It's always an honor when Schwartz is offered a major talent. Right now, one of the most talked-about and best-reviewed books out there is Janice Y. K. Lee's The Piano Teacher. Here's a great interview that was in last Saturday's Wall Street Journal. And Bob Minzesheimer includes Lee's work in notable first novels in last week's USA Today. We've already mentioned the great Chicago Tribune and its inclusion among the twenty Indie Next Picks for January.
Her novel is imbued with the essence of Hong Kong, where she grew up and lives now. Set in the years after World War II, a young woman comes to teach piano to a Chinese family, only to fall into an affair with the house chauffeur. The story jumps back to the years of Japanese occupation, and as always in a novel to be reckoned with:
--the affair turns out to be problematic, to say the least
--all is not what it seems
--there are secrets to be revealed.
Here's our challenge. Like many hot debuts, Viking, her publisher, wants to spur sales an excitement in the first weeks the book is out. That means a tour, and we're on the schedule. The hard part is that we only have six days to spread the word from when the book came out (January 13th) to when the event is at Shorewood (January 19th).
I have no idea what the right time is for an event. If the author has a local following, then by all means the first week is fine. Sometimes it's months between the book's appearance and the authors. Atlantic Monthly Press released Stephanie Kallos' Sing them Home in November and our event is scheduled for February (the 18th, to be exact, in Mequon).
Different publishers have different philosophies. It also depends on where you wind up on the tour. In this case, we're among the first. Come meet Ms. Lee on Monday at Shorewood at 7 PM and hear more.