TRAVERSE CITY — Mitch Albom gets around.
His books have sold more than 33 million copies in 42 countries and 41 territories since his first non-fiction best-seller, “Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man and Life’s Greatest Lesson,” came out in 1997.
On July 2, the best-selling author, journalist, screenwriter, playwright and radio-TV broadcaster will come to Traverse City during the National Cherry Festival to give a sneak preview of his upcoming book, “The First Phone Call from Heaven.” The book is scheduled to debut in bookstores on Nov. 12.
Set in a mythical Lake Michigan small town near Traverse City, the book starts with a ring-a-ling from heaven, followed by many more over 15 weeks — but only in the small town of Albom’s fertile imagination and only to select people.
“It’s about what happens when people begin to see actual proof that heaven exists,” Albom said. “It’s really about belief.”
“The First Phone Call from Heaven” is Albom’s sixth book since “Tuesdays with Morrie” and the first of a three-book deal he has with Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. His other books are “The Five People You Meet in Heaven (2003), “For One More Day (2006, non-fiction), “Have a Little Faith (2009, non-fiction)” and "The Time Keeper (2012)."
Albom, a long-time Detroit Free Press sports columnist and radio show host for Detroit’s WJR, is known for his storytelling, strong and clear writing, vivid descriptions, humor, inspiring characters, insights and imaginative plots.
He attributes his storytelling skills to the tales he heard around the table at big extended family holiday dinners, especially those of his Uncle Edward Beitchman.
“Almost everybody who becomes a storyteller has to have had someone who told them stories, and more than that, someone who captivated them,” he said.