I may be the only author in the world who doesn’t really mind if she doesn’t go on book tour. That’s not to say that I don’t want to sell a gazillion copies of my book and wake up to find it posted in the top ten on a bestseller list, I just don’t want to travel to do it and the reason is because I’m terrified of flying. Really scared. Like I break out in a sweat when I get on the plane. I get sick in my stomach. And if there’s turbulence, well, I more or less completely lose my senses. My palms sweat, my heart rate skyrockets, and I hyperventilate.
This is, I realize, completely inconvenient. Modern life requires some travel. About ten years ago, in an effort to get over this fear, I went up in a plane with a friend who flies acrobatically. I was nervous but fine when he let me fly the plane. I maintained pretty well through the barrel rolls, but when he did a loop manuever, that was it. I turned white, then green, got the shakes, totally freaked out, and screamed until he landed the plane.
Even I recognize this is not acceptable behavior on a commercial airliner. Then there’s the dilemma I always face: do I medicate for the trip or face it sober? Medicating’s not an option if I’m with my kids, and if I’m alone, then what do I do when I arrive woozy and hung-over?
So far I’ve been lucky. I get to do local publicity. But if the tides turn and you happen to see a white-knuckled woman in an aisle seat whispering the Hail Mary as the drink cart careens down the narrow aisle, please just politely ignore me and then go buy a copy of my book.