Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015


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This past weekend I had the privilege and the pleasure of visiting my hometown, Windsor, on another trip to promote Riverside Drive. Here are some highlights:

Thursday, Aug 8: I drop down from the Danforth and reach the Gardiner by about 3:30 pm. Already bottlenecked around Bay Street, I exit and play that game drivers play where they bounce back and forth between the expressway and Lakeshore. The fastest moving route is invariably the one I’m not travelling on. Skip ahead after four hours non-stop: I’m wobbling into Chapters at Devonshire Mall. I hail down a bookseller who introduces me to Kathryn, the Customer Experience Manager. She’s more than happy to have me sign their stock (authors: make friends with booksellers!) Kathryn wondered if I was interested in doing a signing at this location as well and I said, 'sure.' (authors: say ‘yes’ to everything!) She gave me Nicole their event coordinator’s contact information and I emailed her first thing the next morning with a couple dates. We settled on Saturday, September 28, two days after my event at Book Keeper in Sarnia. I’ll try and work something else in there, maybe an appearance in London.

Friday, Aug 9: Early morning and I’m pacing the rec room in my mother-in-law's basement, waiting for the phone call for my interview with Mike and Lisa on AM800 CKLW. The producer calls at 8:15, double-checks how to pronounce my last name and then asks me to hold the line. I’m hearing the traffic and weather updates on my end and waiting for a sign that I’m on the air. The greeting comes and we launch into it. I’ve done enough of these now to know in the first few seconds how the conversation is going to unfold. This one’s going to be quick. I work in the salient points, and five minutes later we’re done. I managed to plug the signing tomorrow at Indigo and I have the opportunity to name-drop a couple other bookstores in the city. Upstairs I run into my in-laws who are just coming in from listening to the interview on the car radio.

I finish my toast and tea and head out with a list of sites, streets, and buildings I’m researching for Maiden Lane, the sequel to Riverside Drive. My first stop is a point on the east shore of the Detroit River, across from Fighting Island. From there I head to the university campus bookstore to say ‘hi’ to staff. They helped with the Windsor launch back in June. Dim sum at Jade Restaurant downtown breaks up the day. I continue to work my way east through the Border Cities, with stops at Biblioasis bookstore in Walkerville, a shady tree in Willistead Park, and Juniper Books on Ottawa Street. My last official stop for the day is at Coles Tecumseh Mall where I meet Mary who I have been corresponding with since the book’s publication, and sign their two remaining copies (my radio bit this morning nudged sales). I tell her I’ll be back in town later in September and will definitely return to sign her stock again. Straight to my father-in-law’s after that, with thoughts of a cold beer on the patio.

Saturday, Aug 10: The better part of the morning is spent at my 15-year old nephew’s softball semi-final in Belle River, east of Windsor. He’s got a bad knee so they gave him a pinch-runner. They don’t play innings; they play a couple hours and then the ump calls it a game. Apparently the other night they played until the outfield couldn’t see the ball. I go back to my father-in-law's to change and pack, and make the the book signing at Indigo Lakeshore a couple minutes before 1:00. There were already a few people waiting. Bookseller Kevin said that they have never had people line up in advance for a signing before. The first hour was steady but then it got quiet. (Authors: put your smartphone away. You don’t want to be looking like you’re updating your Facebook page or looking as if you would would much rather be somewhere else. You don't want to be anywhere else. You want to be right here, right now. And don't be caught reading either. If you need to keep your hands busy, if you need some 'stage business,' bring a notepad. Show them the writer in action.) Traffic picked up again in the last 30-45 minutes. I had the chance to meet some real fans, great people with their own Border City stories to share. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Kevin and Donna, the manager, were very grateful and I was encouraged to come back anytime.

Sunday, Aug 11: I stayed the night at my parents' house in Belle River. I wasn't looking forward to the drive back to Toronto. I’ve left messages in NASA’s general mail box, asking how the molecular transporter is coming along, but they don’t return my calls. Maybe I'll find a circus company that can shoot me out of a cannon all the way back to the Danforth. Speaking of which, I arrived in time to catch the last couple hours of Taste of the Danforth. Of course I had to park about four blocks from my house. All in all, it was a successful trip, and I'm looking forward to doing it again in September. And November. And in December...

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Michael Januska

Michael Januska is an award-winning crime fiction writer whose works include numerous short stories as well as the recent novel Riverside Drive, part of the Border City Blues series set in Windsor. His first book was Grey Cup Century. He lives in Toronto.

Go to Michael Januska’s Author Page