Day One, Sarnia:
The day starts with a fine interview with Allan Gregg at TVO. The make-up woman tells me that high-definition has altered the rules for TV make-up. No more pancake trowelled on to conceal wrinkles, since every trowel mark shows up. So instead of trying soft-focus tricks, you blast maximum light at the face, with the fierce reflection preventing detail from showing up. Who knew? Now I do, and so do you.
Jane picks me up from the studio around noon, and we set off for Sarnia. After sharing the driving, as always, we make it to The Book Keeper, impressively run by my old M&S sales colleague friend, Susan Chamberlin. Chatting at the front of the store we meet a man coming in, clutching a newspaper clipping about me. He can’t make it to the theatre that night, but I sign a book for him, clinching the sale. Two more in-store sales happen, by happy chance.
After a desktop take-out meal with Susan, we made it to the downtown Library Theatre. All goes well, and 29 books are sold and signed. It’s great to sell my book and to help out worthy independents like Susan, who did a remarkable job in producing posters to promote my event. I see a framed one in my future.
We stayed overnight with our Sarnia friends Sue Brighton and Chris Curran. Morning dawned to show that we were right beside Lake Huron, and we had a stroll along the beach.
Day Two, London:
Arrived in time to visit the Oxford Bookshop, en route to lunch with one of Jane’s cousins. Then on to our friends’ home where we’ll spend the night. (Hey, this is a book tour, where every penny counts!) We leave Nick and Anne’s downtown place after dinner, and find the Wolf Hall Theatre in the main library. The stage is enormous, with the screen very close to the front of the stage, but by now the old pro can adapt to almost anything.
The performance goes well, with the help of a very sound sound man, and Mark, the bookseller, is pleased to sell around 25 copies. Sheila Li, of the London Library System, does a fine job of introducing me, and arranging a Q&A session. Afterwards, I sign for some people I know, and a friend of Alice Munro’s. Alice is well-known here, where she studied for two years.