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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Scott Elliott guest blogs on BOOK TOURS WITH KIDS – Part 1



Hi everyone! Hope you are having a great summer with kids in camp, coming home sun-warmed and tired and sleeping soundly through the night.  We are judging the Fellowship entries while we are on hiatus from Salons and let me tell you – there is some stiff competition this year!

Meanwhile – we are thrilled to welcome a terrific novelist, Scott Elliott, who lives and teaches in Walla Walla, Washington.  Scott is the father of two boys and two books, Coiled in the Heart and Temple Grove: A Novel.  Click here for his bio.

Take it away, Scott—


Is it a good idea to go on a book tour with two boys, aged two and five?

Probably not.

Nevertheless, my wife Jenna and I recently hit the road with two red-headed, fun-loving, mischievous imps we happened to have around.  I’ve long described the experience of having children in one’s thirties as a descent back into the tumultuous emotional zone you’ve worked your whole life to leave behind. As soon as you feel yourself standing on solid adult ground blessedly free of such swings you look at your life’s clock and say, “better have kids”  and embark on the wildest, emotional swingiest ride of your life. There are occasions during certain confluences of child raising madness when one looks to the sky and says, why… why?  balanced with times of such beautiful tender reawakening to the world and its wonders that one struggles to find words for such sweet perfection. Both states intertwined.

Rather than have me hit the road alone, we decided to morph an early summer vacation with a small Pacific Northwest book tour for my new novel Temple Grove, which is set on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State.  The tour took me to some wonderful independent book stores in Western Washington and Oregon. I started on my own at Annie Bloom’s Bookstore in Portland, and the family went with me from Walla Walla, where we live, to Olympia (Orca Books); Seattle (Elliott Bay Book Company); Bellingham (Village Books); on up to Vancouver, B.C where I read at a tribute to Joyland Magazine at the Railway Club.   

Going on a book tour puts one in touch with one’s own day-to-day persona to a greater degree because you also begin to think about what your authorial persona ought to be. This persona may be a little different from who you are.  Fiction grants you license to tap into selves who are not you—who may be more extreme in different directions—to go into very adult and complex zones, sometimes verging on, or squarely within, our capacity for depravity. So, the fiction writer’s persona in readings may be pulled by the material away from the more accessible, friendly self your friends and family are used to seeing.

We decided to keep the readings and time with children separate, though we did plan to have the boys come see daddy read at least once….

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