Yes ladies and gents I am back from my whirlwind weekend that was BEA (Book Expo of America) in New York City, and I am pooped! Can I just say, dude. Like seriously. Dude.
This is my life?
Evidently . . .
Anyway, forgive the Adrienne as she is typing with 3 hours of sleep, but she just had to tell you guys how awesome the whole BEA thing was, and also, actually, primarily to make you all wildly jealous. And she will now stop talking in the third person.
Okay this is going to be long, so either grab yourself a cup of tea and curl up on the couch with your laptop, or bookmark this page for later. You've been warned.
Thursday May 31st
The lovely Lesley and I, after being delayed an hour due to weather, finally land in the glorious New York. Or rather Newark. After a fab bus ride through rush hour traffic we make it to the Backspace banquet an hour late. Backspace is an online writing forum that we are members of and they were having their conference at the same time as BEA, so of course we just had to go and schmooze! It was so great to meet so many people, and put faces with the names (Jackie, Jenny, Jessica [yay weirdest cab ride ever!], Heather, EJ, Mark, Carolyn, Kim, Karen, "Comma Boy" [whose comic my readers know I adore] . . . oh man so many others, and I met them all in just a few hours so please forgive me if I haven't mentioned you by name, believe me I remember you all very vividly - can we say cast of characters?!).
Anyway the food was amazing - ooh cute story:
Lesley and I arrived late so we were ordering our food course by course instead of all at once like everyone else had done. And when the desserts were being served I went over to counter where the wait staff were dishing out the options and I kept asking, "What's that? Okay, and what's that? And that?" And the guy asked, "Well what are you looking for?" And I said cheesecake of course, but that I knew they didn't have it. So he said, "No problem." And he totally got me a slice of cheesecake even though it wasn't one of the options!! So cool!
Then a bunch of us went to the illustrious Algonquin Hotel, noted for being a hangout for authors over the years as well as the location of the Backspace conference, and then I shared a cab ride into Brooklyn with Jessica Keener, and got settled in at my good friend Jenny's place.
Friday June 1
Lesley and I meet up at the Parker Meridian to meet with her agent Jessica (different Jessica) for lunch at Norma's. Norma's is AWESOME! All breakfast food, but really, you know, good breakfast food. They served us a shot of tropical frozen smoothie, and the best tasting orange juice ever. I had eggs Benedict with smoked salmon, mmmm tasty. And we chatted about writing and publishing and Jessica talked about how much she adored Lesley (and really what's not to adore) and it was just delightful.
Then we parted ways and Lesley and I met up with her hosts for the weekend, Mark and Danielle, and we had a lovely long hot walk through Central Park (after I bought 4 pashmina scarves for 20$ off the street, Lesley bought 2, but one of mine was for my mommy, so I don't feel bad that I bought more. Because I am generous, and therefore a wonderful person.)
And then we went back to our respective places and got gorgeous for supper with the Weinstein Books folks: my editor, Rob Weisbach, Katie Finch and Judy Hottensen. It was so lovely and relaxed, and they always have such nice things to say about my book so really how painful could it have been AND I ate soft shelled crabs for the first time and they were magnificent. Truly.
Then they all had to head over to The Maritime Hotel, North Cabana (which is this awesome bar in this hotel that is pretending to be a cruise ship, so that there are all these lanterns hanging everywhere and this sort of tropical feel to it), to prepare for their party we were attending later, and Lesley and I hung out for a while, sitting on the steps of these lovely brown stone homes watching people walk their dogs, and sometimes petting said dogs.
When we went to join the party, okay, I'll admit it, I was just a little bit nervous (Lesley stop snickering!). Okay fine, maybe a bit more than that. But it was really cool, and Rob and Katie just sort of took me around and introduced me to people, who were in turn equally cool, and pictures were taken. I got to meet and talk to Chris Elliot (There's Something About Mary, Cabin Boy) who is also being published by them (a parody about climbing Mount Everest called Into Hot Air) and he was so cool, he brought his whole family with him to the party!
I also got to hang out with my friend Jon Weinberg, with whom I had attended drama school in England (like my friend Jenny, the one I was staying with in Brooklyn). He had won the gold award for his poetry book, A Calm Position, at the Independent Publishers Book Awards, and happened to be in town. It was so awesome to see him again!
And then after a lovely long evening, we all went to our respective abodes (well actually Jon had to go catch a plane [!!]).
Saturday June 2
Brunch with Jenny, then off to the BEA (wearing my cute skull and cross bones shirt, and snazzy red belt)!
It's like totally huge. It's like a city. In fact some of the stalls are made to look like little buildings. And each different booth had its own special carpeting. It's no longer about judging a book by it's cover people, but by the quality of the floor covering, I'm telling you.
I arrived with Lesley half an hour before I was due to sign ARCs, so we wandered around feeling overwhelmed and collecting basically no ARCs ourselves. Which is sort of the main point, you know, free books. I think we were just a bit too overcome to actually grab anything. Though we each did manage to collect a whoopee cushion and a Tony Bennett CD.
I returned to the Weinstein Books booth for 3pm and Katie was busy putting out my ARCs (oh so many Teds!). The booth was very cool, and hanging on the back wall were three illuminated posters of book covers, and yes, Alex most definitely was one of them. I sat down at the table to try and prepare myself, but waiting happily was Carolyn, a Backspacer I had met at the conference, and she was so sweet and wanted to take pictures of me and stuff, and so then I had Lesley do the same with my camera and because there was all this picture taking people started to come over and suddenly I was signing ARCs like a crazy lady. I mean I had no time to even come up with a good catch phrase, so I chose "Happy Reading" of all things! Sigh. Then Lesley had to go and I sat, for two and a half hours, signing away.
It was really fun.
I mean no one actually knew I was the author, so when they came over to pick up the book I had to say, "And I can sign it for you if you'd like!" And they'd be all, "Oh are you the author?!" And I would be all, "Yes!" And then they would come over and we'd all be excited about each other. Sometimes someone would walk by and just glance over at the booth, and I would totally pounce, "Come on, you know you want to take a look . . . " No one escaped my clutches. And then . . . the ARCs were gone!
As I sat there exhausted, a fellow Weinstein author, Vincent Lam came by. This was really cool for me because he's something of a Canadian celebrity. He won the Giller Prize here in Canada for his book, Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures, which is the top literary prize in this country. And he was a first time author, having originally been in the medical field. Anyway, he's quite well known. Weinstein Books are now publishing him in America. So, I mean, yay Canadians! And he lives in Toronto, and went to U of T, so we actually had a fair bit to chat about. Oh and he gave me a few of the ARCs he had collected from wandering around the expo, as I had, you know, none. Good people is what he is.
Then it was over, and we all walked out together, and I went back to Jenny's where I got ready to go out and celebrate her housemate's 25th birthday. It was a great party, and there were so many people there from LAMDA (that same drama school I mentioned earlier) that I hadn't seen in forever, and I just love them all so much and it was a really special night.
Sunday June 3
Returned home from party and packed. Tried to sleep. Three hours later got up and went to meet Lesley at the bus for the Newark airport. She too was on no sleep. Then we got on the plane. Then we flew to Toronto and my mom and dad picked us up. Then we dropped off Lesley and my parents and I went to see a robotic chair that collapses into many pieces and puts itself back together again. A very smart chair. Then I went to my apartment. Then I checked my email. Then I wrote this blog.
So that is the tale of the journey to New York and the epic adventure that was the BEA. I hope you enjoyed it! If I met any of you with the signing of the ARCs and such, thank you so much again for coming by! It was so cool to meet all of you!
And now I must go lie down or something. Adrienne is tired. And back to writing in the third person. And that definitely is not a good sign.