I’ve just returned from a two-week tour with three other middle grade authors, one brilliant improv actor, and a revolving cast of wonderful book reps, media escorts, and publicity folk. En masse, we visited schools in Texas, California, and New York (thanks again to Visitation Academy and Eanes, Barton Hills, Sycamore, Fairlands, Los Alamitos, Santa Rita, and Covington elementary schools!), unfolded an incredibly collapsible set, and performed our “Endangered Authors” game show, as created by the Story Pirates. After each stop, we’d pile back into our van like a bunch of bookish vikings and sail off to invade the next school. We also made stops at Mrs. Nelson’s Toy and Book Shop, Hicklebee’s, and Vroman’s Bookstore in California, signed books for one sunny, breezy afternoon at the Los Angeles Times Book Festival (I saw Betty White! From a great distance! But that counts!), had dinner with Judy Blume and John Green and the rest of the Penguin Young Readers Group, and spoke on a panel and chatted with librarians at the Texas Library Association convention.
(Blurry writers gnawing ribs, in Austin)
(Playing stickball between school visits in California)
All of these hotels and dinners and run-ins with famous authors are so very, very different from my real writing life, which mostly involves shuffling around my house in wrinkled pajamas and dirty eyeglasses, microwaving a third cup of coffee. I miss my tour cohorts, who were so marvelous that they made two weeks of crowded van rides feel like fun–and anyone who gets the chance to see the Story Pirates, Adam Gidwitz, C.Alexander London, or E.J. Altbacker in action absolutely should. But I am also glad to get back to revising Volume Four, planning my garden, and catching up with Brom Bones, who had quite a lot to tell me when I came home.
Apparently, Brom grew increasingly nervous and naughty while I was gone. On the last day of the tour, he tore apart two wastebaskets and ate a box of Crayola crayons. (According to Ryan, afterward, he pooped rainbows.)
It’s hard to believe, but there are now just two months (and two days) until the release of THE SECOND SPY. The paperback release of SPELLBOUND on May 24th is even closer.
With so much good fortune all at once, this almost seems like overkill, but I’ve just learned that THE SHADOWS has been selected for the 2012-2013 Sunshine State Young Readers Award list for grades 3 – 5. Huge thanks to everyone who made this happen.