John Grogan - The Longest Trip Home


My whirlwind publication day

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tuesday was my publication day, and it was an adrenaline-filled combination of heady excitement and sheer terror. Well, maybe not terror, but it's hard to go on a live national talk show such as Good Morning America, knowing millions of Americans are tuning in, without feeling a few very fluttery butterflies in your gut. What if I go totally blank? What if I spit out something totally nonsensical? ("The Russians are coming!") What if I really, really need to scratch my nose? But my GMA interviewer, Chris Cuomo, a kid who grew up very, very Catholic himself, put me at ease almost instantly. He was so enthusiastic about the book, and so collegial and chatty, that by the time the cameras rolled at about 8:45 a.m. I felt like I was sitting at a bar shooting the breeze with an old friend over a beer. Thanks Chris, for helping me get through the pre-show jitters. (To view my Good Morning America appearance, click "Media" at the top of this page.)

After the Cuomo interview, it was a short walk down the hallway at the ABC studios in Times Square to Good Morning America Radio where I did another interview. Then I took a few minutes to read the two great reviews that came out that morning -- one in the New York Times and one in the Washington Post. Whew! Actually, I need to confess that I didn't wait till mid-morning to read them. More accurately, I took a few moments to RE-read them. What Mr. Neurotic here actually did was rise at 5 a.m. to nervously surf the web for any pub-date reviews, and first saw them online then. (To read them and others, please click "Reviews" in the bar above.)

From ABC, my agent Laurie Abkemeier and I headed over to HarperCollins Children division to discuss with the publishing team there my kids books, including the newly released Very Marley Christmas. Then we walked down Fifth Avenue to the Barnes & Noble store at 46th Street for a 12:30 p.m. signing. Thanks to all who turned out to say hi.

My afternoon was spent back at HarperCollins working with Michael Barrs and the online team doing a real-time phone question-and-answer session with people who were calling in from as far away as Switzerland. Then I recorded a podcast that will be posted on this website. The day ended with a great dinner out with my William Morrow publishing team: deputy publisher Lynn Grady, my editor Mauro DiPreta, my dynamic publicity duo, Seale Ballenger and Ben Bruton, and Laurie the indefatigable agent and manager of all my business affairs. I guess it's a sign of our collective slide into middle age (with me way out in front of the others years-wise) that instead of tying on a celebratory bender (I knew I had to be up at 5 the next morning) we sipped individual glasses of wine and instead reminisced about drinking nights past. Maybe not too wild, but we all had a lot of fun. And the food at Anthos was great.

The next morning, Ben and I headed pre-dawn to a recording studio in Manhattan where over the next six hours I conducted brief interviews via satellite connection with 22 television stations across the country. And let me tell you, that's a LOT of jawboning! After lunch, I participated in an online author chat at the And in the evening headed to Book Revue in Huntington, NY, out on Long Island where I read from my book and signed copies for a group of exceptionally nice folks. Special thanks to the DiPreta clan for showing up in force on a school night.

This morning I left New York on a 9 a.m. flight, and I'm writing this from the Boston Public Library where I found an open wireless connection. In a few minutes I'm walking down the street to a Barnes & Noble for a lunch-hour book signing. Then I have an early dinner with my sister-in-law Susan and niece Elizabeth and then an evening flight to Chicago.

My brother Michael just emailed to report that the staff at my mother's nursing home near my childhood home outside Detroit made sure Mom was front and center to watch me on Good Morning America Tuesday. Reports are she was beaming broadly. In case you're listening, Mom, I'm eating my vegetables on book tour and trying to get enough sleep. And, of course, I love you!

posted by John Grogan at 7:58 AM


Blogger Jillian said...

I rushed out on Tuesday to buy a copy of The Longest Trip Home. I had been eagerly anticipating its arrival for months. Being a fellow Catholic, native of Detroit, and owning my own version of Marley (a yellow lab named, Bailey), I felt I could really connect to your experiences in the book. I am not finished yet, but have loved every word thus far. Thanks for all the laughs and tears.

-Jillian Koeneman

1:36 PM  
Blogger KathyWagner said...


I am so happy for you. I can't imagine how stressful it must be waiting for reviews on a new book after a runaway success like Marley and Me. Great to see all the positive buzz.

You were a huge part of my morning commute for several years. And the 45 minute ride on SEPTA is not the same without you, believe me. Somehow you always manage to bring your readers right into the story with you, both in your books and in your columns. It is a very rare gift.

My husband and I absolutely adored Marley and me. And having read some of your Inquirer columns about growing up I am really looking forward to cracking open my newly purchased copy of The Longest Trip Home.

Wishing you every success. Your loyal Inquirer fans still miss you! Getting to read you every few years isn't enough of a "Grogan fix". :)

Kathy Wagner

2:57 PM  
Blogger John Grogan said...

HI JILLIAN AND KATHY... Thanks so much for the great and sweet feedback. And Kathy, if you check the events tab, you will see I've got several Philly area readings scheduled in the weeks ahead. Free Library...Chester County Books, etc. Hope to see you at one of them!


7:23 PM  
Blogger Erin said...


Congratulations on another terrific book. I picked up a copy on Tuesday morning and did not put it down until finishing it on Wednesday night. Your writing is so engaging - everything came to life as I read it. Considering that I am a Jewish girl born in the '80's, raised in New Jersey, it really speaks to your ability to tell a story that even with my radically different upbringing, I found so much to connect to. Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow at Borders!

Chicago, IL

10:15 PM  
Blogger Maíra said...

Hi John,
My name is Maira, I`m from Brazil, but at the moment i am living in Ireland to improve my English. I read the last page of Marley and Me yesterday and as a journalist and a lover of good stories and dogs, i must say that you did a great job! Not only I had the chance to improve my vocabulary, but also i had an amazing experience with your book!It remind me my dog/friend/brother Billy, who died 2 years ago! Thank you very much! Best of luck!
Maíra Araújo

2:49 AM  
Blogger Nicola said...


I have only just realised by coming on to that you have a new book. I am delighted to hear this as I will now be buying it as soon as I hit the shops (that's if it's out in Britain yet), and hopefully it will offer me some much needed relaxation as I am studying for my MA (hons) degree in English and currently writing my dissertation.

I loved Marley and Me! I read it when it came out a couple of years ago. It made me laugh out loud on several occasions! And I was crying towards the end. I love that dogs can have such an effect on our lives and they do in fact become part of the family. My dog Cracker is just as crazy as Marley was. You wrote the book so well that i feel like I knew Marley. It's one of my favourite books now and I can't wait till the movie comes out, and even more so since it has a great cast!

I'm hoping one day that I too will be a writer. Hopefully I will be able to deliver a story as superbly as you do.
Thank you for sharing Marley's adventures with us!


9:08 AM  
Blogger Chuck from Tacoma said...

I just gave in and let my grand daughter read Marley and Me. She is 11 years old. I know that there is a childrens version available, but as one of her best friends (Nathan Gamble) has a part in the movie, she had to be able to read the "real" version.
We knew when she was at the end, when she melted in tears in Gramma's arms just this evening.
Jasmynn is now on the couch, watching TV and holding her dogs tightly on her lap. Oh, the love.
Anyway, I think I will wait for tomorrow to tell her about your new book.

7:56 PM  
Blogger elderbio said...


I appreciate this moment that I have to leave a comment. I must say that I loved your book "Marley and Me." I have always grown up loving animals. In my life I have owned two labs just as lively as yours. I don't know what it is exactly, but I connect with books about dogs. As a kid my favorite book was "Where the Red Fern Grows." It was the only book I would read. Other books such as "Shiloh" and "Sounder" inspired me. However, your book meant so much more for me. I really connected on so many levels. My wife and I are newlyweds and have been considering starting a family and we both love dogs. Sadly our apartment doesn't accomodate animals so that will have to wait. I guess to get to the point, I would like to thank you for bringing the joy of owning a dog back into my life and giving me the happy thoughts of a prospective family. By the way, I think my wife cried consistently for the last eighty pages or so. I don't think I did much better.

Josh Jensen

10:00 PM  
Blogger Broke But Still Drinking said...

I just wandered here by accident. Forgive the intrusion.

1:31 PM  
Blogger Sheila said...

John...parabens pelo seu livro...adorei...foi um prazer imenso...pois consigo imaginar a vida com um cachorro desse ...tenho uma labrador em casa chamada meggy...


7:07 AM  
Blogger Maura said...

John: Loved Marley, am reading Longest Trip. Have to correct you on one thing, though: the Immaculate Conception was the conception of Mary, not Jesus.

Dan Kennedy

10:00 AM  

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