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Notes from the Tail End of a Whirlwind Book Tour

I’m writing this at 11:15 p.m. in a hotel room in Dallas, in a bed that is not my own. I meant to be asleep 15 minutes ago, and then I realized that—even though I’d written this on my planner 3 days this week!—I forgot to write today’s post.

It’s been a year of every type of emotion imaginable. A year of so much writing. So much traveling. So much book touring (almost non-stop) for Everyone Knows You Go Home since it came out in March. So little is actually in our hands when a book releases, so I told myself earlier this year that I would do everything I could do for it. For me that translated to doing events. Meeting readers. Crashing at friends’ and family’s places all across the country and sometimes, oftentimes, being home no more than a week or two at a time.

This is the dream, right?


Things that make it absolutely beyond worth it for this introverted homebody who would rather be writing in bed:

The young mom in California who brought her young son to my reading because he’d never met an author before…and getting a note from her the next day telling me how her eyes had teared up hearing her boy telling her grandfather all about it later that evening. 

Having readers ask me to make their book out to their mom. A book that I wrote as a gift to my mom…becomes a gift to theirs.

Standing-room only crowds full of loved ones.

Standing-room only crowds full of strangers.

Three-person crowds on a cold and rainy day—and pulling up a chair and just chatting.

Hearing my literary hero (the author who inspired me to write fiction!) introduce my book before a reading using words like masterful and magical (how is this real life?!).

Driving all over LA with my husband for four days straight for book tour—and not minding the traffic because even that felt like an adventure.

From my journal, after that CA trip: “the way he smiles at you in the audience like it’s the first time he’s heard you read these words, so you stop to think, what is that expression? And you dare to think it’s pride, and think how humbling it is to make those you love so much so proud.”

From my journal, after an event at The Wild Detectives in Dallas: “that people who you barely know would come through leaves me in awe of this world and all the beings in it.”

Making wishes in magical cars with fellow writer friends after a day of paneling at a book festival. We’d really only just met IRL but we were so honest and vulnerable with each other, perhaps because how we write is how we live.

Reading an excerpt from the book accompanied by live, improvised music in a bar in Brooklyn—like having a score for the words.

The community. The conversations. The selfies. The authors who are your peers who are now true friends.

There are so many more moments and memories I’m too sleep-deprived to list now. And I’m eternally grateful for all of them—but understand that those are the highlights. In between and behind each one there have been tears and stress and failures. Things that went all wrong. Difficult conversations: some of which were fruitful and others which went nowhere. Days and days and days of canceled plans with friends and loved ones. Forgetfulness. Exhaustion and homesickness and needing to spend a day or two in bed after a trip just to recover from the emotional overstimulation of being “on” for so many days at a time. Work-life stress and the illusion of balance. Looking at a calendar and realizing you won’t have a free weekend home with your family for a month a half. Trying to design an eflyer for an event only to have the design program freeze on you after an hour’s worth of work—and having that be the one little thing that breaks you.

So yes…after my event today—a meeting with a book club I’m very excited about—I’ll be home. For the rest of the year, and the beginning of next, I’ll be working (and have been working) on edits for my next novel which will be out in 2020. I’ll be spending time with my husband and our pups. Planning game nights with friends. Getting back to a regular gym routine. (Finally) organizing my desk. Calling my mom and my grandmother more. Reading all the books. Making plans to do…nothing.

Which will of course turn (happily) into writing. In the end, all of the book touring doesn’t matter if the writing is not the most blissful part of it.

Because it’s been a very full 2018. Here’s hoping and wishing and planning that 2019 sees a very full life.

What were the highlights of your year? What are you most looking forward to in 2019?

About Natalia Sylvester

Born in Lima, Peru, Natalia Sylvester came to the U.S. at age four. A former magazine editor, Natalia now works as a freelance writer in Austin, Texas and is a faculty member of the low-res MFA program at Regis University. Her articles have appeared in Latina Magazine, Writer’s Digest, The Writer, and NBCLatino.com. She is the author of Chasing the Sun, named the Best Debut Book of 2014 by Latinidad and chosen as a Book of the Month by the National Latino Book Club. Her second novel, Everyone Knows You Go Home, is forthcoming from Little A in 2018.

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About Mary Ellen Bellusci

Mary Ellen Bellusci is a longtime resident of Baltimore, Maryland... A foodie, traveler, writer, and pursuer of happiness.