Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Courting Disaster

By Rhys Bowen.

When this blog is aired I’ll be in the middle of a book tour to promote my new Lady Georgie novel called Queen of Hearts. You’d think that book tours are glamorous and thrilling events, wouldn’t you? Well, in many ways they are. It’s a huge rush to walk into a bookstore full of excited people who have driven for miles to meet me. It’s even cool to come out of the airport to see someone with a limo waiting for me.

But for me book tours are fraught with danger (and I don’t mean from crazed fans. My fans are always lovely and well-behaved). I mean clothing disasters. If you have read my Royal Spyness books you’ll know that Lady Georgie is a little accident-prone. Do you know where she gets that from? You’ve guessed it. I’m the person who asks for tomato juice on the plane right before we hit turbulence. Who dips the sleeve of her prized Armani jacket (snagged for a song at a designer resale boutique) in dark brown gravy.

Or even worse, what happened to me in Los Angeles one year. I arrived at the hotel early, went to get a coffee and sit in the courtyard. The person at Starbucks must have been new, or not liked the look of me. As I picked up the cup the lid came flying off and with it hot coffee all over me. I mean all over--white turtle neck, pants and, worst of all, my lovely red leather jacket. I grabbed napkins, rushed to the nearby fountain and started sponging the jacket furiously, all the time believing that it was either ruined or I was in for a very expensive cleaning. Miraculously the patient sponging worked and there are only a couple of specks still visible. But the turtle neck and the pants were useless for the rest of the weekend.

So I have learned from my mistakes. Now I always take one spare neutral top and one spare pair of black pants because you never know….. Like the time I was on a midday TV show. I finished my segment but I'm sitting on one of those high stools and I can't leave when the host announces that next we're having a cooking demonstration. The chef makes a very red, very oily, tomato type pasta sauce. He pours it over spaghetti and then, to my utter horror--he hands me some to eat. On camera. With my white shirt on. Okay, so I've never been the best spaghetti eater and with the world watching me slurp it in while sauce drips down my front is something I’d rather avoid. So another thing I've learned: PRACTICE PRETENDING TO EAT.

On one tour I did TV show in Seattle. It was to promote The Twelve Clues of Christmas and the host suggested I might like to make sausage rolls on camera. Yeah, right. Julia Child I am not. I promised I would come with ready-made sausage rolls to hand out to the audience. Disaster averted.

I’ve also learned the hard way that I have to try out new shoes before the tour. One year my tour was in July. I called it Rhys’s hot tour—because it hit all the hottest places in the US. I bought a cute new pair of sandals. They felt great in the store. However once my feet were in 100 degree heat they swelled and the strap cut into my toes, resulting in horrible blisters. By the second day I simply couldn’t wear the sandals any more. Neither did I have time to shop—rushing to catch a plane. So I had to buy flip flops at the hotel pool shop—pink rubber flip-flops. Not exactly the elegant result I wanted.

I’ve also learned : Always take along a pashmina in the carry-on for those freezing planes, a long sleeved shirt when you think you'll only need short and a sweater. Because if I don’t I can guarantee I’ll give a speech somewhere right under the air conditioner.

My big fear is that I'll wear the same outfit at the same store two years in a row. Fans always come up to me with pictures they've taken of us together on the last occasion. How mortifying when I look and see it's the same jacket! They must think I only have one. I should keep a fashion diary, but who has time?

So I hope I'm prepared—it will be warm in Scottsdale, cold and foggy in San Diego. At least it shouldn’t be wet, but who knows? Once I was caught in a monsoon downpour as I got out of my car in Phoenix.

Do you have any fashion disasters you'd like to share?


Rhys is the author of the Molly Murphy 
mysteries, featuring an Irish immigrant
in the early 1900s, and the Royal Spyness 
novels about a penniless minor royal in the 
Her books have won many awards and 
made the New York Times bestseller list. 
Details of her current tour can be found 
on www.rhysbowen.com


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