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Dateline: Washington, D.C., May 19

05/21/2006

An amazing and exhausting day. Got to the hotel around 1:00 in the morning, finally got to sleep around 1:30, then the wakeup call came at 6:00.

Because of the complexities of my travel schedule, I had to do “Squawk Box” by remote — in the DC studio, while the show is broadcast out of the CNBC studios in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Doing a TV show by remote is a strange experience. You sit in a room with lights on you staring into a camera lens, while the questions come in through your earphone.

“Squawk Box” (a show I’ve always enjoyed) is frenetic and fast-paced, and the questions came at me really fast. I was expecting questions based on a piece I published in the latest Forbes magazine on the myth of the corporate spy (I make the point that the spy-versus-spy stuff between companies is overhyped, happens more in my novels than in reality, and is a bad idea anyway). But they wanted to talk about Killer Instinct – which was great.

Raced over to the Washington Convention Center – skidded in just in time for my signing. Lots of people in line to get me to sign copies of Killer Instinct – some friends I’ve met on tour last year or the year before. Some seem to have discovered me with Company Man. Some with Paranoia. And a few actually read my earlier books (especially High Crimes). It’s funny how many people (booksellers and librarians mostly) told me they loved “my first book,” Paranoia. I no longer bother to explain that I wrote four novels before that one.

The number of writer friends I ran into at BEA is amazing. Nelson DeMille, one of my favorites (as a writer and as a human being) was there with his great wife, Sandy. Dennis Lehane, a friend from Boston who’s been teaching in Florida the last year or so, was there as was Laura Lippman. James Patterson too. My great friend Daniel Silva signed audiobooks of his new novel, The Messenger. Dan and I tried to grab lunch, but the lines were incredibly long and slow-moving, and ended up gobbling down some crappy prepackaged pound cake from some stand.