from manuscript to bookstore -- the publishing process

Reviews (and the tour)
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Okay, here are excerpts from the Booklist review:

"As a boy, the yearning to be a New York City fireman burned under Jimmy McCaffery's skin. Now, after more than 25 years of service, he storms up the smoke-choked stairwells of the World Trade Center, knowing in his heart that he's battling his last blaze. Childhood secrets and grown-up lies suffuse Bronx-born Rozan's mesmerizing mystery set in the weeks and months following September 11, 2001... Winner of the Edgar, Shamus, and Nero awards, Rozan shifts among several narrators and between present and past in this riveting offering reminiscent of Dennis Lehane's Mystic River. An unforgettable elegy to the clear September morning that forever changed our lives."

Cool, huh?

I took out the six or so sentences that deal with plot. All the early trade reviews do a quick plot recap, because they're aimed at booksellers and librarians who may not have read a galley.

The Kirkus review, one of the other four early trades, was more mixed. It included words like "masterful" and "ambitious," and this sentence: "Rozan pulls off a group portrait that's both grandly scaled and painfully intimate." But they had a problem with one of the revelations at the end, found it "unsurprising." And therein lies an interesting issue for writers. The reviewer is clearly someone who reads for plot first, other things -- character/place/atmosphere/theme/language -- later. That's a reasonable way to read, just as reading for any of those other things first is, or liking chocolate better than vanilla. There's no right or wrong about it. But sometimes vanilla books are given to chocolate reviewers. I can't argue with the reviewer's assessment, except to say surprise isn't really what I was going for. In fact, I was going for inevitability, which is sort of the opposite, no?

Anyway, as my agent says, Kirkus is notoriously cranky. If your Kirkus review is a rave it's probably a forgery. I'm happy with this -- I'm ecstatic about the Booklist, but happy enough with this -- and my publisher is happy because that last sentence is quotable.

No more, so far.

About the tour: the schedule is not yet on the website but will be, soon. Cities are: Toronto; Scottsdale, AZ; San Francisco, San Mateo, and four stops in the LA area; Seattle and Bellingham, WA; Houston; and Northampton, MA. Boston's still up in the air. If any of you do make it to any of the stores, be sure to say hello!

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