Wearing a slinky black dress, novelist Amy Tan has been singing in a San Francisco karaoke bar. Stephen King has been strumming a guitar up in Maine. And humorist Dave Barry has been rehearsing guitar chords — playing along with a bass-and-drum track — in his Florida rec room.
The writers are part of the 16-member Rock Bottom Remainders, a band of best-selling authors who plan to take the American Booksellers Association convention in Anaheim, Calif., by storm. The supergroup is the brainchild of San Francisco ”media escort” Kathi Kamen Goldmark, who discovered the ”closet rock & rollers” while driving them around during their in-town book promotions. Although band members (including Matt Groening, Robert Fulghum, Louise Erdrich, Barbara Kingsolver, and Roy Blount) have been polishing their chops, they won’t rehearse en masse until three days before their May 25 performance. (Proceeds from the $10 tickets will be donated to literacy causes.)
The authors seem nervous, yet excited. ”Writing is so quiet and solitary,” says Tan. ”This brings out a whole other side — the exhibitionist.”