Saturday, August 8, 2009

Does Stephen Boehrer Like Raspberry Frangos?

So I'm working on doing the prep for the Stephen Boehrer event, basically trying to write something for the email newsletter. He's already appeared at B&N Southridge, so he's gotten the Book Preview in the Milwaukee Journal Shepherd. I decide to link to their writeup anyway.

I'm thinking as I write this, boy does this whole thing sound like Andrew Greeley. Do I say something in my writeup? Maybe he doesn't like Andrew Greeley. I check his publisher website, and not shockingly, they compare him to Andrew Greeley. I leave this out of my piece, but only because my Andrew Greeley references are more bloggish than emaily.

Back at Warner Books (now Grand Central Publishing), where I worked in the mid 1980's, Andrew Greeley was our star author. He'd had a huge success with The Cardinal Sins, and for the next few years, he was Warner's consistent top ten author. Though we had huge nonfiction bestsellers, and were seasoned buyers to reprint rights of big-name fiction, this was in the years before Warner learned how to break hardcover fiction with David Baldacci, Nicholas Sparks and others. We had just started publishing Nelson DeMille before I left. So top ten every year was a big deal.

Father Greeley would fly into New York, do the Today Show and a few other interviews, and fly back home (to Chicago or Tucson, depending on the season). He'd leave us with a box of Marshall Field's Raspberry Frangos. Nobody in the office seemed to like them but me; no wonder I wound up within spitting distance of Chicago. First I the first two years, I was pretty much the assistant (though with a better title the second year), then publicist, then manager (that was below director--New York publishing houses had 50 delineations of publicist, so everyone could get a promotion every year).

The last year, I actually was Father Greeley's publicist so I got to book him on the Today Show, plus get him a few other choice appearances. No bookstore author tours for us! I was no Ling, no Allegra (the two powerhouses I followed in booking the Today Show), but there were no big snafus. Soon enough, I was out the door, trying to avoid the constant knot my stomach was in (for another post), and headed for Milwaukee.

But the priest (or ex priest, in this case) sermonizing through a thriller lives on as a concept. Mr. Boehrer will be discussing his novel, The Purple Culture, Friday, August 14th, at 7 PM.

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