Jacqueline West, Writer

Bestselling author of The Books of Elsewhere and Dreamers Often Lie

There (and there, and there, and there) and back again

May 3, 2012    Tags: , , ,   

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.

(Mid-show, at Eanes Elementary School. L to R: Adam Gidwitz, E.J. Altbacker, Jacqueline West, C. Alexander London, and Peter McNerney)


(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.





6 Comments (Leave a comment)

  1. My fifth grade class loved The Shadows and we are currently reading Spellbound. I’m sure most of them will be reading The Second Spy this summer! If you are ever near Andover CT we would love for you to visit our school!!

    Comment by Lisa Robinson on May 3, 2012 @ 11:13 pm

  2. Thank you so much, Lisa. I’ll let you know if I’m ever in Connecticut!

    Comment by JacquiWest on May 4, 2012 @ 12:11 pm

  3. Jacqueline, congratulations on landing on the SSYRA list! I know you’ll get lots of votes from the kids. And thanks for sharing your tour stories. It sounds like you had a blast! I’m looking forward to THE SECOND SPY.

    Comment by Claire M. Caterer on May 4, 2012 @ 2:59 am

  4. These school lists are wonderful for reaching readers — I feel incredibly lucky! And yes, the tour was a blast. I can’t believe the things I get to do for “work” these days…

    Comment by JacquiWest on May 4, 2012 @ 12:14 pm

  5. Hi! I absolutely, positively love The Books of Elsewhere! I can’t wait for The Second Spy! I’ve been counting down the days until it comes out: 60 days left. The wait is driving me crazy, but it will all be worth it! 🙂

    Comment by Melanie on May 6, 2012 @ 6:13 pm

  6. Thanks so much, Melanie. I’m counting the days, too…

    Comment by JacquiWest on May 6, 2012 @ 10:43 pm

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