Famed author tackles Tom Hanks and more in latest book — but here’s why she won’t tour behind it

ann patchett at bookstore signing
Politics and Prose Bookstore (CC BY-SA 2.0)

For some, the appeal of being a writer might be the fact that your office could be anywhere in the world. Want to find inspiration at the beach? Great. Hope to curl up in the mountains to write about a winter romance? Wonderful. You can write almost anywhere and find inspiration.

Author Ann Patchett recently spoke with the Los Angeles Times about her favorite office, why she doesn’t plan on touring her books for the foreseeable future, and how the pandemic changed — and didn’t change — several aspects of her life.

Speaking in an interview published Tuesday, Patchett talked about everything from her upcoming book to sleeping in her own bed and being an introvert during the pandemic.

“I’m very glad to know at the end of every day that I am not going to be sleeping in a Marriott, and I’m getting to talk to ultimately a ton more people.”

Of course, there’s a lot more to it than that. We’ve all been living through a global pandemic which meant changing, restricting, evolving, and growing in ways we never anticipated — not even in our wildest dreams.

In Patchett’s wildest dreams, she likely never saw a friendship blossoming later in life that would lead her to become a safe haven for a woman fighting against cancer.

She met Sooki Raphael, Tom Hanks’ personal assistant, at an event in Washington D.C. where Patchett interviewed Hanks, who had just published a book of his own. What happened next would become the story of Patchett’s next book, These Precious Days

Patchett says she feels lucky for that time in her life, lucky to have been the safe place Raphael needed.

”The luck and the fortune of my life was just overwhelming, and the key was that she was with us when she could have been with 100 other people who would have wanted her. She could have been shipwrecked on their island, and somehow she got shipwrecked on ours, and we all felt so lucky.”

From the way she describes her friend and their time together, it’s easy to assume that this read will be an emotional one for all of us. If you know someone fighting cancer, if you know someone struggling with anything at all, or even if you just profoundly value and appreciate your friendships — it’ll be a poignant read.

Patchett went on to discuss being an introvert, specifically one who works from home — so basically, she’s been ready for the pandemic’s restrictions for her entire life.

“I’m an introvert, and I’m an introvert who works from home. So I feel like I’ve been in training for this one my whole life. Tell me that I can’t leave my house? Oh yeah, I’m gonna be fine with that.”

She says the value of her life is that she can write books, and being at home is an excellent place for her to do that. She’s got an imagination that allows her to make the most of her surroundings, even when she’s just sitting at her favorite place.

“Eudora Welty didn’t go anywhere. Emily Dickinson didn’t go anywhere. The value of my life is that I can write books, and I’m going to get a lot more of them written in my house — and I have a great imagination.”

We can’t argue with that. You can read Patchett’s latest book, These Precious Days, now.