In February of 2011, I somehow convinced my husband and daughter to take a trip with me to Amsterdam to visit the Museum of Bags and Purses. I was working at the public library part time, and I was also teaching a creative writing class at the university because the professor who'd been scheduled was suddenly unable to, and so I was pinch-hitting. It was reading week, and the teaching meant I had a few extra dollars. At this time, I'd written about half of my novel, Rumi and the Red Handbag, and it seemed important to see the museum. In truth, I don't think the book would be what it is without my having been there.
We visited the museum twice, stayed for tea, and bought up all the sweet souvenirs in their shop (including the mug you see in the photo above). We wandered the nearby streets, I took photos of the canal, and we sat on the bench at the end of the street the museum is on, and just hung out, soaking it all in. Of course, we also visited the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh museum, and many other museums in Amsterdam. As well, we took a day trip to The Hague to visit Rob's cousin who was living there at the time, and to see Vermeer's Girl with the Pearl Earring at the Mauritshuis.
Flash forward to the end of September, 2015. The official release date of my book is mid-October, but I just heard yesterday from my wonderful publisher, Palimpsest Press, that the book is already going into a second printing, based on pre-orders. Obviously, a lot has happened since that visit to Amsterdam four and a half years ago to bring me to this rather lovely place right now. I haven't seen the book yet, though I'll probably get a 'printer's copy' within the next week.
And the book has yet to be properly launched. The Edmonton launch is on Wednesday, October 14th at 7pm at Audreys Books. I'll also be in Calgary at Pages on Kensington on October 24th, Saturday afternoon, at 2pm.
As for right this very second, I'm in that happy place that an author gets to inhabit before a book is released. All the hard work is done. The edits are finished, the cover has been designed, the acknowledgements have been written, the proofs approved. But no one has read the book besides a select few. The book is still just mine for a few more weeks. The characters are still mine. And yet, I can't wait for you to meet Shaya and Ingrid-Simone.