Postcard from Auckland, New Zealand

Greetings from the lush shores of New Zealand! I have just one complaint — my visit here is much too short. When I told the gentleman at customs that I would be here less than two days, he looked at me as if I were crazy.

And you would have to be crazy to leave these brilliantly blue skies, gentle ocean breezes, charming people, and delicious sauvignon blancs. But I only have 36 hours, so I’m making the best of it.

Yesterday I met the Michael King Book Group at a local cafe and we talked about bookshops and novels and book clubs. Then we walked across the street to the Takapuna Library where Helen Woodhouse graciously introduced me to readers. I shared some stories from my life as a writer in Alaska, and they recommended some New Zealand novels that I am anxious to read.

Later I met people from Hachette, my publisher here and in the UK, for dinner at a lovely restaurant. We ate and laughed and talked books and laughed some more. I realized these kiwis would fit in perfectly at our neighborhood parties in Alaska. My cheeks still hurt from all the laughter.

Today I am talking with New Zealand media, including National Radio, local newspapers, and Stuff website. This afternoon: I get to visit a bookstore. Then, before the day is done, I hop on a plane for London.