myself. No point in me grossing them out. I’ve got a book to do that. (The results of the grooming, possibly mixed with a little alpaca wool, will make a nice sweater.)
Pictured here on the day he sold What We Found in the Sofa. His mood is cautiously optimistic.