My first official reading for Californium was July 5, 2016. In terms of proper premieres, this one had it all:
- A full two weeks before the novel’s official release date of July 19
- An amazing venue—the second-oldest bookstore in Lisbon, Portugal, Livraria Ferin (1840)
- A great bill that included David Caplan and Frank X. Gaspar
- A full house featuring so many writers I admire—Molly Antopol, Erica Dawson, Annie Liontas, Denis Johnson, Maaza Mengiste, Jeff Parker, Arthur Flowers, Chanan Tigay, and more.
It was nerve-racking to kick off a new book, my first novel, that way, and it was perfect. People laughed at the parts that were supposed to be funny and, just as importantly, didn’t laugh at the parts that weren’t.
Since then, readings for Californium have taken me to both coasts, seven states, several bookstores, one book group, a few college campuses, and the occasional book festival. I’ve given interviews for print and podcasts, and I even got to be live on NPR one evening with three other writers.
Though there is nothing official about my upcoming reading being the last of a two-year tour for Californium, it has that feel to it:
- A sizeable city close to my home
- An amazing venue—the Carnegie Centre in the historic section of Lexington
- A great bill that includes Shayla Lawson and Kathryn Ormsbee
- An event I’ve long hoped to be a part of: The Kentucky Great Writers reading series
I’m sure I’ll read from Californium again. I’ve never stopped loving the book and have never grown tired of dropping into the world of Reece, Keith, Treat, Edie, van Doren, and DikNixon. It’s always a pleasure to go there. But, I’m also glad to be transitioning more and more attention to finishing the next two projects—an essay collection and a novel. The former is close and the latter, who knows, but I like where it’s going so far.
So, this coming Tuesday, I hope all goes as it has gone since that first reading in Lisbon, which is warm and friendly, fun, and well. That’s a proper way to wind down the tour, to end the chapter, and to begin the next.