My weekend tour of upstate New York went very well: the folks at both bookstores were lovely and welcoming, and I was delighted with Buffalo and Rochester. The high point was, as always, getting to talk to readers and fans in both cities. One fellow brought in the book he’d bought the week before. He knew I was coming, but he couldn’t wait to start reading Child of a Hidden Sea. This is, of course, the kind of thing an author hopes to hear hear everywhere we go.
There was some great food and good exploring to be hand, and the next best thing was the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo. This gallery has a mind-bogglingly wonderful collection, and Kelly and I spent two hours boggling at one thing after another after another.
As we usually do, especially if there’s a border crossing involved, we left ridiculously early on Saturday morning. It’s one of those “just in case” things that you feel a little sheepish about. And indeed, we were super-early for my B&N appearance in Amherst. But then on Sunday it took six hours to get home, which completely vindicated the ludicrous overachieving.
It was wonderful to get away and see new things, and the cats were extremely well cared for by a neighbor (the one who told us about their existence and need for a home in the first place.) So much goodness and good fortune! I am feeling very blessed.
I am embarking on a whistle-stop tour of upstate New York this weekend, reading and signing at the Barnes and Noble in Amherst Saturday at 2:00 p.m. and at the B&N in Rochester, at Pittsford, on Sunday, also at 2:00 p.m. If there’s a single soul whom I know anywhere within range of these stores, I would love to see you. If you want to know me and you’re in the area, here’s your chance! We were in Vancouver so long that popping down to Seattle and even Portland had become, in some sense, routine. We had been through the Peace Arch border crossing dozens of times, and there are points on the road past Bellingham where I believe I could sketch every shrub in the ditch from memory. This trip is all new, all the time. Where will we gas up? Where will we buy fruit? (Actually, we’ve figured that part out already). What will we see? Is the flagship B&N in Pittsford as big and Disneylandlike as it’s made out to be? Soon I and followers of our Instagram feed will know.
Miss the sound of my voice? You can hear me on the Functional Nerds podcast today, talking about Penny Dreadful, a Twitter tiff Kelly and I had about whether (film) Tony Stark is a better man than (film) Steve Rogers, and, of course, Child of a Hidden Sea.
And it was just this mix of personal ability and magic that made this book irresistible. While exploring a new world is nothing new for contemporary fantasy, Sophie and her brother Bram do so with zest and personal abilities, not through the emergence of heretofore unknown magical legacies. Their very human approach, albeit aided by considerable intellect and prior knowledge in natural sciences, opens up this new world in a very believable fashion.
To say that Child of a Hidden Sea is indulgent fantasy is doing it a disservice, and yet I can’t think of a better way to describe it. It takes so many tropes that herald a bad story, and turns them into something that’s golden and great and nothing but pure enjoyment to read. An alternate world, a modern-day person being teleported to one, finding out she’s of that world all along (and with political clout, no less), these are all things that tend to have a person’s eyes rolling, and yet Dellamonica pulls them all off and makes a great story from them, set in an interesting fantasy world. Combine that with intelligent and diverse characters both on terms of ethnicity and sexuality, and you pretty much trip all my instinctive happy triggers for my reading.
Does anyone not know the book launch is today, at 3:30, at Bakka-Phoenix Books? If you need more info, let me know.
Campaign for the American Reader asked who I’d cast in a dream version of Child of a Hidden Sea. I’ll let you go there to see my answer, but if you’d rather play guessing games first, who’s this charmer gonna play?
I have chosen a reading for this Saturday’s launch at Bakka-Phoenix Books in Toronto. I’m going to read the beginning of “The Boy Who Would Not Be Enchanted,” which is another of Gale Feliachild’s early adventures with Captain Parrish. This one is told from Tonio’s POV, and begins thusly:
The first time I stowed away on Nightjar, I was twelve.
She sailed into my beautiful city of Cindria, a swift cutter with pearly sails, dwarfed by the great ships of the trading fleet and the pleasure craft of our courtiers. Smaller, neater in aspect, without ornamentation, she slipped into port by night, like a doctor calling on a rich man who’d caught something embarrassing.
Aboard her were the woman they called The Hag, accompanied as always by Nightjar’s captain, Garland Parrish. The two of them visited our island’s Conto, bringing with them a whiff of faraway lands and espionage, government plots and excitement.
Irresistible, no? I’d had it in mind since childhood–sail away with them, just once, and catch a glimpse of adventure. So I offered to help my cousin Franceso take a delivery of sausage out to the crew, then lost myself in the hold when he was haggling with the cook.
I hadn’t counted on being a bad sailor.
If you’re local and you haven’t got an invite to the launch yet, consider yourself very welcome indeed! It’ll be at 3:30 p.m.; the store is at 84 Harbord Street. There will be a prize draw, snacks–including the delicious cookies you may have encountered at other Bakka events–and more of the above story.
This was especially exciting because I love Chuck’s blog, and often find myself sending students and other new writers to read his frequently-profane essays about writing and publishing.
I’m also very pleased to be over at Corey Redekop’s blog for his Subconscious Interview feature, blithering about apples and coffee.
Corey Redekop, whose site describes him as a “maker up of wordy thinglets,” does conscious and unconscious interviews with writers as well as reviewing for Quill and Quire, and my conscious interview is here. This would be the more serious one… he asks about portal fantasy, and the magic in Child of a Hidden Sea, and the legal thriller angle.