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Musings on the Writing Life

TLA, Wild Limo Rides, and a Rabid Red Bird

4/23/08 10:12 am - TLA, Wild Limo Rides, and a Rabid Red Bird

Last Thursday I went to Dallas to the Texas Librarian Association's annual conference. It was a dream come true for a new author. Before signing my book in the HarperCollins Children's booth, I wandered around the conference and picked up free books and catalogs from other publishers. Soon, I had an entire bag full.

Then I went back to the HarperCollins booth and browsed around. I met Dina, Lillie, and Emily, who are all in the Library and Marketing group at HarperCollins. They were all so helpful during the convention and got us all where we needed to be.

About this time, my editor, Virginia Duncan appeared with Lynne Rae Perkins (Newbery award winner for Criss Cross) and Kevin Henkes (Caldecott winner). They had just come back from a panel. Wow! I was able to meet both authors and they were so kind and nice and even asked about what I had written. I was able to point to my book which was on the shelf with other Harper Books. And it was a thrill to see Virginia again too! Although we talk, an email, I hadn't seen in in about a year and a half. I learned they already have an idea for the cover for my second book, which is Elizabethan set.

Next I met Suzanne Harper, author of The Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney. We decided we were twins separated at birth. Besides sharing the same name, our books came out at about the same time, we have the same editor, and we both graduated from UT with Journalsim degress with a minor in English. Suzanne now lives in New York city and has a new novel, The Juliet Club, coming out soon.

Here we are signing books together in the HarperCollins booth:

And a close up of me:

We had a huge line of librarians (Harper generously gave away our books) and it went by in a blur. And I have to say, librarians are the nicest people! One librarian came specifically to say hello - her mother, Ellen Cross, is from Marfa, and is a friend of my mother-in-law Mary. Ellen came to my booksigning in Marfa and also to the dinner my mother-in-law gave me at her beautiful adobe home. Nan Sprester, from Parkwood Intermediate, came by to give me a hug, and another Keller librarian told me VOE is officially on Keller ISD's Trailblazer reading list for next year! Hooray!

After the signing, Suzanne and I found a quiet spot to chat about being new children's authors. We had lots to talk about.

Then us Harperites all caught buses back to the hotel and a little while later met in the lobby to take taxis over to another hotel for a joint publisher's cocktail party. The authors got to wear big red buttons that said "Author." Wow. Another dream moment. At the party, I met up with my friend April Lurie, author of Brother's Boyfriends and Other Criminal Minds.

Then we were rounded up - it was time to go back to our hotel for dinner! We managed to squeeze into a limo - some of us practically sitting on top of each other and we had a raucus and laughter filled ride back to the hotel. Dinner was fantastic - I sat next to my editor and Lynne Rae Perkins. Kenneth Oppel and Robert Lipsyte were there, as was Kevin Henkes, Suzanne, Dina, and Emily, and Ruth Katcher, another HarperCollins editor. I had the prime rib, which was delicious, and later we all shared desserts. We didn't get up from the table for four hours! Eventually I made it up to my hotel room, crawled in bed, and was able to sleep in the next morning. Pure heaven!

Yesterday, I went to Eubanks Intermediate to meet with their book club, by invitation of librarian Lucy Drenka. They were a great group and had wonderful questions for me. One nice boy asked if he could be in a sequel. We'll see Paxton.

Eubanks Intermediate Book Club

And lastly, a photo of the rapid red bird who has been terrorizing our house for the last few weeks. He pecks on all the windows deparately trying to get in. My study window seems to be his favorite. He did this last spring also. If anyone has any idea of what he is doing, let me know.

The rapid red bird
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