I am about to launch the sixth Alafair Tucker mystery, The Wrong Hill to Die On, An Alafair Tucker Mystery. In fact, if you’re reading this entry on Saturday, I’m probably at Poisoned Pen Bookstore right now. Wish you were there with me. But as I write, I’m still in the pre-launch mode. Time is so close, the reality of it all has set in, and I find myself pondering the universal question : What am I going to wear?
My original plan for the event was to lose twenty pounds and get a face lift, but time grows short, so I’m settling for a nice outfit. This happens with every book launch, and I don’t know why I bother. I’ve been to many an author talk in my time, and it seems to me that the bigger the name, the rattier the look. I suppose that when you’re rich and famous, why should you care?
Being neither rich nor famous, I’m always concerned about my clothes, though after six books, I’ve learned a lot about what not to do. When my first book, The Old Buzzard Had It Coming, was launched in 2005, I decided I had to have a new pair of fetching shoes. I looked for weeks for something delicious to go with my carefully considered outfit, and finally chose a pair of gold backless sandals with a 2″ heel. They looked lovely as long as I remained still. I hadn’t worn heels in so long that I tended to pitch forward when I tried to walk with any speed. They made me taller than I’m used to, as well, and I found myself trying not to knock myself out when I passed under low objects. I really wanted to appear charming and dignified, so I had to be very careful not to end up sprawled on the floor with my arms and legs all askew and one of my new sandals wedged up under a bookshelf.
I discovered that if I carefully lifted and placed each foot as I walk, I could perambulate slowly but gracefully around the room, looking rather languorous and somewhat mysterious, like an Egyptian ibis. Fortunately I didn’t have to escape from predators or otherwise beat a hasty retreat. But those dang shoes added a dimension of discomfort that I didn’t need to an already nerve-wracking experience.
For the next book, Hornswoggled, my heels were a little lower, and even lower for Book Three, The Drop Edge of Yonder. In fact, the more books I come out with, the better my feet like it, because if there’s anything I’ve learned after launching six books, it is that you can’t put on a good program when your feet hurt.
So if any of you are wondering about the proper attire for a book launch, allow me to offer you some hard-won wisdom: Dress to the nines, if you wish, but wear comfy shoes.