Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Calling Me Home tour highlights: Part two

My husband and me near
Pike Place Market in Seattle
By Julie

At more than a month since the release of Calling Me Home, it's hard to believe how fast the time has flown. At the same time, it seems like just yesterday I was counting the months, then weeks, then days until release.

I've spent the last few weeks since my last update traveling more, doing events in Seattle, Spokane, and Palouse, Washington, and received some really big news in the midst of all that. I found out last Monday night, after a great talk and signing at Third Place Books in Seattle, and dinner out with a cousin and new friend after, that I'd sold the film option for the book to Warner Brothers, with Roy Lee producing.

I knew a deal was in the works for a few days, but it was really a pretty lightning fast process--a rarity in this business, from what I understand. I'm thankful to have a set of really awesome agents to handle these things, and knew my film agent, Jody Hotchkiss of Hotchkiss and Associates, had things well under control while I was gallivanting around doing book events. I *almost* didn't see the email late that night confirmimg the deal had happened, but Google alerts also had things under control. While driving across Washington State the next afternoon, one notified me that Hollywood Reporter had broken the news. Right about then, my Facebook and Twitter pages went nuts and it was a pretty fun afternoon and evening answering all the congratulatory posts and Tweets.

Warner Brothers produced the Academy Award winning film, Driving Miss Daisy, as well as The Departed, another winner, with Roy Lee. Lee and the studio seem very enthusiastic about the potential for developing Calling Me Home into a feature film, and I can't wait to see how this unfolds. Typically, these things take time, so I'm only holding my breath a few seconds at a time. In the meantime, it feels fairly surreal to get the occasional email from Roy Lee with updates. And ... I'd be lying if I said I hadn't put a few bugs in his ear about potential actors I could see playing parts. :)


The last few days of my Washington trip saw my family and me digging through old photos and sorting through my Grandma's jewelry box, with my sister and me and my teenage daughters laying claim to things we particularly liked or remembered, more than 15 years after her death. I'm not sure I knew my dad had these things squirreled away in the attic until recently, when we started really contemplating what items remained that might give us additional insight into the woman who inspired Calling Me Home. I'm not even sure he knew or remembered he had them squirreled away until my brother mentioned something about them. This was my first opportunity to explore these family treasures since I started writing the book, and there are boxes upon boxes left for another visit.

We were all intrigued to find and examine photos of my grandma as a curvy teen with a sassy smile, and amused to see she'd written tiny notes at the bottom of several snapshots of herself-- "Just me" on one. "Lonesome" on another. She changed more, physically, from those teenage photos to adulthood, than any of her sisters. It felt like a bittersweet confirmation of the heartbreak it seems she suffered, though we also enjoyed seeing many photos of her being the sometimes goofy, playful person we all glimpsed at times, too.

Not my grandma's egg, but one just like it!
I brought home a small box of well-used cookie or biscuit cutters--stacked inside each other like Russian dolls, originally round, but now lopsided circles of various sizes. I also brought a little gold-etched Estee Lauder egg Grandma must have treasured as a gift from someone at Christmas. A few other things as well--gaudy costume jewelry, a set of keys, and silver bracelet that looks surprisingly modern and I've already worn once.

This has been a time of great celebration for my family, as well as a time of contemplation and memory.

I'm thankful for the prompting the publication of Calling Me Home gave us.


  1. Loved reading this about your tour and finding more about your grandmother. I am so thrilled and excited for you at your success and it is all very muchly so deserved. Glad to be able to say you are my cousin.

    Ann Ellison

  2. Such a blast to the past... Kudos on the movie deal! A M A Z I N G... I think I'm going to be able to make your TCC gig. I am going to a going away lunch and decided to take the afternoon off! So so happy and proud of you! Terry B. ... Library Mentor...


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