BY Rudy Mars (CMP)
Kalamazoo, MI — On Friday afternoon author Andy Mozina announced the plan for the Kalamazoo launch of his new novel, Contrary Motion, setting off a firestorm of criticism among industry watchers and the book-buying public.
The author will host a “Super Launch” event at Bookbug on Thursday, March 10th at 7 p.m., followed by a “Mega Launch” at Michigan News on Wednesday, March 23rd, from 6 – 8 p.m. Then, incredibly, there will be a “Climactic Launch” on Friday, April 22 at 4 p.m. in the Olmsted Room at Kalamazoo College.
Condemnation of the unprecedented plan was swift and universal.
“You can’t ‘launch’ something three times,” said Jim Waxman, a reseller of instructor copies of textbooks. “It’s like he doesn’t know what words mean.”
“It’s sad and annoying,” said Katie Henderson, a marketing professor at Western Michigan University. “He thinks calling something ‘super’ or ‘mega’ makes it special.”
Other Kalamazoo residents were even less charitable. “Why is he doing this?” said Alice Huff, director of Spinebusters, a local book club. “So stressful.”
“Obscene,” said another resident, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation.
So which one is the real launch?
“It really is one launch,” Mozina said with a laugh, lounging on his porch in plain grey sweats, a green headband around each thigh. “With two intermissions several weeks long and some venue changes.”
Mozina noted that each phase of the launch will offer attendees a different experience. The protagonist of the novel is an interpersonally challenged concert harpist preparing for an orchestra audition, so the theme of the launch is “Music: Everlasting Beauty.”
“At the Bookbug ‘Super Launch’ my lovely wife, Lorraine, will be playing lounge standards on the harp,” Mozina explained. “At the Michigan News ‘Mega Launch’ there will be an interlude of silent harp. Then at the K-College ‘Climactic Launch,’ Lorraine and violinist Andrew Koehler will open the festivities with Camille St. Saëns’ ‘Fantaisie.’”
At each event Mozina will read from the novel and sign books.
Each phase will also feature a raffle with drawings for free CDs of harp music. “And if you come to more than one phase of the launch, you get a free CD,” Mozina promised. “No questions asked.”
Mozina is confident that live harp music and free merchandise will help him ride out the public scorn.
“People forget that the greatest accomplishment in human history—putting a man on the moon—began with a three-stage Saturn V rocket,” he said pedantically. “I’ll leave it to the public to judge the historical impact of my novel, but like the Apollo missions it will also have a three-stage launch.” The controversial author picked a piece of lint off the headband on his right thigh. “Just sayin’.”