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Monday, April 12, 2010

July 11, 2008

Yesterday was the release date for Findings, so I'm shifting into full promotional mode. Well, not full promotional mode...I have to write Floodgates. More on that later. First, the exciting news.

Findings spent its release day steadily hitting more and more rarefied bestseller lists on Amazon. It started out on the list of Hot New Large-print Mystery Releases, then I found it nestled on the Hot New Large-print Mystery Releases. So far, so good. Sometime yesterday afternoon, the regular old non-large-print hardcover edition hit the list of Hot New Mystery Releases featuring a woman sleuth. (Yes, they really do slice the data that thin. On a site with more than a million books available, there are quite a few ways for your sales to look good, but there's about a million ways for them to look bad. I'm glad my book's looking good.)
Then, right about bedtime last night, it bumped up another notch and cracked a seriously nice bestseller list--Hot New Mystery Releases. I broke out the champagne. Well, okay, it was Coca-Cola, but it felt celebratory anyway.

As for Floodgates, I'm a few chapters into it, and it's developing nicely. As always, though, I'm in some danger of enjoying my research too much. New Orleans is such an evocative setting, and recent history is so stark. I've been in touch with a gentleman whose team coordinated rescue of Katrina victims by interfacing satellite photos with laser topographic surveys to determine water depths so rescuers knew whether to go in flatboats, airboatss, or high-axle vehicle. Then they located each known stranded victim using the latitude and longitude harvested from their panicked text messages. (Texting worked better than voice calls. Why? I don't know.) Those texts, sent to worried loved ones, were turned into various emergency agencies then sent to his mapping team so that they could prepare satellite photos for rescuers to use in finding people before it was too late. (Submerged street signs are fairly worthless.) Internet service was non-existent, so these maps had to be sent by satellite phone, or airlifted into the city in the form of data bricks--major-league jump drives. Fascinating.

And I'm also now in touch with an archaeologist who worked at Andrew Jackson's Battle of New Orleans battlefield. She also did the research for the Historical Register application for the New Orleans drainage system, which was more riveting reading than it sounds. But then, I'm an engineer. More romantic projects of hers include the Hotel Rising Sun and the station for the Streetcar Named Desire. These things will worm their way into the book. I just wish I was sure how. Floodgates is due out in August 2009.
I've got a lot of signings and talks and interviews lined up over the next few months, so hop on over to my schedule and see if I'll be near you. Enjoy the rest of your summer!


  1. kerry

    Reply #1 on : Sat August 29, 2009, 03:05:25

    I just finished reading Floodgates tonight. I am not a math and science type, but I found I really enjoyed the scientific/engineering details in this book and learning more about New Orleans and its water problem. Especially interesting about engineering for New Orleans floods vs. engineering for Netherlands floods. Great work on writing the accounts from the past! You are such an interesting blend of engineer as well as gifted writer--your characters are friendly and real, and I enjoyed getting to know them! And it is so nice to see library-types and bookish types portrayed positively!

  2. Mary Anna

    Re: Finishing a book sure feels good...
    Reply #2 on : Tue March 16, 2010, 20:39:20

    Thanks, Laura! It's good to know that somebody's looking for it!

  3. Laura

    Re: Finishing a book sure feels good...
    Reply #1 on : Wed March 10, 2010, 20:35:09

    I'm thrilled to hear I'll be able to read another book by you soon.