Thursday, June 28, 2007

ALA Trip Report (part 3 of 3)


7am - Wake up rested. Yay! Sort through various loot from ALA (the American Library Association Annual Conference) and con
solidate it in backpack. Very pleased to see all books fit in backpack. Then remember I haven't packed my toiletries. Or clothes.

7:05am - Re-pack.

8:30am - Check out of hotel. Go to hotel restaurant
for breakfast. Discover bagel costs $4. Flee before ordering.

9am - Arrive at convention center. The lovely Penguinites let me stow my luggage at their booth -- if not for them, my arms wo
uld have fallen off. Not good for typing up blog posts. Or novels.

9:30am - Decide to take field trip... Okay, this
part of the day was absolutely awesome. I go to the nearby Barnes & Noble... and they have Into the Wild! My first official non-local store sighting of Into the Wild in the wild (please excuse the pun). I'd heard reports but hadn't seen with my own eyes. But there... on the shelf... three lucious, lovely copies! Snoopy Dance of Joy!

INTO THE WILD in the wild

I sign all their stock, after which they put "autographed copy" stickers on them and arrange them face out.

INTO THE WILD tamed by my pen

Call husband and dance along DC sidewalks.

11am - Back at the conference... meet the lovely people at ALSC and YALSA, who dub me honorary member and give me ribbons to attach to my name badge.

11:15am - Visit the sweet and awesome people
at the Mirrorstone booth, who dub me honorary member and give me more ribbons and also teach me the super-secret Mirrorstone hand signal.

Stacy Whitman, Me, Tiffany Trent, Nina Hess, and Shelly Mazzanoble

I heart the Mirrorstone posse. They're all so cool. And their books rock too. (Just read Shelly Mazzanoble's Confessions of a Part-Time Sorceress -- HILARIOUS. Once you read it, you'll want to move to Seattle purely so you can play D&D with Shelly and her friends.)

Noon-ish - Lunch with the wonderful Tiffany Trent.

2pm - More talking and chatting, including with Bruce Coville and Sue Streeter from Full Cast Audio. I also meet and totally gush like a fangirl at Jean Craighead George, who graciously pretends not
to notice I'm making a fool of myself.

3pm - More hanging out with Simone and Shannon, who I wish lived in New York so I could see them more often.

4pm - Say good-bye to the Mirrorstone posse and the Penguin folk and head home after one final photo:

(In case you missed the beginning of this trip report, here are links to part 1 and part 2 of my ALA adventure.)

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

ALA Trip Report (part 2 of 3)


6:30am - Wake early to attend the YA Authors Breakfast at ALA, the American Library Association Annual Conference. (Note: I hadn't actually signed up for the breakfast. I'd been so busy prepping for the pub date of Into the Wild that I didn't spend much time planning for the ALA Con
ference. But how many people would really be getting up so early on a Sunday anyway?)

7:30am - Arrive at convention center. Ask about bre
akfast. Get blank look.

7:32am - Ask someone else. Am told it's at the Renaissance Hotel. Trot over to hotel.

7:40am - Find breakfast location. It's sold out. It's been sold out for months. Feel like an idiot. The main conference doesn'
t start until 9! I could have slept two more hours!

7:42am - Decide to take Julie for a walk. Say, "Julie, how
would you like to see the White House?" Get odd looks since Julie is the fictional main character of Into the Wild, and I'm talking to a book. Keep walking anyway.

7:55am - Blocks in DC are long.

8:05am - Really long.

8:10am - I'm hungry. Why is there nothing to
eat in DC?

8:15am - McDonald's so doesn't count.

8:20am - Ooh, my first famous thing! Civil
War Monument. Julie wants to pose.

Julie at the foot of the Civil War Monument

8:25am - The Washington Monument is really far away. White House isn't all that close either. Still hungry. Bet they have food in the White House.

Julie and the Washington Monument

Julie and I in front of some house with a big lawn

8:27am - Lose interest in the whole tourist thing and
walk back to Convention Center.

9:15am - Enter ALA. Visit the lovely people in the Penguin booth, including everyone from the prior night plus Stefanie Daehler, Lara Phan, Ben Schrank, and Doug Whiteman.

10-ish - Wander and chat with various people. Score one of the coveted Harry Potter 7 tote bags from Scholastic. I intend to use it at my Eight Cousins event on July 20 (in which I'll be doing a reading/signing for Into the Wild right in the middle of their Harry Potter festivities!).

11-ish - Catch up with very cool author (and fellow
Class of 2k7 member) Laura Bowers and very cool uber-blogger and librarian Liz Burns.

12:30pm - John Scalzi reads my blog! Since he's the King of Blogs, this kinda blows my mind. He's also really, really sweet. I had lunch with him, Ann and Jeff VanderMeer (also really, really nice), and Steven Erikson, who told us about the time he (accidentally) peed on a bear.

2-ish - More wandering and chatting...

3pm - Wander and chat with the fantabulous duo of Holly Black and Theo Black.

4pm - Find Shannon Greenland and Simone Elkeles signing books for an enormous line at the YALSA booth. (YALSA is the Young Adult division of the American Library Association.)

Simone, Me, and Shannon

5pm - Take taxi to Westin with Shannon, Simone, and Thais (Shannon's friend from college) to a WWE-sponsored YALSA cocktail party. (Yes, that's right, World Wrestling Entertainment sponsored the YALSA cocktail party as part of their literacy outreach program!)

5:15pm - Discover there are multiple Westins in DC.

5:30pm - Take taxi to another Westin with Shannon, Simone...

6pm - Talk with many marvelous librarians plus the fabulous Diana Peterfreund. Also meet WWE wrestler Chris "Harvard."

7:30pm - Go out for yummy sushi with Shannon, Simone, and Thais. Laugh a lot. (They are all fantastically cool and nice. I adore them.)

10pm - Sleep.

(Tune in tomorrow to read about my final day at ALA... or click here to read part 1 if you missed it.)

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Books of Wonder and ALA Trip Report (part 1 of 3)


6am - Wake from dream in which I am on a Huck Finn-like raft in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and I have a stack of copies of Into the Wild that I'm supposed to sign or else the sharks with lase
r beams strapped to them will shoot me but I don't have a pen so I'm trying to distill the seawater so that I can sign with salt...

6:05am - Pack more pens.

11am - Arrive one hour early for reading/signing at Books of Wonder (Manhattan's best children's bookstore). Admire my book on the front bookshelf. Check to make sure I still have my pens.

11:30am - Eat cupcake with author Staton Rabin, who is very nice plus has a cool hat. Wonder when cupcake-only stores became popular. Why not eclair stores? Or carrot-cake stores?

11:55am - Notice that I will be signing book
s in the same room as signed first editions of Wizard of Oz, Harry Potter, and the Fellowship of the Ring. Hyperventilate a little. Then notice that the wonderful Books of Wonder staff has provided the authors with extra pens. Feel better.

Noon-ish - All four authors (JT Petty, Ellen Potter, Staton Rabin, and me) talk and/or read, then answer questions. We use a handheld microphone. I am tempted to sing Copa Cabana. I manage to resist, but it's a close call.

12:45pm - Sign books! I have a line!!! And there are even actual kids in it! (Special thanks to Julie Kaplan, the awesome teacher who told many students in Corona about me and to the students who came; special thanks to Leslie Margolis who is so sweet that she bought a copy of Into the Wild even though she's already read it; and special thanks to Penelope who heard me read the same scene twice before but came anyway because she's awesome.)

2pm - Sign the special Books of Wonder notebook. (This is a tradition - every author who has an event at Books of Wonder signs one of these notebooks. Prior notebooks hold signatures from Lloyd Alexander, JK Rowling, Tamora Pierce, etc.) I wish I could draw a picture, but the only thing I know how to draw is a somewhat deranged cartoon bunny. That doesn't seem so appropriate so I stick with just my name.

2:15pm - Arrive at Penn Station, ready to hop on the 3pm train to Washington DC for the ALA (American Library Association) Annual Conference. I'd paid the extra bucks to be on the Acela Express, due to arrive at 5:50pm, so that I can make the Penguin Young Readers Cocktail Party, which starts at 6pm. (Saturday night of ALA, many publishers throw cocktail parties. This will be my very first publisher cocktail party -- at least the first one where I have an actual official invitation and am not crashing -- and I'm determined not to miss it.)

2:20pm - Train is delayed 20 min.

2:55pm - Train is delayed 30 min.

3:05pm - Get on the Regional (slow) train instead.

6:30pm - Arrive in DC and go straight to cocktail party at the Fairmont Hotel.

6:45pm - Someone asks me, "Where's your yellow rose? All the Penguin authors have yellow roses." Feel sad and rose-less.

6:46pm - Steal a spare rose off a grand piano. Feel better.

6:50pm - John Green comes over and congratulates me on the recent release of my book. Gives me his yellow rose as a congratulations present. Now I have two roses. Feel twice as cool.

7-ish - Talk to many librarians, writers, and Penguin folk. No actual penguins are present. Pity. But I did see Judy Blume (from a distance).

8pm - Adjourn to outside patio with several awesome Penguin people (Leila Sales, Rachel Henry, Kathryn Hurley, Alan Walker, Dominique, and Kiwani, who I'm sure spells his name totally differently than I just did, many apologies) and two awesome authors (Simone Elkeles and Shannon Greenland).

10pm - Check into my hotel.

10:30pm - Go to next party in yet another hotel. Walk in to find virtually every YA author I've ever met (plus some I met for the first time, including Marcus Zusak, Debby Garfinkle, Sara Zarr, and Sarah Aronson). Also got to meet Mirrorstone editor Stacy Whitman, who is just as sweet as I thought she'd be.

12:30am - Return to my hotel. Put the yellow roses by my bed so that I'll have rose-scented dreams, rather than shark-filled ones. Sleep.

(Tune in tomorrow for more of Sarah's adventures at ALA...)

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Book Launch Recap

Yesterday was AWESOME.

On behalf of Julie, Zel, Boots, and all the characters of INTO THE WILD, I'd like to thank everyone who sent emails, comments, flowers, etc. You guys made the day really, really special.

Two other things that made the day spe

My Back-to-the-Future Box

Remember when George McFly gets his box of books at the end of "Back to the Future"? Okay, I know it's a totally obscure reference. After Marty returns to 1985, he learns that his father is now a writer, and he sees his dad receive a box full of author copies of his first published novel.

I loved that scene.

I wanted that box.

Yesterday afternoon, my Back-to-the-Future box arrived!! 30 glorious, shiny, purply copies of INTO THE WILD!!!

Back-to-the-Future Box

It was a lovely, lovely book-birthday present. Just looking at the box now makes me feel all dizzy and light-headed.

Book Launch Party/Reading/Signing at Book Revue

Let's start with the most important part: the cake. It was vanilla with buttercream frosting and raspberry (yum!) fil
ling. Here's a photo:

We ate Julie!

As far as the event itself... AWESOME. The events coordinator, Julianne, was wonderful, and Book Revue is a fabulous bookstore -- it's the largest independent bookstore on Long Island. Turnout was terrific. Lots of friends and family and family-friends (and MySpace friends!) showed up. And my agent came. And some kids too! And they were really excited about the book, and asked great questions, which was awesome. The store even had to set up more chairs, and there were still people leaning up against the bookshelves in the back! I talked for a little bit and then read two scenes from the book. (I love reading!) Afterwards, I signed lots and lots of books with a lovely purple pen.

Yay Purple Pen!


Tomorrow (or Today, depending on when you read this -- Saturday, 6/23), I'll be at Books of Wonder in Manhattan. (Click here for info.) And immediately afterward, I'll hop a train to Washington DC for the ALA (American Library Association) Conference! Busy, busy... but so much fun...

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Books of Wonder

OMG, yesterday was AWESOME!!! I couldn't have wished for a better book-birthday for INTO THE WILD. Thanks so much to all of you who got in touch with me and said such wonderful things. You made an amazing day even more amazing. I'll tell you all about the book launch and my launch party at Book Revue very soon. But for now, the bookety-bookety celebration moves on to the big city...

Saturday June 23rd from Noon-2pm
Books of Wonder
18 West 18th Street, New York, NY

Tomorrow, I'll be reading from and signing copies of INTO THE WILD at Books of Wonder, a fabulous children's book store in New York City. Joining me will be three other fabulous fantasy writers: JT Petty, Ellen Potter, and Staton Rabin. I can't wait!

If you'll be in the NYC area tomorrow, please drop by Books of Wonder and say hi. It should be a blast.

And can I just say how much fun I'm having this week. I've dreamed of this for years, but the reality is even better than I ever imagined.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Wild is Unleashed!

INTO THE WILD comes out TODAY!!!


Snoopy Dance of Joy!

Hmmm... I wonder where this link leads...


Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Tomorrow... is the official publication date for INTO THE WILD!

Tomorrow... I will be at Book Revue in Huntington, New York, to celebrate my book launch. And you're invited! Here are the details:

Thursday June 21st at 8pm
Book Revue
313 New York Avenue, Huntington, NY

Tomorrow... I will be reading from and signing copies of INTO THE WILD! And there will be cake and coffee too! Cake decorated with INTO THE WILD cover art! How can you say no to that?

I can't believe it's happening tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow!!! Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps... No, that doesn't quite capture the right mood. But here's a link to some random dude reciting the Macbeth soliloquy.

One day more! One more day... No, not right either. But here's a link to the song from Les Miz as performed by Lego people.

The sun will come out tomorrow! Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there'll be sun... Yes, that's better! And here are links to several adorable kids pretending they're Annie. Okay, I really need to stop playing with YouTube now.

Tomorrow is the day that I have been waiting for and working toward for literally my entire life. I am not exaggerating here. This is truly the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. Or more accurately, it's the beginning of my dream of being a published writer.

I actually remember the moment that I decided I wanted to be a writer. I was on a chairlift somewhere in New England with my dad, and I was worrying about my future. I was ten years old (double digits!), and I didn't have any career goals. The horror! Did I mention I was a somewhat anxious kid? Anyway, my dad said, "Well, you're creative. You could be an architect, an artist, a writer, an investment banker..." I stopped listening at "writer." Until that moment, it hadn't occurred to me that a real person could become a writer. I'd never met a writer. I'd thought of them as mythical, magical creatures like unicorns or wizards. Writers were wizards who created these magical spells that completely entranced me.

Once I latched onto the idea that I could become a writer, I really latched on. I raided the library for how-to books on writing. I made endless lists of stories I wanted to write (and I even started a lot of them). I drew maps of imaginary places. I made lists of potential characters. Once, I even read the phone book looking for interesting character names. When the annual magazine drive came around, I convinced my parents to buy me a subscription to Writer's Digest, a magazine about writers and writing. My subscription has never lapsed in the 23 years since then.

All through middle school and high school, I continued to write. I went to Duke Young Writers' Camp for three different summers. I started and stopped a bajillion stories. In college, I worked primarily on playwriting. My senior thesis was a play that involved Mrs. Bennet from Pride & Prejudice, Morgana la Fay from Arthurian legend, and a large fire-breathing dragon. (Note: this is not the way to make friends with your technical director.)

After college, I returned to novels. I submitted my first full-length manuscript a year after college. While I waited to hear back, I wrote another. And then I sent that out. Rinse, lather, repeat. I wrote nearly every day. I even went part-time at my day job so that I could have more time to write, despite the cut in pay. It wasn't easy. Sometimes I doubted myself. But I never doubted that I wanted this. I wanted to be a wizard who could create a magical spell to entrance someone like me. I wanted this very, very, very badly. So I didn't stop.

A year ago, the stars aligned. The magnificent Andrea Somberg became my agent, and six weeks later, we had offers for INTO THE WILD. (Click here to read my post about The Call.) And now it's really, really happening! INTO THE WILD comes out tomorrow!

I love thinking about how happy the ten-year-old Sarah would be. She's doing cartwheels inside me right now.

1 day until the Wild is unleashed!!!

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Not-So-Obscure Fairy Tale: Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

Over the nine months since I started writing this blog, my favorite part has been writing the recurring segment on obscure fairy tales. I've really enjoyed giving you my take on some of the less-well-known fairy tales that I ran across while doing "research" for my forthcoming novel, INTO THE WILD. Today, in honor of the upcoming publication of INTO THE WILD (it comes out on June 21st -- that's this Thursday!!!), I'm going to give you my take on a not-so-obscure fairy tale. Okay, a super-famous fairy tale: Snow White.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (retold in lots and lots of places)

A queen longs for a child. One day, she pricks her finger, a drop of blood falls on the snow, and she says, "I wish I had a child with hair as black as ebony, lips as red as blood, and skin as white as snow."

Very poetic, but why not wish for a child who is healthy? Or smart? Or nice? Or lucky? Why specify hair color? My theory: she's sick of all those blonde princesses.

In time, a child is born with hair as black as ebony, lips as red as blood, and skin as white as snow...

Freaky looking baby. Doesn't that describe the Bride of Frankenstein?

... and the queen dies. The king remarries. His new wife has a magic mirror.

This whole story would have been totally different if his new wife had had a pet cat instead.

Every day, the new queen would look in the mirror and say, "Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?"

Out of curiosity, where did she put the mirror? Most mirrors are in bedrooms or bathrooms. Personally, I wouldn't want a talking mirror in either place. Think about the comments it could make.

And the mirror would answer, "You are."

OK, you caught me -- I'm not actually looking at a copy of the story as I write this. I'm sure the mirror rhymed his answer. But the gist of it is the same. This (and all other mistakes) should be blamed on my being too lazy to reach over to my bookshelf where there are, like, three thousand different books with various versions of this story.

One day, when the child (called Snow White) is seven years old, the queen looks in the mirror and says, "Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?" and the mirror replies, "Oh, beautiful queen, you still look fine, but that child there is really divine."

Again, that's not exactly the traditional phrasing.

The queen summons a huntsman and orders him to take Snow White into the forest, kill her, and then bring back the child's heart so that the queen can eat it.

Poor innocent Snow White, yada yada. But let's talk about the queen here. What flair! If you're going to overreact, this is the way to do it. Not that I'm advocating murder and cannabalism. Let's be clear here: murder bad. Cannabalism bad. But there's just something deliciously wonderful about how extremely insane Her Majesty is. Really, I think she's one of the best fairy-tale villains out there.

The huntsman takes Snow White to the forest and tells her to run away. He kills a wild animal instead and brings its heart to the queen who eats it with ketchup.

I added the bit with the ketchup. She doesn't use ketchup in the traditional tales, of course. She actually uses A-1 Steaksauce.

Frightened, Snow White runs through the forest until she finds a small cottage. She enters, notices the size of the furniture, and falls asleep in one of seven small beds.

Snow White, as you will notice, is not exactly the brightest bulb on the porch. She is, however, rather lucky. Goldilocks also found a cottage in the woods, but hers had less forgiving inhabitants.

The owners of the cottage, seven dwarves, return from work to find Snow White in their house. They agree to allow her to stay if she will cook and clean for them. And so she does.

The arrangement may be a bit sexist, but at least it's practical. The dwarves get a clean house, and Snow gets to keep her vital organs.

The dwarves caution her not to talk with strangers while they are away at the mines. And they are correct to worry -- the magic mirror has revealed to the queen the huntsman's duplicity and Snow White's location. One afternoon, while the dwarves are gone, a peddler woman (who is actually the queen in disguise) comes to visit Snow White.

As you may have noticed, the queen has some serious issues.

The peddler woman offers Snow White a corset, which Snow White accepts. Snow White allows the woman to lace up her corset. The woman laces her up so tight that Snow White cannot breath. She falls to the floor as if dead. Satisfied, the queen leaves.

The queen here commits the classic James Bond villain mistake of leaving before she is certain her victim is dead. Or perhaps the queen is the original inspiration behind those classic James Bond villians... Hmm...

The dwarves return and are dismayed to find Snow White laying as if dead on the floor. They loosen the corset, and she begins to breathe again.

Theory one: it wasn't actually cinched so tight that she couldn't breathe, but instead it was a magic corset that merely needed to be removed to restore life. Theory two: Snow White is actually so dumb that she could survive hours of oxygen deprivation without any noticable side effects.

Next time the peddler woman returns, she offers Snow White a poison comb. When Snow White puts it in her hair, she falls down as if dead.

I hope the queen at least disguised herself as a different peddler woman.

The dwarves return and remove the comb. Snow White awakens. The third time the peddler woman returns, she offers an apple that is half red and half white. The red half is poisoned.


Snow White is not inclined to accept any more gifts from peddler women, so the queen takes a bite of the white half to prove that the apple is safe. Convinced, Snow White takes a bite of the red half and falls down dead.

Hey, at least she showed a modicum of sense with the whole taste-test thing.

The dwarves return and are unable to wake her. They place her in a glass coffin and stand guard over her day and night.

The glass coffin thing... ick. If they really think she's dead... serious ick. Also, if they're able to skip work in order to stand guard over her dead body, why couldn't one of them have skipped work to guard her while she was alive?

A prince, riding through the forest, finds the glass coffin and falls in love with the beautiful maiden inside.

There are, like, twelve things wrong with this. For one thing, if time didn't pass while she was with the dwarves, then she's SEVEN years old. For another, regardless of her age, she's DEAD. Ick.

He issues instructions for the coffin to be carried to his palace. As it's being carried, it's jarred, and a bit of apple flies out of the throat of Snow White. She wakes.

No one thought to try the Heimlich maneuver earlier?

The prince and princess are married, and Snow White invites her father and stepmother to the wedding. When the evil queen arrives, she is forced to wear red-hot iron shoes and dance to death. And they all live happily ever after.

Except the queen, of course. And her husband probably isn't very happy to be a widower again (unless he's relieved to be free from his crazy wife). And the dwarves probably miss Snow White. And the prince and Snow White never really had any chance to get to know each other before the wedding, so who knows if they're really meant to be together. And the magic mirror is still out there, driving some other woman insane...

If you'd like to check out some of my posts about obscure fairy tales that are actually obscure, here are links to: Godfather Death,
The Tinderbox, The Princess in the Chest, The Juniper Tree, Molly Whuppie, Tatterhood, Jack My Hedgehog, or The Wishing Table.

2 days until the Wild is unleashed...

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Radio Recap

Saturday morning I did my very first radio interview! I was the guest author on Hour of the Wolf hosted by Jim Freund on WBAI 99.5 FM (in NYC). It aired live from 5-7am.

If you'd like to listen to the interview, the recording is now available online. Click here to listen to the streaming audio. If that doesn't work, click here to play the mp3 file (takes about one minute to download with a high-speed connection).

I won't be offended if you didn't hear it live. It was 5am on a Saturday, after all. To reach the radio station on time, I had to set my alarm for 2:58am, which just plain felt wrong. In fact, I kept cycling past the 2 a
s I set the clock because my already-sleep-deprived brain simply couldn't process that I was planning to wake up at that time. As it turns out, I didn't need the alarm because I woke up on my own once an hour with a song blaring through my mind. You know the song "Video Killed the Radio Star"? Well, my brain morphed it into "Sarah's Gonna Be a Radio Star" and then proceeded to sing that in my head very loudly throughout the night. Yes, my brain is sometimes annoying. You should hear it when it gets stuck on that Meow Mix commercial song...

Anyway, I arrived at the radio station at 4am (way early -- I thought it would take a while to get a cab, but apparently, in Manhattan, there are still lots of people coming home from bars at this time of night,
so there were plenty of cabs around). The place looked just like a radio station should: a big program schedule on display, a recording studio visible through a window in the wall, speakers all around.

At quarter of five, the host Jim Freund -- a really nice and very knowledgeable man who tells fascinating anecdotes (in other words, exactly the kind of person you'd want to host your first radio interview) -- arrived. At a little before five, we slipped into the recording studio as the prior show was wrapping up.

And then it began! In case you do listen to the recording, and you would like to skip around to different parts, here's the basic brea
kdown of the show:

- Hour of the Wolf theme music and Jim's introduction
- 20 minutes of cool fairy-tale-ish music
- Jim and I talk about writing, my book INTO THE WILD, and fairy tales for another 20-30 minutes
- A shorter music break
- Starting at around 6am, one hour into the show, I spend about 40 minutes reading four scenes from INTO THE WILD
- We finish up with a few more minutes of chatting

Do I look like a radio star yet?

I think it went really well. It was really surreal talking into this enormous microphone and knowing that anyone anywhere could be listening to me. (The show is broadcast online as well as on the air.) I'll never know who was listening or what they were thinking -- that feels weird but also cool. I can see why people fall in love with being on the radio.

One person who I know was listening was my husband. He woke up at 3am to give me a wake-up call (yes, I sang him the "radio star" song when he called) and then stayed awake to listen to the entire show live. How cool is that?

And despite fears to the contrary, I did NOT howl at the moon during the show. :)

4 days until the Wild is unleashed...

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Hour of the Wolf

This Saturday, I will be the guest author on Hour of the Wolf, a two-hour live radio show featuring fantasy and science fiction, hosted by Jim Freund. It's broadcast out of NYC on WBAI 99.5 FM, but thanks to the wonders of the internets, those outside of NYC can listen to live streaming audio of any WBAI broadcast by clicking here.

Listen to my dulcet tones emanating from your radio.

I'm told that the show consists of throwing an author into a recording studio, releasing a pack of wolves, and then recording the chase to the tune of the Bugs Bunny soundtrack.

Or, more accurately, I think I'll be chatting about writing, and fairy tales, and my book, and for part of the show, I'll be reading from INTO THE WILD.

I do know that this program features an author every week and has had some really amazing guests. I'm really, really excited to be this week's featured writer. So excited that I'm willing to get myself up at 3am to get there.

Yes, I said AM.

The show airs live from 5-7am EDT on Saturday morning, so I need to be at the radio station by 4:30am.

This is very early.

Or very late, depending on your point of view.

Regardless, I'm excited. And a little nervous. The only thing I know about radio shows is what I read in Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn, which is about a werewolf with a radio show... Wait a minute... Hour of the Wolf... werewolf... uh-oh.

Seriously though, if you're up that early, tune in. (And even if you're not up that early, you can still listen to the show after-the-fact by going to the WBAI archive page.) Jim is an excellent host. Plus with me being me, I'm bound to say something inane and/or insane. I think there's a call-in portion of the show too, wherein you could be directly responsible for making me say something inane and/or insane. If I get really flustered, I may even howl at the moon.

(Note to self: Do not howl on the radio. You'll frighten the cat.)

Again, here's the vital info:

Hour of the Wolf
Saturday June 16 from 5-7am EDT
WBAI 99.5 FM in NYC (or online here)

Talk to you soon!

6 days until the Wild is unleashed...

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Booklist Review

INTO THE WILD got a nice review today from Booklist, another of those big trade journals that does book reviews. Well, more accurately, the review came out in the June 1st issue, but it wasn't until today that I stumbled upon it. Here's a quote:

"The story is peppered with sly allusions, and Julie is an appealingly reluctant heroine, one whose goodness and bravery come with plenty of wry, contemporary sarcasm." -- Booklist

Click here to read the full review.

And since it's after midnight, I can honestly say that it is now the FINAL WEEK before pub date!

7 days until the Wild is unleashed...

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

School Visit to Village Elementary

Today I was the guest author at Village Elementary School, the school where my mother-in-law teaches. It was great! I visited with three fifth grade classes and talked to them about the process of creating a novel from idea to finished book. I also read them a chapter from INTO THE WILD and showed them the final manuscript, the ARC, and the finished hardcover book.

Today was very cool for many reasons:

(1) The kids were awesome. Smart. Nice. I wish I'd had the chance to actually get to know them individually.

(2) I gave each student a bookmark, and at the end of my visit, they all wanted me to sign the bookmarks. This made me feel like a rock star.

(3) Five years ago, a student in this school read an early version of INTO THE WILD (back when it was called THE WISHING WELL MOTEL). I can count on one hand the number of people in the world who read early versions of ITW. Today she came over from the high school to meet me and listen to me talk to the class. How cool is that?

(4) I was in fifth grade when I decided to become a writer. So visiting the fifth grade today felt very appropriate.

(5) One of the students had a copy of INTO THE WILD!!! It doesn't officially come out until next week, but this girl's mother found it in a bookstore, and she brought it in for me to sign. I did the Snoopy Dance of Joy right there when I saw it.

Somewhere, somehow, INTO THE WILD is out there! Nine days early!

After school, my husband and I drove to two bookstores in the area to try to see it on the shelves for ourselves, but no luck. If anyone sees it out there, please send me photos! I want pictures of first sightings!

9 days until the Wild is unleashed...

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Got Milk?

I bought a gallon of milk today that doesn't expire until INTO THE WILD's pub date!!!

This is perfect. In case it otherwise slips my mind, now I'll know that my book has come out as soon as my milk starts tasting funky.

By the way, how come people in New York City need their milk to be four days fresher than everybody else???

10 days until the Wild is unleashed...

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Worcester Public Library Trip Report

Yesterday was AWESOME. I'm talking ice-cream-sundae-with-six-maraschino-cherries kind of awesome. I'm talking unicorn-for-your-birthday kind of awesome. I'm talking you-suddenly-have-superpowers kind of awesome.

I had my very first book signing.

With books.

My books.


So here's the recap: my husband and I woke up ridiculously early and drove through the pouring rain to Worcester, Mas
sachusetts. We arrived ridiculously early and scouted out the library -- they'd put up lovely signs with the INTO THE WILD cover art as the background and had lots of flyers all over the place. Here's me with a sign:

We went out for lunch, and I talked through what I planned to say (which probably made me look like a crazy person since I kept talking even while my husband went to the bathroom, but whatever). After lunch, we returned to the library and met the woman who coordinated Worcester Reading Week -- a week-long series of events, including costumed story reading and culminating with "Meet Author Sarah Beth Durst"! Then Anne Hrobsky (the awesome librarian who coordinated this event) gave me a tour, introduced me to the other librarians, and showed me the enormous library basement, in which they keep hundreds of ancient books and two giant stuffed giraffes.

When we came back upstairs, everything happened rather quickly:

Two booksellers from Barnes & Noble wheeled in a handcart with three boxes of INTO THE WILD. I jumped up and down. Literally. Up and down like a four year old at her birthday party. Three boxes! Three whole boxes of my book! I'd only ever seen one single copy. Three boxes!!!

As soon as the booksellers opened a box, people descended. I hadn't planned to sign books until the end of the event, but all of a sudden, there were people there with books standing in a line waiting for me (me!) to sign them.

It was awesome.

And I had a cool purple pen too.

A few of my favorite moments:

- I looked up from signing a book and saw the woman who ran my nursery school, Do-Re-Me, who had come to tell me how pro
ud she is of me.

- Two librarians from Northboro (Julie's hometow
n in INTO THE WILD) elementary schools came. One of them said she'd told my fifth grade teacher about my book -- this made me very happy because my fifth grade teacher was the first teacher who ever encouraged me to write, and he had a huge impact on my life. I'm glad he now knows.

- My neighbors from Northboro, Uncle Bill and Aunt Julie, who have known me since birth, came and had me sign a program from when I was the Velveteen Rabbit in high school. (How sweet is it that th
ey kept that?) Also there by complete coincidence was a friend of mine who was stage manager for that same play.

- The parents of one of my bestest friends (who couldn't be there because she's in Africa, which I think is a very good excuse for not coming) came and bought SIX books.

- My brother came, totally unexpectedly. I talked to him just a day or two before, and he hadn't mentioned he was coming. I'd assum
ed he wasn't since I have a slew of other events scheduled, including one much closer to where he lives. But he came! That meant a lot. And my stepbrother and stepmother also came, even though my stepbrother already heard me read at the Princeton Book Bash and will most likely hear me read again three more times. Very cool.

The whole thing was like that old TV show "This Is Your Life." I had people there who knew me at every stage of my life. And I had people there that I'd never met in my life, and that was also extremely cool.
Complete strangers, including a bunch of kids, came and were excited about INTO THE WILD. One mom took pictures of me with her kids.

A little after 2pm, Anne introduced me, and I began to babble. I was a wee bit excited, but I'm proud to say that I didn't cluck like a chicken or say anything horribly embarrassing (I think). I calmed down a bit when it came time to read scenes from the book. (I've done readings before, and I really enjoy doing them.) While I was reading my first scene, my aunt and uncle came in, which was a lovely surprise since I had no idea they were c

And throughout the reading and signing, a photographer from the Worcester Telegram & Gazette was there, snapping photos of me for the paper. I felt like a superstar.

Afterwards, I signed more books, which was an incredible feeling (and surprisingly challenging -- signing books and t
alking at the same time is a bit like patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time). I loved every single second.

By the end, Barnes & Noble had sold 40 books, and I was floating about four feet off the ground. It was awesome. I can't wait for my next signing!!! I want to do them every day forever. :)

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Chocolate-Powered Prose

Today I sent the revised manuscript for book #2 to my editor. Snoopy Dance of Joy!

Now I need a nap. I haven't gone to bed before 2am in... oh, much too long. Been downing lots of Raisinets and Hershey's Kisses and other sugar-and-caffeine-filled chocolate goodies. (I'm not a coffee drinker.) This is what I look like right now:

I desperately wanted to finish this round of revisions before my summer book events started -- which meant today, since my first book event (at least my first one with finished copies of INTO THE WILD) is tomorrow at the Worcester Public Library in Massachusetts. So yesterday, I printed my entire manuscript for book #2 double-sided in an itty-bitty font so that I could stuff the entire thing in my purse and do one final read-through on the train to Manhattan.

Yesterday's Manhattan trip was to attend a going-away party for John Green and Sarah Green, who are moving to Indianapolis very soon. Got to talk with many fabulous people -- Scott Westerfeld ate my fries! -- and the party was a lot of fun. I finished my final read-though on the ride home, so now I'm done! At least until the next round of edits...

Off to Worcester tomorrow morning for my first signing ever!

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Reviews from SFRevu and TeensReadToo

With only two weeks until pub date, everything's really starting to move quickly. I recently got two more nice reviews for INTO THE WILD, and a new interview of yours truly is now online.

The first review is from SFRevu. Here's a quote

"Durst pulls you in on page one and takes you on a wild adventure that's in parts hilariously funny, seriously thoughtful, depressing, and still filled with love, hope, and family. She plays on our knowledge of the standard fairy tales and turns them upside down and inside out." -- Gayle Surrette, SFRevu

and here's a link to the full review on the SFRevu site.

The second review is from TeensReadToo. Again, here's a quote

"Who hasn't wished that they could live in a fairy tale? Marry the handsome Prince or Princess and live happily ever after? Sounds great to me. Except when "happily ever after" means repeating the same story, over and over, with no end, and no choices... INTO THE WILD is hilarious in parts, sad in parts, and surprisingly honest. A great book. I enjoyed it immensely!" -- Carrie Spellman, TeensReadToo

and here's a link to the full review on the TeensReadToo site.

The lovely people at TeensReadToo were also kind enough to interview me. Click here to read all the juicy details.

14 days until the Wild is unleashed...

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

You're Invited: Worcester Public Library

What: Reading/Signing of INTO THE WILD
When: Saturday, June 9 at 2pm
Where: Worcester Public Library (3 Salem Square, Worcester, MA)

This Saturday, I'll be doing a special sneak-preview book event for INTO THE WILD at the Worcester Public Library as part of the City of Worcester's Reading Week. It's special because (A) it will be my very first solo event and I'm sure I'll panic and say something horribly embarrassing, which could be quite amusing for anyone who isn't actually me, and (B) it will be the first time that anyone anywhere will be able to buy copies of INTO THE WILD!

Seriously! Two weeks before the official publication date!

Just this week, I got confirmation that a box of books is in central Massachusetts, waiting for Saturday. It took all my willpower not to hop in the car and drive up to Massachusetts to see them. This will be the first time that I get to see multiple copies of INTO THE WILD and also the very first time that I get to sign copies of INTO THE WILD.

Here's how the event is described in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette: "At 2 p.m., author Sarah Beth Durst, who was raised in Worcester, will talk about her first novel, "Into the Wild," a children's book that transforms the Worcester area into a fairytale kingdom. The event is free."

If you're in the Worcester area this Saturday, I hope you'll come by!

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Monday, June 04, 2007

BEA Trip Report

Number of people that Sarah normally sees in a day: 2
Number of people who attended BEA: 30,000

Okay, here's what Book Expo America was like: imagine that every publisher in the United States magically transported a row of their offices (co
mplete with carpets and closets) into an enormous room, broke down the walls on two sides, and invited 30,000 of their nearest and dearest to traipse through while carrying up to six tote bags each full of books that they swung wildly about as they scoured the "offices" for freebies.

Select highlights from the weekend include:

- Scouring for freebies on Friday with Scott Westerfeld, Maureen Johnson, John Green, and Kate Schafer.

- Scouring for freebies on Saturday with m
y fellow 2k7ers: Carrie Jones, Greg Fishbone, Laura Bowers, Jo Knowles, and Paula Chase.

- Scouring for freebies on Sunday with fellow Razorbill author Jay Asher (also a 2k7er). (Jay's book is being made into an audiobook by Random House's Listening Library division. He was nice enough to introduce me to the fine folks at the Listening Library booth.)

- Chatting with some of the terrific people from my publisher, Penguin Young Readers, who made INTO THE WILD a reali
ty. These included Jess Michaels, Ben Schrank, Doug Whiteman, Mary Margaret Callahan, Holly Ruck, Meredith, Ev, and Todd.

- Making a total fool out of myself by gushing like a fangirl at Eoin Colfer, Sharon Creech, Jan Brett, and Brian Selznick. (Not simultaneously.)

- Having a lovely lunch with the lovely Jeri Smith-Ready.

- Hanging out at the Mirrorstone booth with Tiffany Trent (also a 2k7er), Nina Hess, Shelly Mazzanoble, and other very co
ol Wizards of the Coast people. (Best booth in all of BEA. They had a COUCH. Plus they're all really nice.)

- Hanging out at the ABC (American Booksellers' for Children) reception at the Copacabana with Jordan Sonnenblick, Maryrose Wood, E. Lockhart, K.L. Going, Jo Knowles, etc. (Yes, the song was sung. And Jordan made me promise that if he died at the Copa, that I would sit there so refined and drink myself half-blind. This was not as unlikely as it sounds since Jordan's allergic to shrimp, and nearly every appetizer involved shrimp.) After t
he reception, I got to eat dinner with a table full of awesome people including Brenda Bowen and Nancy Fraser.

- Hanging out during and after Simon &
Schuster's Spiderwick Chronicles party with Holly Black, Cassie Clare, Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier, Maureen Johnson, Delia Sherman, Ellen Kushner, etc. HUGE thanks to Holly for getting me into the party. She is sooooo sweet.

The Spiderwick party was the coolest part of t
he weekend. It even had special effects: Maureen had just eaten the entire gummy spider in one bite from her spidertini (apple martini with a gummy spider -- tastes like liquid baby aspirin) when the caterers told us to step away from the wall. We did. Some speeches were made, including a lovely one by Holly, and then we all had to recite an incantation asking for sprite-power. At that point, there was a VERY loud noise, fog rolled in, fantasy-esque music began to play, and a garage door raised up to reveal...

... another room decorated with large butterflies and giant mushrooms. The bar was draped with a Premium Saltines cracker sign, and I very cleverly asked, "Why is Holly's party sponsored by Saltines?" To
which, Scott very patiently explained, "It's not. We've been shrunk down to the size of sprites." And that's when I noticed the tables made to look like giant sticks of gum, the huge butterflies on the ceiling, and the room divider that looked like blue jeans. Oh, and there was also the Largest Hamburger I've Ever Seen. It was a real hamburger which they sliced up like cake.

And they even had a guy taking souvenir photos, like the kind they take at the zoo where they photoshop your image into the monkey cage. (Well, sort of like that.) Check out Maureen and me with some Spiderwick sprites:

Maureen Johnson and I Hobnob with Sprites

Not enough name-dropping? Here are a few other very cool people that I saw/met/talked with for at least a few seconds at BEA, in no particular order: Sara Crowe, Ally Carter, Bruce Coville, Zahra Baird, Libba Bray, Lisa Ann Sandell, Sheila Ruth, Peter Glassman, Kelly Link, Gavin Grant, Carol Chittenden, Jenn Laughram, Monica Edinger, Betsy Bird, Theo Black, John Joseph Adams, Mary Brown, Barry Goldblatt, David Lubar, Laura Anne Gilman, Andrew Karre, Melissa Marr, Rachel Vater, Anne Hoppe, David Levithan, Jeannine Garsee... and several other wonderful people who I apologize to for not mentioning.

I also passed within 20 feet of Alan Alda and Peter Yarrow, but I suppose that doesn't really count. :)

In the end, I walked away with 26 free books, one stuffed polar bear (from the National Geographic booth), and lots of bookmarks including this one for the first book of Tiffany Trent's Hallowmere series:

Can't quite make out who wrote that blurb? Click for a closer look...

How cool is that! Now I'm not just a blurbee but a blurber too!

And today I'm back to my normal day, where I get to see a sum total of two people. But hey, they're pretty cute, so it's all good.

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Review from Charles de Lint Now Online

I'm still at BEA (Book Expo America) in NYC -- which has been AWESOME -- but I was excited to share the following.

The July 2007 issue of the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction is finally out! (OK, considering it's still early June, I suppose "finally" is somewhat over-the-top. But I've been waiting for this since April, so you know what I mean.) Loyal readers of this blog may remember that I got just a little bit excited when I found out that Charles de Lint had written a nice review of INTO THE WILD in this issue. And now that the magazine is out, his July "Books To Look For" column is available online, so I can finally give you a link to it. Here's a quote:

"Sarah Beth Durst kept me reading because she's so inventive with her take on fairy tales' relevance to our world... The fun of INTO THE WILD is in recognizing the iconic figures from fairy tales and seeing them in this new light that Durst has provided for us. You'll breeze through this book and you'll have a fine time while doing so." -- Charles de Lint, author of Wolf Moon and Blue Girl, in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction

Click here to read the full review. It's the second review of three in the Books To Look For column.

Much more about my adventures at BEA coming soon...

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