Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Jack's not a Yachtsman!

A few nights ago, down in Florida with the family, my wife and I were eating at a little restaurant by the water. The restaurant's patio overlooks a small marina packed with expensive yachts, and at the table next to us, a famously reticent football coach was regaling a small party of diners with tales of life in the NFL.

After the group finished, they made their way down to a gorgeous, perfectly maintained, antique wooden motorboat; the kind you'd expect to see in photos of St. Tropez or some other exotic locale for the rich and famous. The owner of the boat, and host of the dinner, turned out to be legendary CEO Jack Welch.

Mr. Welch was not the primary character in this scene, however. Upon realizing that he was in the vicinity of business royalty, an older gentleman at the table next to us shot to his feet. He had been talking about Bernie Madoff, theorizing about hidden stores of cash. He was tan, thin, in his seventies. His hair was brown, with a subtle hint of purple, and his sweater a delightful green.

He stood with his hands in his pockets and called to Jack. He tried several times to gain Jack's attention, without success. Then he said, with some confusion, and at a significant volume, "That's Jack's boat? Jack's not a yachtsman!"

The boat cruised off successfully, and as far as I know it did not sink, yet I still think this story might be a good transition into some book-related news: The impending release of my next novel, Dangerous Waters: An Adventure on Titanic.

The book is out on March 13. It has absolutely nothing to do with that dinner, nor the puzzled, purple-haired man, but a boat does figure prominently. So does extreme wealth: The story centers in part on Titanic passenger Harry Widener, a collector of fabulously expensive rare books. Publishers Weekly just gave Dangerous Waters a nice review, and the Children's Book of the Month Club selected it as one of their new titles for the season.

Soon I'll be visiting schools in the area to discuss the book, and writing in general, and we're also putting together a few events. I'll be joining in the Kids' Authors Extravaganza at the Andover Bookstore on March 24th, then reading at Bunch of Grapes, on Martha's Vineyard, on Saturday April 7th.