Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Calling Me Home: To Italy and beyond

Here's a report of what's been happening with Calling Me Home lately.

The book has now released in Germany, the U.S., Australia, Finland, Poland, France (book club edition only), Italy, and Denmark. At least, those are the ones I know about as of today!

I traveled to Italy in May for book publicity for my publisher there, Garzanti. Their edition, titled Tra la notte e il cuore (Between the Night and the Heart), released May 9. I spent May 15 in Milan doing interviews for radio, tv and print and online media sources, then May 18 in Turin doing a presentation at the Salone Internazionale del Libro di Torino, along with some additional media interviews and photo shoots, followed by a fancy dinner at Il Circolo del Lettore, an organization dedicated to books and readers in Turin.

I thought I'd share a few fun things and pictures with you.

Here's a TV interview conducted by a charming young woman who reports on books. We were in the lobby of the hotel where I stayed in Milan. In the video, I do a lot of blinking while listening to her talk in Italian (because I mostly have no clue what she's saying, though she spoke very fluent English to me in between!), and my voice gets faded in a few times. Maybe you'll find it entertaining even if you don't understand Italian! And hey, my scarf looked great, don't you think? ;) This was really a lot of fun.

I also stood on a busy island at an intersection while a photographer attempted to take my photo. We laughed a lot because my eyes were watering so much from the sun that I couldn't smile without crying, too. I haven't seen the result of that photo shoot ... Perhaps there are good reasons.

Here's a photo of me with Teresa, a woman who won a getaway to Turin for herself and a friend by submitting an amazing photo she shot to a contest held for the book release by Vanity Fair, Italy. The theme was "The Journey of your heart." She attended the fancy dinner and we ate together with my editor and publicist and other Garzanti folks and authors. We had the chance to chat (her companion for the getaway was very fluent in English and able to easily translate for us!), and it was lots of fun. I'm not sure what was happening with my dress collar, half in and half out under my sweater, probably for the whole evening, but kindly, nobody pointed or laughed. ;)

My 19-year-old daughter accompanied me to Italy, and we spent an extra week traveling around, mainly trying to figure out how to get to places, how to pay for things, and how to eat. I think those are your three main tasks when traveling to a country that mostly doesn't use your language. Italy's public schools teach foreign languages much like they do in the U.S.; students select one when they enter middle school, and it's not always English. Everyone seems to speak at least a few sentences--similar to our everyday grasp of Spanish here in Texas!--but the language barrier was much higher than we expected, especially in the less touristy towns. It was fun, but also a bit stressful at times. We realized how spoiled we are on so many levels here in the States, too, and that was while traveling in a highly developed country!

We kept an eye out for Tra la notte e il cuore in bookshops wherever we went, and were excited to find it in so many places. This (left) was the biggest surprise--and what a crazy feeling it was to encounter these mountains of books and huge poster in the window of the Mondadori shop in the main square in Milan!

We saw this bookstore in Rome from a city bus and managed to grab the phone in time to get a decent shot! Look close or you might miss it, too ...

I didn't say anything to most of the booksellers when we'd see the book inside stores--the language barrier made it pretty time consuming. BUT ... I decided to go out on a limb in one particularly friendly store in Venice (we found Venice in general friendly and fun!). Once I managed to explain to the employees that I was the person who wrote the book they had on display in the store, and that I was willing to sign their stock if they would like me to, they became very excited. The manager not only had me sign their big pile of books, but he asked me to pose for a photo with him for their Facebook page. I felt, briefly, like a rockstar--before we went back into the anonymous world of touring. Here's the shot of me with the manager of Libreria Goldoni.
The really exciting thing is, all this hard work by the Garzanti Team has helped Tra la notte e il cuore show up in the bestseller lists there in its first two weeks. The first week, it was #8 in the Foreign Fiction list of La Stampa, and the second week, it was #6. My editor tells me it is also in the foreign fiction bestseller list of Corriere della Sera. I am so very pleased and feel so fortunate to be with this wonderful publisher for the Italian Edition of Calling Me Home. I'll leave you with a final shot of me at Garzanti's gorgeous, light-filled headquarters in Milan--or as they say, Milano--signing the guestbook they have for visiting authors. I felt a bit inadequate as I tried to express my appreciation there.

Next up is a trip to the UK in July, mostly for family vacation, but where I'll also be doing some publicity around the launch of Calling Me Home in England, Scotland, and Ireland. (It launches June 20, but we have a baby arriving in the extended family that day, so postponed our visit by a few weeks.)

I was ecstatic to learn the book has been chosen for the UK Amazon Rising Stars program--one of 12 for the year! There is even potential for awards through this program, and they are greatly based on customer reviews, so if you know folks in the UK, please do share about this with them and ask them to leave reviews on the site if they are so inclined! Here's the link.

If you made it to the bottom of the post, thanks for indulging me in sharing all this news about Calling me Home!


  1. How thrilling, Julie. You deserve every bit of the success you're receiving. You are a rising star!

  2. Lori, Thank you! Can't wait to see everything that happens for you ... SOON! VERY SOON! xo

  3. So excited for you, Julie. I hope the UK audience embraces Calling Me Home and you find your trip to England unforgettable. Congratulations on everything!

  4. Fantastico, Julie! That must have been so exciting and thrilling. Great job with the interview, and I could pick out key words in your Italian reviews. yea!

    1. Thanks, Cindy! The interview was fun!


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