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That’s me, on the far left, the only non-blonde on the cover of Long Island Woman (I’m naturally 50 Shades of Gray), in the spiffy hand-made Seattle fleece jacket I got on my last road trip to book stores in the Great Pacific Great Northwest. I’m sorry I’m not here in person for our usual Friday get-together, as today I’m on the road again — to Nashville Tennessee, to do a book event at Parnassus Books for Bastille Day this Saturday.

Fashion-wise, I haven’t made up my mind yet what I’ll be wearing on stage in Nashville because I think it’ll be too hot to wear the long-sleeved outfit I bought especially for my Author Photo for Le Road Trip (above). As you can see, I go to a lot of trouble for my Author Photo, special outfits (that’s my French Mme look), props, cutting and pasting me into a cafe of my imagination.  I hate most author photos you see on books these days, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to settle for a teeny postage-stamp-size pic of me on the inner dust jacket flap, holding my damn chin in my damn hand. Nope, no sir, not me. Give me a glass of wine and a jaunty pose, like the great lady authors of yore:

Agnes Sligh Turnbull (1888 – 1982), bestselling authoress of the 1940s and ’50s, took up the whole back cover of her books, looking every inch like a Grande Dame of Belle Lettres, yes?

Agatha Young, post-war historical romance novelist, had the decency to get her hair done up all nice and  fancy for her official author photo plastered on the entire back cover of her books. Sigh….no author gets a glamour shot that fills up the whole back cover of their books any more, just as nobody names their daughters Agatha or Agnes any more. Yes, I collect old books that have fabulous author photos on them and here’s the Queen of them all:

Oh, lordy, the hat, the dog…too divine! She’s Irene Handl, author of The Sioux (an unreadable drawing-room novel written entirely in dialog, published by Knopf sometime in the ’60s). Irene Handl’s bio on the dust jacket describes her as “born in 1902 of an Austrian father and French mother. She went on the stage in her late thirties, and from here to film and television. She lives in London.” I am in agony, longing to know the name of Irene Handl’s little dog.

Next book I do, I’m definitely going to accessorize my author photo with a dog and a hat. As for the accessories I’ve chosen for my one and only Author Event for Le Road Trip, I plan to sport these tres chic pieces of vintage Trifari jewelry:

I have no idea how many people will join me in Nashville for wine and gossip on Bastille Day tomorrow (Deborah? Are you really driving five hours across state lines??) but even if I end up talking to myself, I’ve memorized the entire seven verses of Jabberwocky in case I have t fill in ay uncomfortable pauses in conversation between me and my worst-case-scenario-come-true, and I might even try to impress the voices in my head by using my renowned Australian accent when I quote from this review of Le Road Trip from the Sydney Morning Herald (July 7):

Be swept along by warm wit and good humor:

It is like the freshest breath of air to open this charming book full of delightful watercolour sketches and presented in a quirky typeface that Vivian Swift, a former Faberge expert at Christie’s auction house, designed herself …This book is a passionate evocation of France… Like a delicious profiterole, this is a book so rich and sweet it deserves to be consumed slowly, so every observation is savored.”

I think Irene Handl would name her chihuahua something like “Peppino”, or “Goliath”, or “Cary Grant”, I just bet.

9 comments to On the Road Again

  • Michele

    I wish I could be there, but from Alberta it is such a long way. You look great on the cover – the grey is tres chic, and I can’t wait to see your next book jacket photo (and your next book). I hope you have a wonderful time in Nashville and that the crowds don’t overwhelm you.

  • I recognized your beau manteau from a video about your book:)
    Received When Travelers Cease To Roam it just as much as Le Road Trip..
    I have a winter warrior soul too :) QC.
    Enjoy Nashville~

  • Deborah

    I’m getting “M” vibes on that dog’s name — Mortimer or Mordechai (sp?).

    Well, if I were on the fence about coming to Nashville, that poodle pin would propel me to Nashville. It’s only 3 hours from here.

  • Carol

    You look so pretty and younger than those blonde ladies. I love the pins, but what about a kitty cat pin???

  • Mary

    I would LOVE to be 3 hrs away from meeting a real person who wrote and illustrated a book I read.
    Vivian; If I was three hours away, I’d be there.

    As it is, I’m, about 20 hrs. by car FROM PHILADELPHIA. ( I think) sorry I can’t make it.

    Tell us all about it; ok?
    Good vibes, I hope. You will be wonderful to listen to, I’m sure. I heard first hand about your trip to Portland,and it was great. Wonderful. funny. well-planned. Personal. Informative. etc. etc.

  • Joan

    I think Ms. Handl would have named her dog an Indian name, don’t you? If she wrote a book titled “The Sioux,” I would say she invested a great deal of time in Indian lore. I’m thinking something like Cochise, Geronimo, Lakota.

    Have a great time in Nashville. Wish I could attend with my friend, Tammy, who lives there. I think you’d better take very light weight clothing, they’ve been having a hellacious heat wave down yonder.

  • Nadine

    Congratulations on “Le Road Trip” international! All the way out to Australia is amazing. Is a book tour planned there?

    Celebrons Bastille Day in the South, y’all. I hope you don’t wilt.

  • What a supreme compliment to have your book described as a delicious profiterole! What could be better?
    You definitely have to have one or all of your cats in your author photo.
    I hope you got to meet Anne Patchett.

  • Rachel

    Oh, I do hope that you did not wilt in Nashville and that a good sized crowd gathered to help celebrate Bastille Day with you. Looking forward to the stories.
    I have found the one of Irene Handl’s movie roles was in 1953 movie Meet Mr Lucifer (about the evils of television) and her character was *lady with a dog.* But that was many years before the book was written and perhaps the photo taken. So it might be a different dog.

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