The Glamour Life On A Book Tour, Part II: Van City Letdown

Stop 2 – Vancouver

Vancouver is … Vancouver. It’s overcast, cool and raining. The Skytrain (above) from the airport is really nice. Can you imagine a relatively cheap LRT from the Edmonton airport to downtown? That would be fantastic.

Even so, there’s an overriding melancholy to my day. When I was booking this tour in February, I confirmed a night reading at a local indie bookstore, Ardea Books. It was a new store but many hailed it to be the successor to Duthie Books, which shutdown, by choice, in 2010 after 52 years of business. The owner of Ardea had managed Duthie’s for over 16 years.

Three and half weeks before my tour started, Ardea cancelled the event, claiming that they were having difficulty ordering books. That could have been understandable because six weeks before Fall From Grace was released, the Canadian distributor of the book, H.B. Fenn, declared bankruptcy. But there was a temporary solution and my publisher made sure that any Canadian bookstore that was part of tour would have books. An employee of Ardea surreptitiously e-mailed me that the real reason Ardea cancelled my event was the store would probably be out of business by the time I arrived in Vancouver (Ardea actually closed May 9th). I had already booked and paid for my flights.

Alexis, my New York publicist and I worked hard to get a replacement event. I contacted writer friends in Vancouver and a few of them offered suggestions and worked valiantly on my behalf to get me something, anything in Vancouver. I called some indie stores on my own, even some bigger ones, but most of them said they didn’t do in store events. That was weird. In Edmonton, our two great indie stores, Audrey’s and Greenwoods’, and they have at least one event every week, usually more. I’ve also managed to get a reading for a visiting writer a week and a half before he arrived in Edmonton.

There was also the federal election so no one in Vancouver wanted to compete with it. But I didn’t care, I just wanted a gig and knew if I got one, I could cajole enough people to attend. No such luck.

So I arrived in rainy Vancouver with no place to sell books. But since I was in town, I figured I could work some media. I and my publicist contacted as many media as possible and connected with two, an alt-weekly and a local radio show that covered books. Both said they would like to interview me when I was in town so all I had to do was contact them when I got there. I tried both when I arrived, but only one responded. We talked and he said once he had supper, etc., he would e-mail and let me know where we could meet and talk.

I waited for that e-mail for a couple of hours. Nothing. I watched the election results and got even more depressed. The only light in my day was the Skype call to home.

Wayne Arthurson’s latest detective novel Fall From Grace is available at Amazon and various other online locations — plus, at good old fashioned book stores. This four-part series covers his recent book tour in Canada and the U.S.