So, on Wednesday I got to do my FIRST-EVER book event at Anderson's BookFair (the warehouse corollary of Anderson's Bookshop) in Aurora, Il. And it was AWESOME!
First of all, I was driven out to Aurora from downtown Chicago in a fancy-schmancy car equipped with tiny little water bottles, in case I got a little bit thirsty! The driver thought I worked in the financial industry--it was that fancy. (Either that, or my knee-high five-inch-heeled boots are standard corporate wear nowadays.) I'd been so worried I wouldn't be able to attend, because the day before I'd been completely rocked by the worst stomach flu/food poisoning I'd ever had in my life (I'll spare you further details), but thankfully I was able to pull it together...even if I was not able to eat all of the delicious Chicago deep-dish I'd been hoping to consume. Sigh.
Anyway, Becky Anderson greeted me and immediately put me at ease, as I was super nervous. There were about 40-60 people there--teachers, librarians, and of course, TEENS!--and more copies of my book than I'd ever seen in any place except for my fantasies. First I walked around and greeted each table of attendees individually, and chatted a bit, and then we did a big Q & A session, at which point it rapidly became clear to me that I was far out of my depth in terms of sensitivity and intelligence to the material. These readers--including an incredible group of perceptive and sharp seventh-graders--had engaged so thoroughly and thoughtfully with the book. It was unreal! Some of the questions were really challenging and forced me to think about my own relationship to the book, and why I made certain creative choices, and whether that was the right thing to do.
All in all, it was awesome.
And the best was that I got to put everyone on the case of a title hunt for Book 2, and I've already gotten some incredibly helpful suggestions! Maybe I'll just have them take a shot at writing Book 3....that's called outsourcing, my friends.
Thanks, Becky and all of the wonderful people who came to meet me! You made my first time so special.