Sunday, November 20, 2011

the intergalactic bug cops

So now I am in Chicago.

Which brings me to the topic of the last blurry couple of days.

Yesterday was my last day in Miami at the Miami Book Fair International.

Well... it was my last day this year. I am certainly coming back for more next year.

This really is the best book festival I have ever attended.

So yesterday I got to hang out and chat with my friend Ellen Hopkins for a while. We talked about business and writing, and what we're doing at the moment. It's always nice to talk to Ellen because we share similar viewpoints on important issues, and also because I think Ellen's process of writing is very similar to mine.

Later, we participated in a panel discussion on Young Adult Literature with graphic novelist M.K. Reed (Americus). It was also a very good session, and we got to spend a lot of time addressing very specific questions from the audience.

But the best part of the evening, and, to be honest, the highlight of my trip, was getting the chance to meet Ian, the kid who was responsible for having me sent across the country to talk to all those hundreds of kids in Miami to begin with (see yesterday's post).

I have told about this kid before. It's just something really amazing -- almost religious, or supernatural, I think -- when you get the opportunity to connect with someone across so much time and space -- and all because of words.

Anyway, in person, Ian is even cooler than he is in his email version. I gave him a copy of Ghost Medicine (which he does not have), and I promised to send him a few pages of next year's sequel to his favorite book (The Marbury Lens), Passenger, too. I also promised him the following (and I always keep my promises to kids who read): When the Advance Copies for Passenger come out, he is going to get the first (and probably ONLY) one I give to anyone.

Here is a picture of me and Ian at my panel discussion last night:

After the panel was over, I had to go directly to the Miami airport and catch a plane for Chicago.

Have I slept yet?

I do not think so.

I arrived at my hotel in Chicago at about 1 a.m.

I think this is the coolest hotel in the entire world. It has those creepy elevators that make you feel like you're trapped inside some steampunk zoo cage.

It also has real keys made from actual metal.

Even though it was 1 in the morning, I had to take a picture of my hallway.

That is my door, on the left.

The challenging thing was this: I was scheduled to meet people this morning at 7:45 in the lobby for today's presentation at NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English), and I always start my day by running 3 or 4 miles (at least). So I was out on the streets in the dark, just before 6 a.m. trying to get myself to wake up.

One thing about Chicago (and I totally love this city): It is a GREAT city for runners. Anyone who runs here knows that. I can't wait to get out again tomorrow, when I will be a little more into it.

So I had a panel discussion this morning with Julie Halpern, Tara Kelly, and Donna Freitas. It went well, but to be honest, I hardly remember it. My head is a little fuzzy.

Afterward, I got to meet my editor at Simon and Schuster, David Gale, and publisher Justin Chanda, just before sitting down to sign copies of my books for all the people who came out to NCTE this morning.

Now -- no naps. I never take naps.

I am going to a cocktail party this evening, then on to dinner with some of the Macmillan people, Janet Tashjian, and  Laurie Halse Anderson.

Finally, tomorrow, I'll be having lunch with editor David Gale before participating in an ALAN panel discussion with David Gill, Lauren Myracle, Paul Yee, and Cheryl Rainfield.


Sorry I posted this so late. It was my first chance to sit down.