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 laser 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 books 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...)