I’m very excited to welcome one of my favorite authors, David Bell, to Colloquium for the first time!
David was sitting in a nondescript bar on the concourse in the Nashville, Tennessee airport one day when he noticed a man and woman having what appeared to be an intense conversation. They seemed, by all appearances, to know each other well or maybe even be married. All of a sudden, the woman got up, took her bags, and left. The man told the bartender, “That was the strangest thing that’s ever happened to me in my life. I just met that woman here in the airport. We started talking, she kissed me, and she left, saying that she’s never going to see me again.”
David immediately thought, “There’s got to be a story behind that. There’s got to be more to that. And that was the beginning of Layover,” which opens with an identical chance meeting in the Atlanta, Georgia airport. Joshua Fields takes the same flights every week for work, his life a series of departures and arrivals, hotels and airports. During yet another layover, he meets Morgan, a beautiful stranger with whom he feels an immediate connection. When it’s time for their respective flights, Morgan kisses Joshua passionately, telling him that they’ll never see each other again.
As soon as Morgan disappears in the crowd, Joshua is shocked to see her face on a nearby TV. Morgan is a missing person.
Joshua goes on a fast-paced, reckless journey filled with lies, deceit, and secrets as he tries to learn why Morgan has vanished from her own life. Every time he thinks one mystery is solved, another rears its head — and his worst enemy might be his own assumptions about those around him.
This is the week Layover came out. July 2nd to be exact. And maybe you’re wondering what life is like for an author during the week a book comes out. Let me try to tell you . . . but, first, it requires going back in time.
By the time a book comes out, an author has already spent a great deal of time with it. A great deal of time. And by the time a book comes out an author has likely already moved on to the next book. So that creates an odd feeling of disconnect. I’ve been spending the last six or eight months mostly thinking about and writing my next book, which means Layvover is in the rearview mirror already. But I can’t leave it behind, of course, because once it comes out I have to start talking about it again. In some ways, the readers and the reviewers have the book fresher in their minds than I do because they’ve read it more recently.
Once that weird bit of disconnect is worked out — the book really comes back quickly when people start asking detailed questions about it — it’s time to focus on the task at hand: the crazy, wild, roller coaster of having a book come out.
In our house, we have a word to describe that feeling of book release week: Fearjoy.
In the days and hours leading up to the release of a new book, authors simultaneously experience the blissful joy of having their book published along with the abject terror that everything will go wrong. Maybe the reviews will be bad. Maybe no one will show up at events. Maybe your favorite aunt who reads all your books will shake her head and say, “Well, this isn’t your best one.” Or maybe the book will sell well! Maybe Steven Spielberg will call! Maybe you’ll get bumped to first class on your book tour!!
For most writers, the truth is likely somewhere firmly in the middle. One’s life will not change dramatically with the publication of a book. As I said above, most writers I know work hard, and they’re already well on to the next project once their current book comes out. And that’s a good thing because it means there’s something else to think about and obsess over instead of sales numbers, Amazon rankings, or what color shirt to wear to your book launch.
What’s a writer to do during book publication week?
Try to relax. Try to enjoy the small moments — the connections with readers, the books signed. Enjoy every good review and piece of nice press. Celebrate with your friends.
And keep the Xanax handy just in case.
David Bell is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio. He holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in creative writing. These days he resides in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and has been an associate professor of English at Western Kentucky University since 2008 where he directs the Masters in Fine Arts (MFA) program in creative writing.
David is the USA Today-bestselling author of eight novels from Berkley/Penguin, including Somebody’s Daughter, Bring Her Home, Since She Went Away, Somebody I Used to Know, The Forgotten Girl, Never Come Back, The Hiding Place, and Cemetery Girl. His work has been translated into numerous foreign languages. In 2013, he won the prestigious Prix Polar International de Cognac for best crime novel by an international author.
David spends his free time rooting for the Reds and Bengals, watching movies, and walking in the cemetery near the home he shares with his wife, writer Molly McCaffrey.
Thank you, David!