Two days ago, St. Martin’s Minotaur released my new mystery THE BAD KITTY LOUNGE, and I would like to say that a roar overwhelmed me as a crowd of thousands poured through the lounge doors demanding to know what was happening, who was killing whom, who was lying between whose legs, and what my private detective Joe Kozmarski was doing about it. I would like to say at least that a couple of hundred excited readers flung the door open, startling me as I stood behind the bar. I would even be content to say that the door creaked open once, and a lost reader entered and asked for directions to Michael Connelly’s house.
The truth is, I don’t know how many readers arrived and won’t know with any certainty until hard numbers start to come in sometime in a month or two. I can check Amazon five times a day. I can check Publisher’s Alley, which tracks certain sales in certain markets. But the information from such sites is incomplete and ambiguous. The reality is that I’m standing in the newly opened Bad Kitty Lounge and don’t know how many drinks have been ordered. The feeling is disconcerting.
That said, I love release day. I love the metaphorical possibilities, as if a book has been released from prison, as if its bottled up tension has been released, as if it has obtained balloon-like, gravity-defying freedom. I love these possibilities even as the reality is that some books (not mine, I’m glad to say; not yet) never get beyond the prison walls before being re-incarcerated, being re-bottled, falling like bricks to the ground. The reality, in other words, is that some books don’t sell. But on release day that potential future sadness is all in the unforeseeable distance.
So, I feel like jumping up and down on a sofa like Tom Cruise doing his Katie Holmes spot on Oprah. But instead, I’m here at the Bad Kitty Lounge – maybe alone, maybe with a crowd of readers (I don’t know) – quietly enjoying my surroundings. If others have come, they’ll get to know the people who work here with me. One’s a dead nun. Another’s a retired prostitute. Others include a blues guitarist, a real estate mogul, and a criminal forensics specialist. Good people, all of them – friends who’ve been with me since I wrote the first pages of this book. They like a party, too; they like crowds. They’ll welcome all who come.
Michael Wiley is the PWA award-winning, Shamus-nominated writer of the Joe Kozmarski mysteries THE LAST STRIPTEASE (2007) and THE BAD KITTY LOUNGE (2010). He lives with his family in Jacksonville, Florida. You can see more about Michael and his books on his website: http://www.michaelwileyonline.com/