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My Book is Going to Australia…And So Am I

I have been bursting to share this news for the last week or so: Australian publisher Text has officially acquired the rights to THE RULES OF INHERITANCE and will be publishing the book next year. In addition to putting out the book, they’re bringing me to Australia for a book tour.

The people at Text are so excited about the book and have written such nice things to me about it that I have ended up teary on more than one occasion in the last week. I seriously couldn’t be more thrilled or more humbled. Every week has brought something new with TRI and each response to the book has been above and beyond my wildest dreams. To not only sell foreign rights in the first place, but to sell them to such an esteemed publisher in AUSTRALIA — a place where so many of my lovely readers are and a place I’ve always wanted to visit — is almost too much to comprehend.

I keep thinking about all the people who are reading about my parents, and about how my parents are living on in other people’s memories all across the world. I read once that a person is truly dead when there is no one left to remember them. After I heard that I used to count how many people were alive who had known my father and since so many of his friends and family were gone already, I always came up with a small number. But all that changes now. My parents and their lives and their stories will exist in larger ways than I’d ever really dreamed.

I also keep thinking about all of my Australian readers. You guys have been some of my most loyal followers since I began this blog, and I can’t wait to meet every single one of you.

Almost exactly eight years ago this very month I woke up one morning in my little apartment in Venice Beach and sat down at my computer. My father had been dead for two months. I sipped my coffee and checked email, all the boring kinds of things you do even though the most important person in your life is gone, and as I was scanning through the statistics for a little blog I had started a few months earlier I realized that the number of hits had quadrupled over night.

I’d started the blog in June after I read about another successful blog in the newspaper. Maybe that’s what I need, I’d thought. I had been out of school for a year and missed having a reason to write on a regular basis. A few days later Life in LA was born. I wrote almost every day that summer, mostly about the experience of taking care of my dying father in his little Orange County condo. It was cathartic to say the least, and the fifty or so readers I’d garnered made me feel a little less lonely.

But that late September morning in 2003, I scanned the stats, trying to see where all the hits were coming from. Finally I followed a link to this article in the Sydney Morning Herald and found my blog listed about five down. In the days and hours following I began to receive emails and comments from people all over the world, the majority of them Australian. They wrote to me about losses they’d had and loneliness they’d felt and they touched my heart in ways I’d never quite imagined.

And it’s never stopped. All these eight years since I’ve been blogging, I’ve heard from all of you. Just yesterday I got the nicest note from a reader in Boston. And last night, an email from one of my earliest readers Carroll in California. Most of the readers preface their notes by saying that I must get tons of these, and while I do get a lot of them, I never, ever grow tired of hearing from readers. You guys are the reason I come back here every day. You’re the reason I’ve become a better writer.

You guys are the reason I have a book coming out and definitely the reason I’m going to Australia.

I can’t wait to meet all of you!




  1. drink some Lift soda while your there. That stuff’s ridiculish.

    Comment by alex on October 3, 2011 at 2:43 pm

  2. Claire I can’t wait to meet you too! Hope to see you in Melbourne in 2012. Eloise

    Comment by eloise connelly on October 3, 2011 at 2:50 pm

  3. Isn’t this amazing?? Congrats Claire! I was going through your blog and there’s a post by the date of May 24th, 2009 named “Oz” where you said you had a dream that you visited (and moved) to Australia!

    Comment by Nermeen on October 3, 2011 at 3:28 pm

  4. Oh! I remember reading how excited you were the morning that article came out!! And I also remember exchanging messages with a really nice-sounding fellow-reader (he and his wife I believe run either a bed and breakfast, or offer a vacation rental in some beautiful area) from Australia who was offering reassurance when you were *so* concerned about having to undergo abdominal surgery while you were pregnant with Vera. Such a small world, really and “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” once this book starts taking you with it around the world :-)

    Sit back and prepare to enjoy the ride, Claire — it’s sure to be a flurry you well-deserve.

    Comment by Carroll on October 3, 2011 at 3:33 pm

  5. oh that’s when i discovered you – it’s been amazing following you on all your adventures since then. do make sure that melbourne’s on your tour, I’ll totally be along to meet you too

    Comment by jill on October 3, 2011 at 3:45 pm

  6. A huge congratulations Claire – Your story deserves to be shared with the world! xoxo so excited for you!

    Comment by Antonia on October 3, 2011 at 3:58 pm

  7. Amazing! I agree with Eloise – you must come to Melbourne :-D

    Comment by Susannah on October 3, 2011 at 4:30 pm

  8. I hope you’re coming to Sydney AND Melbourne! Either way, you’ll definitely have a fantastic time here because everyone knows that the Aussie readers are the most fun!. I started reading your blog because of the SMH article but not until 2008 or so. I literally had googled something lame like “interesting blogs to read” and found the SMH article. Congratulations on your book and the upcoming book tour :-)

    Comment by Casey on October 3, 2011 at 5:19 pm

  9. Oh! I’m so excited! For you & for myself! I can’t wait to come along & support you in person.

    Comment by Sophie on October 3, 2011 at 5:52 pm

  10. Congrats! Australia has always been a dream of mine!

    Comment by Vanessa on October 3, 2011 at 10:55 pm

  11. I started reading your blog after finding it through the smh article last year. At the time I was writing a thesis and really looking for distractions, but what a find it’s been! I now check it every time I’m online and it’s been so great to see (read about) you reaching such a great place in life and love and career – very inspiring! Congratulations and can’t wait to find out the dates for Australia!

    Comment by sian on October 4, 2011 at 12:03 am

  12. holy crap – been following you down here in Australia for what 4 years? When, where, and how long will you be here for? YEAH!

    Comment by Emma on October 4, 2011 at 12:49 am

  13. Oh My – This is the best news I could wake up to today. You have pulled me out of the monotony of morning emails and brightened my day!!! We move home to Sydney on Dec 6th so we can not wait to see you there on your tour. I have already told so many friends about your book there so there will be a large group of us lined up to get our books signed : ) and you of course have a place to stay with us any time you want. So glad we met, so glad I get to share the wonderful memories of your parents so brilliantly written!

    Comment by Pia Dorer on October 4, 2011 at 3:21 am

  14. Fantastic! Hope you’ll have a few public readings – I’d love to come along. Might have to put off buying your book until you come out here – that way I can get a signed copy! (And yep, it was SMH who led me to you too – I was so touched by your writing I remember writing you a long, soppy email!!).

    Congrats Claire – well deserved.

    Comment by jo on October 4, 2011 at 4:30 am

  15. I’m thrilled for you! You’re bringing the fam, right?

    Comment by Kristine Hansen on October 4, 2011 at 6:40 am

  16. Thanks, Kristine! Yes, I think Greg and Vera will probably tag along. :)

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on October 4, 2011 at 6:55 am

  17. Aw, thanks Jo! I’m sure I still have your email. I’ve kept them all (hence why I recently needed to buy new email storage probably!). Can’t wait to meet you in person at a reading!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on October 4, 2011 at 6:56 am

  18. Pia, I can’t WAIT to come see you guys in Sydney!! That is going to be such a trip. An absolute blast. And um, we MUST get together here before you move back.

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on October 4, 2011 at 6:57 am

  19. Haha…Emma, you’re hilarious. Not sure of dates yet, but sometime between May & Sept of next year. I’ll keep you posted!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on October 4, 2011 at 6:58 am

  20. Thank you so much, Sian! Hopefully I’ll see you at a reading next year!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on October 4, 2011 at 6:58 am

  21. Thanks, Vanessa! Australia has been one of my top 3 countries to visit for as long as I can remember. I’m so excited!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on October 4, 2011 at 6:59 am

  22. Thanks, Sophie! Can’t wait to meet you in person!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on October 4, 2011 at 6:59 am

  23. Thanks, Casey! Hopefully I’ll visit both Sydney and Melbourne! They both sound amazing!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on October 4, 2011 at 7:00 am

  24. Susannah, I just hear the most amazing things about Melbourne, and I have a friend there, so I’d really love to visit!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on October 4, 2011 at 7:00 am

  25. Thanks, Antonia!! I can’t wait to take photos in Australia!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on October 4, 2011 at 7:01 am

  26. Thanks, Jill! I”ll keep you posted and let’s keep our fingers crossed for a Melbourne stop!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on October 4, 2011 at 7:01 am

  27. Ha…Carroll, that’s so interesting. You’ve really been along for the WHOLE ride, haven’t you? xoxo

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on October 4, 2011 at 7:01 am

  28. Wow, I just looked this up and it was SO crazy to read. Maybe Greg and I should just move there after all!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on October 4, 2011 at 7:02 am

  29. Yay, can’t wait to meet you too Eloise!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on October 4, 2011 at 7:02 am

  30. You got it, Alex. Can’t wait!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on October 4, 2011 at 7:02 am

  31. I have been stirred by a comment from Carroll, 4, to reply. I have followed your blog from LA then Chicago but stopped abruptly a couple of years ago when I realised I was getting too involved, too ready with advice, and too parental. I am over that now. I realise the parental bit has passed to you and Greg. I believe I am the B&B man Carroll refers to above. She certainly has a great memory. Recently, Facebook popped up your name in ‘people you may know’. How I don’t know as I haven’t made any attempt at contact in a couple of years.
    I still have the B&B in far north Queensland 2 hrs from Cairns. It is a beautiful spot in the rainforest. I offer you a self-contained cottage FOC for your family if available and if you can make it up this far north. See .

    Comment by Paul Tredgett on October 4, 2011 at 7:09 am

  32. Paul, I wondered what happened to you! Would be so fun to make it to your B&B…we’ll see how things play out! And feel free to friend me on FB!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on October 4, 2011 at 7:13 am

  33. Such fabulous news. I remember sending an email myself when I first found your blog 4 years ago. So happy and excited for you that so many others are discovering what an amazing writer you are! BTW, was at Powell Books in Portland over the weekend and I could just picture your book sitting there on the shelves in that wonderful, glorious bookstore (as well as many other bookstores across the country)!

    Comment by Wendy on October 4, 2011 at 8:47 am

  34. Paul, yes!! Possum Valley it was :-) We have been to your approximate neck of the woods, and Port Douglas is on my short-list of places in the world I would really love to go back to again, so PV is definitely a “maybe someday” :-) You can find me on Facebook too (should you really want to expand your circle of “friends” there) I looked for you just now, but of the four PTs I’m offered none seem likely to be you.

    Sorry for hijacking your comments, Claire. Just think of of it as your role in enabling global unification :-)

    Comment by Carroll on October 4, 2011 at 10:36 am

  35. Wow, Claire I just started reading your blog a month or so ago, beginning with Life in LA. I was engrossed, greatly moved and have been slowly catching up with your life since 2003 – strange somehow, that what has been an amalgamation of years for you is for me like reading a novel over only a few days. Anyway, just wanted you to know I (like so many others) love your writing and am very excited that you will be in Sydney!! Hope to see you here :)

    Comment by Marianne on October 4, 2011 at 9:55 pm

  36. Possum valley is wicked be sure to hook up with me in Townsville if you go there! The back way is awesome to :) you should stay in Australia between May and September! Yeah your coming to Australia.

    Comment by Emma on October 5, 2011 at 10:20 am

  37. Thanks, Emma! I would love to try to make it to your part of the country!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on October 5, 2011 at 1:42 pm

  38. Yay, thanks Marianne!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on October 5, 2011 at 1:42 pm

  39. I’m all for global unification, Carroll!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on October 5, 2011 at 1:42 pm

  40. Aw, thanks Wendy. I would LOVE to see my book at Powell’s!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on October 5, 2011 at 1:44 pm

  41. Wow!! I don’t leave comments very often and I too started reading ‘Life in Chicago’ a couple of years ago, back in Australia, after reading that very article in the SMH. I live in Paris now but still follow your blog regularly and cannot wait to receive my copy of your book. My husband often asks ‘So what’s going on with Claire today?’ – you are a part of our world even if you don’t know it. Strange, but true !

    Enjoy your tour down under, I suspect Byron Bay (East Coast) and Fremantle (West Coast) might just be your style….I hope your beautiful little family get to come along for the ride too. Bon Voyage Claire! x

    Comment by Nikki on October 5, 2011 at 1:51 pm

  42. Aw, thank you Nikki! So funny that you and your husband talk about me. Maybe my book will come to France too!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on October 6, 2011 at 2:34 pm

  43. Congradulations Claire ! I’ve been following your blog since 3 years, though commenting here first time. You are wonderful person with loving family. I like Vera too much. She’s princess just like my daughter 2.3yrs ..i always relate to her.

    May your book grow on everyone’s mind all over the world. Enjoy your success dear !

    Comment by Sha,Dubai on October 13, 2011 at 5:29 am

  44. Thanks you, Sha! Glad to hear you think my little girl is just as cute as I do!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on October 13, 2011 at 8:54 am

  45. Great news Claire, Text is a great publisher and I can’t wait to hear you in person.

    Comment by Jude on October 23, 2011 at 5:21 am

  46. Thanks, Jude!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on October 26, 2011 at 10:01 am

  47. Wow! So thrilled for you — and, so happy to have discovered you at AWP. :-)
    Many, many congratulations.

    Comment by Pam Parker on April 2, 2012 at 8:09 am

  48. Thanks, Pam!!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on April 2, 2012 at 9:03 pm

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