Monday, September 17, 2007

Action on a rainy New England weekend.

I’m back from another British Invasion weekend to find Look Me in the Eye has taken off in the online bookstores. Over the weekend, my sales rank rose into the top 100 – bestseller territory – on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble online.

What happened?

On Friday afternoon, Elle Magazine hit the newsstands with my book as their reader’s choice for October. At the same time, People Magazine ran a full-page story on Look Me in the Eye. And across the pond, The Times in London ran a long story on me and the book.

The Elle and People stories are in print only. You can read the Times article here:
http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/families/article2423565.ece


And with that, the book has taken off. There will be more publicity this week, and then next week, it’s on sale.

I sure am glad people like it. It’s like the stars are just aligned for this book. Everything has gone well from that moment back in January when my agent sent it out to publishers for review. Where will it go from here?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, let me tell you about the British Invasion . . .

The Robison Service contingent numbered fourteen people and seven vehicles. Three Land Rovers, a Rolls Royce, a Bentley, and two MINIs. Our crew straggled in during the day, with me bringing up the rear, arriving at 8:30 in my green MINI. When I arrived the dining room at the Stowe Inn was filled with car enthusiasts, and hoots and bellows filled the air. To listen to that crowd, you’d never guess they pretend to be respectable business people by day.

We awoke Saturday to a steady cold rain, fine weather for a British car show. One by one, we cranked up the cars – all of which started – and drove the two miles to the field where the event is held.

Seven hundred cars had turned the pasture into a sea of mud, with cars slipping, sliding, and getting stuck. Our beautifully detailed cars threw rooster tails of mud as they made their way across the field, sliding into parking spaces and throwing slop onto other contestants. If the whiskey tent had been open for business, there surely would have been fistfights.

I walked the field, talking to the many friends I’ve made at these shows over the years. Many people asked about my book, and I continued to be amazed at how everyone seems to have a grandson or nephew or friend or something with autism or Asperger’s. Has it been everywhere all this time, and I never knew? Remarkable.

Jan, our event organizer, talked enthusiastically and considered our plan for the following day. Having whupped the competition like dogs last year in the tailgate picnic competition, Jan and Bobby reluctantly decided to let someone new win this year, and they withdrew from that competition. We polished our cars in the pouring rain, as we considered the fine English weather our hosts had arranged for the occasion.

I had all I could take by two o’clock, and I retreated to the hotel to take a nap.

The Rolls Royce club’s dinner is always a high point of the show, but this year it had devolved among bickering. It broke up into three separate parties, with our group and ten others at the Blue Moon, and the rest at the Mad Dog and the Whistling Duck, two other local establishments. Bob and I bought the group three bottles of fair champagne, which they consumed with enthusiasm. Bob regaled us with stories of toy production in the Far East, and other tales of his life and times. We retired to our rooms at midnight.

The next morning, we rode back to the show field, and lined up in the mud again. The sun finally came out, just in time to leave. We departed for home at lunchtime, and we are still cleaning the mud from the cars.

Next year, I hope the organizers will hold the event without British weather. The addition of accurate weather scared away at least half the contestants.

7 comments:

Michelle O'Neil said...

It has not been everywhere all this time. It is a new epidemic. You are grandfathered in!

LOVE that you took care of yourself and got a nap.

The stars are aligned for this book because your intentions are pure and you have much to say that will help so many. 1 in 150 these days on the spectrum. 1 in 84 boys.

All we can say as parents is Thank You!

Holly Kennedy said...

Congrats again, John.

P.S. By the way, you should add these two URLs to your sidebar for Canadian readers who want to buy it online:

Amazon.ca
chapters.indigo.ca

Kim Stagliano said...

Good things happen to good people. OJ Simpson? Not so much.

Can't wait for the launch on the 25th. I'm hearing from several people who are going to try to attend. I hope we'll have a little "autism Mom" cheering section.

Laura said...

Congrats on the early success of the book! I know the People article will mean lots of readers when the book hits the brick and mortar stores! Can't wait to buy it myself! (at a regular old brick and mortar store...)

kristina said...

Very exciting. Thank you for writing your story; one wonders at how many adults with autism in the past have not written theirs, and what they might have said. It does "feel" as if autism is an epidemic---it is certainly on many people's minds.

The Muse said...

I just read the London Times article. I was amused by Ann Treneman’s descriptions of your personality. “He is a gifted storyteller with a deadpan sense of humour and the book is a rollicking read.”

“Writing his life story taught him how extraordinary he really is.”

What a great article, John.

Congrats!

aspymom said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. As a mother of an 15 year old aspergian I am happy that your are letting the world into an unknown world. Our bookstore just received it yesterday and my son cannot wait to start reading it. Sometimes it is hard to believe that he will live a independent life, so your story gives me great hope that he will be ok. Thanks again. Aspymom