The date, Monday June 2nd, had been set MONTHS beforehand. The media schedule was, I thought, a model of balance and maximum coverage for maximum impact. (We publicists all dream of having the celebrity author to book media for, because it’s so “easy”, but in truth, in the end you make 5 or 6 people very very happy, and piss off a legion of others.)
The day had been planned to be respectful of how hard she’s worked to promote her book, Audition in the past month – just the previous Friday, she’d woken in Milwaukee, flown to Los Angeles to appear at Book Expo America (THE trade show for the publishing world) – signed books for an hour, attended one cocktail party, one dinner party and then caught the red eye back to New York!
So, wheels down 9:30 am – five interviews, and pre-sign books for evening event; with a lunch break, and another short end of day break before her evening event and flight home.
Well. After the second morning interview, Ms. Walters comments that there’s a long-ish lunch break – “let’s go somewhere for lunch – I almost never get to leave the hotel for lunch.” Ok – what would you like? It’s a gorgeous day – a patio, please, on a side street. We’re at the Soho Met, so Le Select is perfect. What a bonus – instead of just hustling her from one interview to next, here I am sitting with Barbara Walters on the first truly gorgeous day, having lunch on a patio.
Back to hotel to pre-sign books for Winter Garden event – Mike and Jennifer have a crew there to flap, open, slide, pull, box the books – it’s a well oiled machine. She’s asked where all she’s been on tour, what’s next, etc., and she answers “I can’t write and talk”. So we sort of chat around her. She finishes signing and says “Now I can tell you that I’ve been to 12 cities (rhymes them off, in order – I have the master schedule), and that I have to fly home tonight because I’m back on the View tomorrow for the first time in a month!”
After her last interview she decides she doesn’t need a rest before the event – let’s find another nice patio, have a small bite and a lovely coffee. Which we do, arriving at venue on time. The Winter Garden is sold out to the rafters, and word is that people are scalping tickets out front for $100!! She chats backstage with Heather Reisman, and then onstage with Heather Reisman, charming Heather and the audience.
The signing line after is incredible. So many women who get verklempt, saying they are in journalism because of her! Many people, aware that she has to leave, have bought presigned books, but still got in line for the chance to shake her hand!
She’s out the door at 9:15 pm, and in the air by 10 pm. And on The View the next morning at 11 am. And I am so glad I only had to try and keep up with her for 12-1/2 hours – she is truly amazing!
Photo by George Nikitaras