Okay. I am finally now recovered enough to do a Massive ALA Post, Complete with Photographs Stolen from Publishers Weekly. I didn't bring a camera as I was planning on scoring a few books that I really, really wanted, so I left my camera in Virginia.
So, first of all, my trip started on Friday afternoon. I headed up to my friend Marian's house in northern Virginia. She needed photos of a pony for sale and I needed a pad to crash in closer to the Baltimore airport, so I arrived with a camera and she handed me sweet tea and off we went. Isn't said pony pretty?
Anyway. Bright and early on Saturday morning -- think 5:30 -- think there's a Visine for that -- I headed to BWI airport. I pass without event through the terminal and sit on the plane. In my head I am happily thinking about the fact that I am going to have lunch with both editor Yoda (previously at Flux, now at Carolrhoda) & editor Mixtape (Scholastic) at the same time.
Then the captain comes on.
CAPTAIN: I'm afraid there is bad weather in Chicago. We have a no ground order until the weather improves. We'll keep you posted.
CAPTAIN (45 minutes later): We were actually wrong. They told us there was bad weather and there really wasn't, so we could've gone. However, it's good that we didn't, because while we were waiting, we found a leak in the hydraulics. 1 in 500 planes, folks, and this is that plane.
CAPTAIN (15 minutes later): The mechanic has checked out the hydraulics and found that the leak is within legal limits. We're taking off anyway!
As I'm watching a glossy fluid travel over the wing I can glimpse from my window, I wonder why they didn't just stick with the weather story, which was simply and logical and had zero accountability for them. Say it with me, boys and girls. T. M. I.
Needless to say, I missed my editor lunch. I tried to let them know that I'll be appallingly late through a series of text messages which took me so long to punch in that the girl in the seat next to me started laughing at me. My texting speed is woefuly and willfully bad.
In the end, my editors had lunch with each other and I only got to share a cab from my hotel (where they were waiting, much to my eternal gratitude) to the convention center. Editor Mixtape gave me two finished copies of SHIVER, which were almost incomprehensibly beautiful. Best part? The text inside is blue. I really wanted to go back to the hotel and curl up with them and pet the shiny covers, but business called. I was forced to put them in my bag and pretend they weren't calling my name in icy blue tones.
So. Meetings of Editor Brian (who has yet to acquire nickname) ensued, as did signings of BALLADs until they were all gone. There was an almost slap-fest between a librarian and a teen boy for the last copy. Disappointingly, it was settled without coming to blows.
After the BALLAD signing, I hoofed it to the Scholastic booth where Tracy, the Scholastic publicist and all around awesome person, met me and whisked me into downtown Chicago for an interview with Booklist. It went well, as I mostly didn't swear. That I remember. Also, Ian (said Booklist interviewer) recommended STITCHES as the graphic novel to get. Tracy and I made a note of this.
Then off to see the Bean (note to self: try to procure photo Tracy took of me and her in the Bean). And then slipping into Little Black Dress for a Scholastic awards dinner. I met Elizabeth Bunce, the Morris Award winner, there and was totally charmed. Also met Arthur Levine, who I thought for some reason must be an old man, and is actually a very dapper Not Old man who forever wins points for knowing the Mom's on the roof joke. And Cheryl Klein, an editor at Arthur Levine/ Scholastic and the person who gave me my very first personalized rejection!
Basically, good times.
Up brilliantly early for the YA Coffee Klatch. Basically, this was throwing thirty-something authors at thirty-some tables of librarians in a weird, geeky version of speed-dating. The list of authors here was rather star-studded and intimidating, but that turned out to be irrelevant, because the only time we managed to glimpse each other was when they put us together for a giant group photo, where we all smiled/ grimaced/ showed lots of gum in eighteen directions at once.
Right after that, I was whipped to the Scholastic Literary Brunch. This is Publisher’s Weekly’s take on it. My major observations were
a) it was very cold in there. I had goosebumps on my goosebumps. When I read from SHIVER for the audience, I had cool *shivering* effects to add to the ambiance.
b) I want the translator of Heartsinger to read SHIVER to me at bedtime, because she did a gorgeous job reading Heartsinger.
c) Editor Mixtape dropped yellow frosting on the shoes I had borrowed from a friend for that morning.
d) I was feeling like the shoes had gotten what they deserved, since the bastards had by that time given me four honkin’ huge sores.
e) if the shoes had been mine and not my friend’s, they would’ve died in a fire very shortly after this trip.
It was an amazing event. There was a group of great teens there that were hugely enthusiastic and made me forget my gaping shoe wounds and lack of sleep. There is photographic evidence of me forgetting about these things, as you can see.
Then we all went tearing back to the convention center for a group signing. I was sitting next to Mark Teague, who was so nice that I felt quite insane in comparison. In fact, Lisa Schroeder has a pic of us on her blog (don’t ask me what I’m doing with my hands, I have no clue and don’t really want to know) that sort of describes it all.
Ooh, and while I was signing, Tracy scored me a copy of STITCHES -- which I read since then and it is AMAZING. (review and generalized gushing to follow later this month).
Then a brief tear around the convention floor to score some books -- I only asked for things I really wanted, because they don’t do any good sitting on my shelf -- and then back to the hotel to get dolled up for the Newbery/ Caldecott Banquet.
While waiting in line to get into the banquet, I spotted Brian Selznick. I really, really wanted to go up to him, but I was convinced I wouldn’t be able to form actual words, such was the depth of my fannishness. Editor Mixtape, however, was kind enough to introduce us, and this is how the conversation went.
Mixtape/ David: Brian, this is Maggie Stiefvater.
Brian: Hi, Maggie.
Brian: Nice to meet you to.
Maggie: Ungh . . . gnucklick! mmmm!
Brian: Yes, I’ve been an artist for quite awhile. So you are too?
Maggie: Ngh immer asglhmmm!
Brian: Oh, David wants to know when I’ll be done with my next project too.
He was kind enough to pretend that my fangirl incoherencies were actual sentences. I appreciate that.
Then we got to hear speeches from the award winners -- Neil Gaiman’s was fantastic. He had this great line . . .something about how there are not books that are good for you and books that you enjoy, but just . . . good books. He was a lot more pithy. But it was a wonderful point.
Anyway, so I teetered off to bed insanely late and thus concluded day two of the festivities. Oh, and that's a random photograph of me, Editor Mixtape, and Holly Black, nicked from PW. Holly Black isn't the only author I ran into, either. I met Lisa Schroeder, Cynthia Liu, Susan Fine, and millions of others who are all running together into a stream of literary awesome.
Monday morning I had breakfast with Melina Marchetta. I am terribly in love with her writing and I was really excited to grab some tea with her one on one. We talked the book biz and chattered about each other’s books -- it was . . . um . . . THIS COOL to hear that an author that you absolutely love is also a fan of your writing. The best bit was finding out that she was a very thinking sort of writer. And also that she is playing in a literary world that I was very much hoping she’d go back to.
Then I sat in the convention center and started to write my monthly story for Merry Sisters of Fate (story is here).
Then to Anderson’s Bookstore in Naperville for a pre-publication visit and a video interview with Becky Anderson. I loved every bit of this visit, from talking with Becky (who was so enthusiastic about SHIVER I possibly peed myself). I signed a ton of books, talked with a ton of librarians, teachers, and teens, and ate the preservative-free pizza that they were so nice to order for me. (nothing has ever tasted as good as that pizza. Nothing). And the best bit? All the teens and other folks there signed a copy of SHIVER for me.
I can't wait to go back to Anderson's after SHIVER's come out.
And finally, a four-thirty a.m. trip to the airport to fly to Detroit for a meeting at Borders’ offices in Ann Arbor. It was great to meet the Borders YA buyer, Liz, again. She was nice enough to give me some of her recs for good YAs about to come out, and Elizabeth at Scholastic made my day by a) catering the event with preservative-free food so that I didn’t die and b) shipping all my ALA and Borders’ books back to my house so that I didn’t have to lug them around the airport. Borders is so incredibly enthusiastic and supportive of SHIVER. If I was actually fully awake now, or during any part of the trip, I would probably be rendered quite useless by total amazement at the direction that SHIVER’s life cycle has taken, but the single most useful thing about sleep deprivation is that it makes fantastic and amazing things like TOTAL CRAZY SHIVER IS EVERYWHERE AAAAAAAAAAUUUGGGGHHHHH a lot easier to take in. So. That’s a good thing.
Then home again -- I was lucky enough to catch an earlier flight with no hydraulic leakage (at least that they told us about) and I fell asleep during take off. I awoke a few hundred miles outside Baltimore, and my mouth snapped shut.
Which meant it had been hanging open.
Thus concludes the highly abbreviated version of my ALA festivities. And then the zombies came, and everybody died.