Monthly Archives: January 2016

Adieu, Ziggy…Ziggy, a dieu.

My earliest memory of David Bowie was buying his The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust album at a garage sale in Birmingham, Alabama. I brought it home, having no idea what to expect, and was completely blown away. It made me feel things I had never felt. It made me feel wild, creative, subversive. It made me dream.

For at least a year it sat on a shelf in my closet between my Barry Manilow and Amy Grant albums and silently mocked its neighbors with its superior European coolness.

My next memory was from 9th grade: burning that album in a bonfire with other “evil music” as defined by a branch of the 1980s evangelical movement in Alabama. Some traveling evangelist with a book out on the evils of rock music had scared the crap out of me and I, like the brainwashed follower I was, obeyed. I remember the thrill of buying the album again as a CD a few years later and listening to it OVER and OVER and thinking, “If this is evil, then I’m ready to sell my soul.”

That experience taught me that the true evil is not in expressing yourself in a way others might fear or despise. It’s in condemning and banning creative expression. In destroying art.

All of my respect to this creative force in human form. RIP David Bowie. You are and will always be a giant in my personal pantheon.


1 Year After Charlie Hebdo (part 2)

Do you ever wake up in the morning and think, “Today is the day I have to do something that counts!”? This morning I was sitting there eating my oatmeal and reading the news and I thought, “It’s been one year since the attacks at Charlie Hebdo. I should do something.”

So I chose the first thing that popped into my head: a Book Attack.

The polemic after Charlie Hebdo was all about freedom of speech, and not only do I believe (strongly) in that, but I also believe in the power and necessity of story. My stories aren’t groundbreaking political treatises. They have nothing to do with freedom of speech, besides the fact that I was able to write what I wanted and see it published. But my books are fun and entertaining and might just help someone forget their sadness for a few hours. So why not contribute a little bit of light to a dark day? “Books heal!” I thought, and started the wheels of my plan in motion.

First I gathered together all of my books in my inventory (okay, not all…but a lot):

5and selected a few copies of each. (Remember, Paris is very international. Even if I put a Bulgarian book out there, someone’s going to be able to read it.) I wrote a little note to put with each (Marie Cambolieu translated it into a pretty version in French), and then signed each book, indicated the book’s language, and stuck it in a plastic pouch. (It’s been raining. Hard.)

4I filled a couple of bags with the books, and set out to the Charlie Hebdo memorial, a couple of blocks away. But halfway there, one of the bags had gotten so wet I was afraid it would break. Plus I was feeling a little bit chicken, thinking there might be cameramen there. So I rang my friend Fiona’s doorbell and she agreed to accompany me.

First stop: old location of Charlie Hebdo offices, where the mayor and president posted a memorial plaque last week. A small pile of flowers had begun to amass, and cameramen and journalists were loitering, waiting for something to happen. Fiona and I dove in, I taped my note to the wall:

12466078_10153748381670280_5141259774158309940_oand then spread an assortment of books around on the ground.



ch10_pickWe were in and out before anyone could come up and ask what we were doing. (I really hate being interviewed on camera. I say incredibly stupid things when someone shoves a microphone in my face. Actually, I say incredibly stupid things anyway, but it gets worse when I know I’m being taped for posterity and potential re-runs.)

Fiona and I hightailed it out of there, and headed a few blocks away to Bataclan, where it looked WAY too wet and soggy to leave anything made of paper, even wrapped in plastic. Plus, I wanted to focus on Charlie Hebdo, so we continued to Place de la République—the center of the Charlie solidarity demonstrations, as well as those after the November 13 attacks.

We walked around the fountain, searching for the driest possible space, before settling on a patch that didn’t resemble a small lake. And then it was all go, go, go, and run away before anyone could ask any questions.




3One lady caught me while I was gathering my bags. She held up one of the book packages marked “en francais.”

“Are you the author of these books?” she asked me in French.

“Yes,” I admitted.

“Why are you doing this?” she asked.

Oh no, I thought. I’m going to cry. Did I mention that’s also something that occurs when people interview me about things I care deeply about? I tear up. Yeah. There’s a reason I’m a writer and not a TV presenter.

I did my fingernails-in-the-palm trick and tried to formulate an appropriate response in French. And, finally, only two words came out: “Books heal.”

The woman stared at me for a second, trying to decide if I was being sincere or if this was just a publicity stunt. And then she smiled broadly and nodded. “Yes,” she agreed. “Books heal.”

I turned and walked away as dignified as I could before grabbing Fiona and scurrying away. Mission accomplished. Project “Books Heal” complete. I hope it brought a few smiles and a little ray of light on this day of remembrance.


1 Year After Charlie Hebdo (part 1)

It’s been a year since the attacks at Charlie Hebdo were carried out down the street from me. So this morning, I sneaked down and taped this to the wall above the memorial before any of the lurking cameramen could see me. I also did something else super-sneaky…more on that in the next post!


I believe this with a fiery passion. As in…incendiary.


After the End in Turkish

I love my Turkish fans. They are so enthusiastic and supportive and send me such lovely messages! So it is with much delight that I announce that the Turkish version of AFTER THE END is now available!

(You can order it here!)

Yes, there’s Juneau in all her faux-post-apocalyptic glory, with two fuzzy dog butts thrown in for good measure. I really hope all you readers in Turkey enjoy the first of the duology! Thank you so much to my awesome Turkish publisher, Arkadas, for being so enthusiastic about all of my books.

12362074_211116915892905_1091176040_n turkishaftertheend