In Manhattan last week, I was finally able to assure myself that The Silver Swan: In Search of Doris Duke, will be published next spring; April 7, 2020, to be exact. After eight years of research in Doris’ archive at Duke University in North Carolina, writing, and editing, it has sometimes seemed to me, and probably to some of my readers, that the book only exists in a sort of mythic haze.
Now that the reality of its existence, and the reaction of critics and readers, is less than a year away, I find myself wondering what the actual experience of the book will be when I finally hold it in my hands. I know it will be beautiful—my publisher, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, is known for its handsome editions. And for readers who love photographs—and who doesn’t?—the thirty plus pages of black and white photos of Doris in many settings and at many times will be immensely appealing. It’s a special plus that these photos will be printed in folios, which means the paper will be choice, rather than inserted in the text and printed on regular paper.
As I begin to plan the publicity campaign, to include asking writers I admire, and sometimes know, to contribute blurbs, lining up reviewers—when possible—and planning bookstore events in Kentucky, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Manhattan and Hawaii—I am immensely grateful, ahead of time, for my readers. They have carried me through the publication of my twelve previous books, and have waited, patiently, for The Silver Swan to appear. The generosity of readers, who find time and money in the midst of so many distractions, to buy and read my book and come to my events, touches me to the heart.
Without you, my dear ones, my book would not exist, and I would hardly exist either.