Eric Mayer

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Mary and I have only just finished the first draft of our seventh Byzantine mystery so there won't be any books for us to sign this winter, thank goodness. I'd love to have a new novel coming out but transporting a half dozen or so boxes of books from the post office and back in the middle of the winter can be a chore.

Last year I dropped a box in the snow at the top of the hill in front of the house. My car was completely drifted in. My sister-in-law gave me a ride into town but couldn't get up the icy escarpment that passes for a drive. The boxes had to be lugged up from the road and I forgot my mountaineering gear.

I've been told readers and collectors like autographed copies. If someone owns a copy of Six For Gold with mysterious water stains from melted snow that's just a sign of my personal mishandling. Does that make it worth more?

Apparently the fact that the author has handled a book counts for something, othewise Mary and I would simply sign bookplates and mail them to the press to be stuck in place. So when our books are autographed we have had a hand on them as well as in them. I do wash my hands first. The way my hair's beginning to thin I hope no collector out there ends up with a few graying strands.

Mary and I usually sign the hundred or so books the press wants at one go. I can sign my name pretty quickly since I adjusted my signature during my twenties. The handwriting I learned in gradeschool verged on the roccocco with all its elaborate loops and curlicues. I finally decided it looked childish and was tedious to write as well so I eliminated all the extraneous squiggles in favor of unadorned lines I could scrawl naturally. Turns out it comes in handy for signing books.

Luckily we won't face that chore for awhile. Writing is more fun than signing.

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