As delightful as the question of the week is, I can't answer it for two reasons:
1. I don't believe in stock characters, even when playing Clue;
2. CITY OF SECRETS just launched on Tuesday and as of this moment (12:01 AM EST on September 15th) I am probably in the Bouchercon bar and not capable of much (except, of course, singing "Go See What the Boys in the Backroom Will Have" in my best Dietrich voice, a, er, talent which never seems to abandon me).
So, instead, I thought I'd natter on about book launches.
They sound rather heroic and even patriotic in a way, kind of like NASA. Rocket launches make an awful lot of noise (and lots of cool visuals) ... book launches, on the other hand, are quieter affairs, except in the heart and gut of the author and her family and friends.
They're a time of great optimism--it takes an awful lot of optimism to write a book and publish it, even if what you're writing--maybe especially if what you're writing--is noir. They're also a time of supreme worry, fear, and anxiety, which is one reason why there are always so many authors sitting in the Bouchercon bar.
I wish there were some sort of herbal Xanax for authors, a kind of happy pill we could take when we reach one of those benchmarks that shape our careers ... you know, the agent hunt, the publisher hunt and finally the scariest hunt of all ... the reader hunt.
The sanest way to deal with all the inner (and outer) turmoil associated with launch day is basically to back away. To go back to your keyboard and write. Unfortunately, you can't do that.
You are expected to be out there shouting your book from rooftops, blogging your heart out and tweeting until there are bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover ... you can and you must, even though it is healthier for your emotional state to retreat, to remember why you love to write, to remember how hard and how long you've worked for this chance. Sorry--you don't have the luxury during the launch period.
Even Charles Dickens had to travel on a lecture tour to help his numbers. So, dear writer, must we.
Onward, brave scribes. My friend Laura Benedict once compared publishing (and the will-they-like-it-will-they-hate-it period when you're waiting for reviews--make that praying for reviews) to putting your baby on display and waiting to hear someone say that it's ugly. What you really want, of course, is for someone from Baby Gap to come along and say "What a beautiful child ... how about a modeling contract?"
Once in awhile, it happens. And until it does ... get out there and smile, baby, smile!!
Kelli's CITY OF SECRETS, second novel in the acclaimed Miranda Corbie series, launched on Tuesday. She hopes it will be in orbit for a very, very long time.