One From the Heart 2016, by Robin Chapman

Internationally Known Author Visits Silicon Valley

Alexander McCall SmithPalo Alto, Calif.—Prolific author Alexander McCall Smith wowed an audience of more than five hundred people Thursday, October 13, 2016, who gathered for the Pathways Home Health and Hospice “One from the Heart” breakfast at the Crowne Plaza Palo Alto Hotel. McCall Smith, born in (what is now) Zimbabwe, makes his home in Scotland and is the author of the bestselling No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Series featuring the African woman detective Precious Ramotswe. His many series—including two others set in Scotland—have sold 40 million books worldwide.

McCall Smith’s tour brought him to Palo Alto to coincide with the release of his latest book. Titled Precious and Grace, it is the seventeenth in the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series. He says they are not really detective stories. “I’m told that I’m not really edgy enough to be a detective writer,” he said with a smile. “I haven’t really worked out quite what an edge is. But I’m told I haven’t got it.”

The author writes daily, even on tour, and says he frequently incorporates the places he visits into his stories. Presently working on the latest entry in his 44 Scotland Street series, he told the crowd to “look out for references to Palo Alto,” that might appear in his upcoming book, the eleventh in that series. He says he began the 44 Scotland Street series after he met Armistead Maupin at novelist Amy Tan’s home in San Francisco several years ago. Maupin warned him, “Never write a serial novel in a newspaper. Naturally I went back to Scotland and did just that.” The books were first published as a serial in The Scotsman, beginning in 2004.

Alexander McCall Smith Signing Books at One From the HeartWearing a McPherson tartan to celebrate his Scot heritage, McCall Smith also thanked Pathways Home Health and Hospice for the donations they have made to hospice care in South Africa, where, he said, budgets can often be stretched thin. “The United States has been tremendously helpful with HIV and AIDS research funds for South Africa and Botswana, among many other places,” he said. “You should be very proud of the work you are helping to do.”

McCall Smith’s visit to Palo Alto and Los Altos, where he stopped by a private reception on Wednesday night after flying in from an appearance in Indiana, was sponsored by Pathways Home Health and Hospice. This year marks the 26th year for the “One From the Heart” event.

Robin Chapman is a Television journalist and the author of four books. She worked as a news anchor and reporter in Oregon; Florida; San Francisco; and Washington D.C., where she spent ten years covering stories in the nation’s capitol. She now lives and works in her California hometown, and authors a blog, Robin Chapman News. Her most recent book is California Apricots, published by the History Press, which is available on Robin’s page.