In late 2001, I received an ARC of a book that made me laugh so much my face hurt: 10TH GRADE by Joseph Weisberg. I read it to the Boy Wonder and he loved it too.
After I did much pushing & prodding of his inhouse publicist, Joe came to the Virginia Festival of the Book in March 2002, during which he had guest stints at the Boy Wonder's school and Charlottesville High School. (Several of the kids wrote glowing recommendations of Joe and the book on Amazon right afterwards, which I'm sure helped sales.) Joe stayed at my house during the festival.
Subsequently we saw each other a few times in NYC and he spoke at a couple of my Book Promotion 101 workshops. Then we gradually lost touch.
A few months ago I saw the Bloomsbury USA fall/winter catalog, and there were Joe's name and picture alongside the title of a new novel: AN ORDINARY SPY. I knew he'd been writing, and had occasionally wondered when he'd be published again. So I was thrilled for him. But wait: what's this in the book's capsule description? "A former CIA case officer’s novel..."
WHOA!!! My funny, charming friend, who shares my love of Dim Sum Go Go and even helped arrange for me to meet his mother (described by Malcolm Gladwell as a "connector"; alas, the meeting fell through at the last minute), was a CIA spook?!?!?!
One just never knows, do one?
Read Motoko Rich's glowing review and interview in today's NYT: From Undercover to Between the Covers, and Joe's opinion piece in the Washington Post a week ago: With Spies Like These . . .
Unfortunately I was unable to snag Joe again for VaBook. But I can't wait to read the book!