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It’s very fashionable, and practical, to rail against the idea of “inspiration.” Writers I respect talk about discipline and hard work and consistency, and how absurd and indulgent it is to depend on inspiration. “Butt in chair,” they say. “Fingers on keyboard.”

But I’ll confess: I’m not above inspiration. After weeks of being utterly distracted from working on the next book by the demands of writing promotional stuff for the current book, I sat down this morning to finalize invitations for all my upcoming events. And ended up writing some lovely words for a character that had previously stymied me instead.


Glad to have the words; now behind on invitations. See-saw. I wonder what words will come out of me tomorrow.


Harriet Klausner is Amazon’s most prolific reviewer. Can she possibly read all the books she reviews? Doubtful. At least she’s generally positive. (Her relentlessly four and five star reviews make her opinion less credible, but at least she’s not attacking books.)

My time has come: the Harriet Klausner review of The Whole World has hit the internet. In addition to Amazon (on which it has not yet appeared, but no doubt it eventually will), she posts to many, many other sites. It’s everywhere.

I’m not going to link to it, because it contains major spoilers that I think will harm the experience of reading the book. But I will say: she has clearly read it!

Note to self–the wisteria over the wall of Sidney Sussex college is in bloom. I always forget what time of year that happens; now I can just look up the date on this post ๐Ÿ™‚

05/07/2010 07:12 PM

18 days to go! On May 25th, The Whole World will be officially out in the US and Canada (though you may well see it around earlier–launch dates aren’t super-exact, except in special cases like Harry Potter).

The export to the UK is set for July 1st. I’ll be having a launch party/signing at Heffers in Cambridge on Friday July 9th at 6:30pm–if you live around here, you’ll receive an invitation. All are welcome, so feel free to bring friends!

Of course I hope everyone in the wide world will buy this book and read it–but I also understand that, for personal reasons you don’t need to justify, books are expensive and reading is a commitment of time and energy. If you don’t buy the book, or buy it but don’t read it, or read a library copy, PLEASE don’t feel you need to hide that from me or apologize. I would hate for my book to cause discomfort–you don’t need to explain yourself, and I trust in your good wishes for me.

If you want to help in some way:

1) Come to one of my bookstore events, if you can. (Bring friends!)

2) If you’re weighing whether to buy the book at a store or through Amazon: a store purchase is more helpful to the book, if all things are equal for you. BUT if buying from Amazon is significantly easier for you, that’s cool too. I appreciate every sale.
(You can find an indie bookstore close to you by going to to )

3) After you’ve read it, if you genuinely like it, you might want to post a review on Amazon or Goodreads (or Library Thing, or wherever you hang out and talk books ๐Ÿ™‚ ย The most respected reviews are specific about what they like.

THE WHOLE WORLD will probably eventually be shelved in the “mystery” section of your bookstore, though I hope in the first few weeks it will be up front on “new releases” tables in some of them. I have no “co-op” (which is when the publisher pays for front table or endcap space), so I really can’t be sure where it will be. If you see a particularly nice display, consider taking a pic and sending it to me!

Remember back when marketing was putting all that hyperbole into the book description? Well, now they’ve put hyperbole into describing me! My publicist has given me PDFs of the press release and related docs–you can find them on my website at

We leave for the U.S. on June 2nd, and come home July 6th. I’ll be doing around 25 book-related events/activities in 8 states. I’m kind of starting to lose my mind. So many DETAILS! Plus, we’ll be traveling as a family: husband, with laptop and cell phone; our two boys; and my mom. We’re only staying in one hotel the whole time; in all other places, generous friends/family are putting us up.

PS–Writing the next book is HARD TO DO when one is spending all one’s time writing blog posts, interview answers and Cambridge-related articles. All this promotion is crazy! But one must use the month one has–a lot of places will only review new fiction, and a book gets a sales reputation quickly. I’m doing the best I can.

Emily Winslow
Delacorte Press / Random House
Hardcover, May 25th US / UK 1st July

From “Envoy” by Billy Collins, a message to his just-published book:

"stay out as late as you like,
don't bother to call or write,
and talk to as many strangers as you can."