Okay, so it’s the day before Thanksgiving. The busiest travel day of the year. A day when no breadcrumbs or russet potatoes are safe. It’s also the first time in six months I’ve looked ahead at the calendar and not seen one single event to promote What Happened to Goodbye. That, I am especially grateful for.
Don’t get me wrong, I had a blast on the tour and at all the conferences. In fact, this last trip was especially awesome. First, there was the Miami Book Festival (my first time!). I got in late Friday night, exhausted, and checked into my hotel. Because my mom is a New Yorker, I have always been taught that the very first thing you do when you get into your hotel room is lock the door, both the deadbolt AND that thing you swing across to keep it from opening, period. I did this, then went to brush my teeth. A moment later, I heard someone trying to open the door. (Thanks, Mom!) I crept closer. “Yes?” I called out, in my most brave voice (not very brave). “Yes,” a man’s voice replied, “can I come in, please?” I considered this. “Um, no,” I said. “But I think this is my room?” he said, politely. Then I looked through the peephole to see a very distinguished gentleman, with his luggage, that I recognized had been checking in right beside me at the front desk. Whoops! Within moments, we realized we were both authors there for the Festival and they’d put us in the same room. I called down to the desk, where they said according to their records, we were supposed to share . “Um, no?” he and I said together. Then he very gallantly went downstairs and sorted the whole thing out while I babysat his suitcase. He was so lovely and pleasant and I know he probably would NOT want me to say his name here on this silly blog. But he wrote a book about Catherine the Great that has been very well reviewed and now I will be reading it. See how that all works out?
Miami was FULL of huge famous authors. I basically sat in the Author Room and gaped, which is what I do at most festivals. I met Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson and Edna Buchanan, and was within arm’s lengths of Colson Whitehead AND Amor Towles, whose book I was devouring the entire time I was down there. I had a great panel with Colleen Houck, Debbie Viguie and Nancy Holder, then signed books for lots of great Miami readers. Walking around afterwards, I had a photo op with someone who is SERIOUSLY famous, especially in my house:
Why, yes, that IS Sister Bear from the Berenstein Bears. My daughter still can’t believe I actually met her. Snaps for me!
That night, I went to the author cocktail party, which was at a very swanky club. I was completely out of my element and knew NO ONE. I swear I feel like such a loser at things like that. At YA festivals, I know folks, but here I was just on my own and really feeling it. Then, as we all stood around outside waiting for the place to let us in (did I mention I was alone?) a very nice guy came up to me. “You should come stand with us,” he said, and gestured for me to follow him over to where he was standing. Then he introduced himself and the woman he was there with, and just like that, Matt Phelan and Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan became my new best friends ever. I hung with them all night and will never forget how they made me feel so welcome. This is why I love the book world. Good people are there.
The next morning, bright and early, I headed to the airport and Chicago for the ALAN conference. While at Miami Bookfair I knew few people, this was like old home week, from the second I walked in the door and spotted my publicist. Yay! I had enough time to go shopping at Saks with the amazing Jenny Han (who tried on Prada pumps that were so beautiful they belonged in a museum) before heading to the ALAN cocktail party. Going there from the Miami party, I felt like the Bee Girl from that Blind Melon video. All my friends were there! Like:
Megan McCafferty, who basically gave me JUST the advice I needed, exactly when I needed that. Yet another reason she is so freaking awesome. Also, she’s seen Barry Manilow in concert multiple times, just like me. Is it any wonder we are friends?
John Green and M.T. Anderson! Shortly after this picture was taken, I was gesturing while talking and whacked a woman standing beside me in the face. I was mortified. Of course, John Green THEN had to tell everyone I was walking around the party “bitch-slapping” people. This is how rumors get started, people. I swear, I just wave my hands when I talk!
I also got to see Sara Zarr and the amazing Lauren Myracle. And, for the record, did not smack either of them:
The next day, I gave my FINAL talk, a short speech at the ALAN conference, which was a great place to wrap it all up: you can’t find any people who love YA lit more, I swear to you. And they didn’t even mind that my speech was a little short. Better than too long, I guess, right?
Once the speech was done, I signed books and gave my super publicist Elyse, who engineered every step of this crazylong tour, a high five. DONE! Then I celebrated on Michigan Avenue with sushi and this:
And lo, it was good.
So now here I sit, my book tour shoes tucked away in the closet, my writergirl clothes at the drycleaners for the last time in awhile. I have dressing to make, a pie to prepare, and a kid that is FINALLY getting over the cold she caught two weeks ago. And yes, I am thankful, SO thankful, for all the wonderful stuff that I got to do in the last six months. And equally thankful to be here at home, finally.
I hope that you ALL have a great holiday, surrounded by the ones you love. I wish you good food and good health and lots of laughs. And if you are traveling today, I wish you short lines at the airport, nobody pushing back in the seat in front of you AND if someone does appear at your door with the same room key, that they be as gentlemanly as my visitor was. But: do the deadbolt and flip that lock, just in case. My mom says so!
Have a great holiday, everyone!