Going west!

A Texas reader recently got in touch about Doc. While she enjoyed the story, she said, “You don’t seem to think much of Texans.” I had to point out that John Henry Holliday didn’t think much of Texans. Of course, he was not meeting the cream of society while he lived in the Lone Star State. And in 1878, Dodge City wasn’t attracting many cultured, educated Texas sophisticates either.

I should have pointed out that one of my own personal favorite characters was D.W. Yarbrough, the Jesuit from Waco in The Sparrow. Didn’t think of that when I was replying to the reader, but D.W. was a honey.

In any case, it is always a mistake to presume that an author’s views are being expressed by a character. Sometimes our attitudes overlap. Sometimes they don’t. On one point, however, there is considerable agreement between John Henry Holliday and me: home is a beautiful word.

Right now, I have four loaves of bread rising. There’s laundry drying, and I’m ticking off a long list of things I want to do before I exit this household. For the next 8 weeks, I’ll be on the road almost continuously, with just enough time each week to fly home, do laundry, repack and leave again. I’ve bought 2 months of prescriptions for everybody — my husband, both dogs, and me. (We are an aging bunch, dependent on a lot of medications, but doing quite well, considering.) The bills are paid. The house is clean. (Am I the only one who saw the photos of Osama bin Laden’s hide-out and thought, “Three wives, and NOBODY cleans that bathroom?”) My husband is perfectly capable of doing this stuff, but it’s not like he’s got a lot of spare time, and I hate to leave him with a mess to take care of when I’m gone. Oh, and I should make some Holy Relic Cake, too, as long as I’ve got the oven on for the bread…

I’ve checked the 10-day  weather reports (around 60, days; around 50 nights). I’m charging up my phone and the notebook computer while I decide what to pack. On Monday, I’ll be flying out to the west coast for events in the Seattle, Denver and San Francisco areas. (See EVENTS for the details.) I’m really looking forward to seeing old and new friends out there, and I expect to have a good time on the road, but I know that before long, I will be frantic to be home. The last airport is always the worst. The yearning for home gets more intense as I get closer.

I’ve already done several interviews about Doc, and a couple of Cleveland area book events, so I’m getting a feel for the kinds of questions this book elicits. So far, people are surprisingly willing — eager, almost — to accept the idea that John Henry Holliday was not a psychotic killer with a death wish. There has been some latent American desire to believe he was better than the caricatures. As one reader told me, “I’ve always loved Doc Holliday. Now I know why I felt that way about him.”

That reaction, for me, is thrilling, and I’d like to believe that somewhere, Doc’s mamma is smiling.

Speaking of smiles! The Doc Holliday Memorial Smile Train Fund has collected enough for 8 additional cleft palate repairs in John Henry’s honor. There are almost 500 subscribers to this blog. Just a dollar from each of you would add two more surgeries that will each change the fortunes of  a whole family. Many thanks to the following donors for their generosity and their willingness to cave into my shameless guilt-mongering!

Jim and Maureen Reichardt

Theodore & Joanne Gostas

Elaine Pendergrast

Judi Tofuri

The Loomis Family

Judy Dunworth

Jennifer Tucker

Eleanor D’Addio Baehr

Ms. Jennifer Hershey

Bob Price

9 thoughts on “Going west!”

  1. The Dallas Morning News carried the glowing Kirkus Review of “Doc” in Sunday’s paper. I was thrilled they featured it. And my copy was delivered on Thursday — I was so excited about both that my husband laughed at me (in a good way)!

  2. Well, now it is time for you to hear from one Texan who thinks VERY highly of YOU. I just finished Doc and loved every word…it is a perfect book. I was a little worried that it might tarnish my Val Kilmer image of Doc…but it just buffed it out and put some much needed meat on him. Very cool to learn so much about the Earps too. Just a great book all the way around.

  3. Thanks, Steph, and thanks also to Stacy and Phil Carter, and to another donor who preferred to be Anonymous. We’re up to 19 donations now. You guys are wonderful!

  4. Mary,
    Thank you for this exquisite piece of historical fiction. I took a chance and checked out the book from the “Bestseller Express” at our library where you pay $1.00 to get these new releases for SEVEN DAYS ONLY. Seven days….could I get it read? From the first sentence, the first sentence… I was hooked. As an AP English lit teacher who studies The Iliad every single year, three times a day for one month–(LOVE Homer), I got goosebumps every time you mentioned ancient Greece and Rome. I almost cried when Doc played the piano at the end, and got so glum near the end knowing he would die that I had to stop momentarily to take a walk and look at the sky, like Doc and Kate did when they walked over to the Christmas party.

    First sentence to the absolutely beautiful glorious last page. Those lines seriously gave me chills, made me smile, made me say out loud–“That was a perfect ending.” I will be sharing this title with my students, and especially Kate’s invocation at the end of your book as we begin Homer in September

    So, wow! I can’t wait to get to your other titles. Thank you again, for this beautiful book and the experience it brings to people everywhere. The Holliday spirit lives on, n’est-ce pas?

  5. Thank you so very much, Jodie. I’m just delighted that someone who teaches Homer appreciated the nods to the classics, and relieved that you didn’t find any bonehead errors (at least none that you’ve mentioned to me)!

    Holliday Spirit! BIG LAUGHS!!! Might have to use that next December…

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